Sunday, 24 November 2019

Queen "Hot Space" (1982)

Quirky, camp and kooky, Hot Space flips the deck as legends Queen make a hard pivot away from their roots in Rock, embracing Pop, Funk, Disco and Electronic music with a stern boldness. The Andy Warhol aesthetic is a perfect fit and I can't help but feel this wouldn't of been well received at the time. Retrospectively I wonder what sort of influence it had on acts at the time. Michael Jackson often sighted Queen and Freddy as a big influence are on this record we hear Queen approach the crisp, sharp instruments at hand similar to how MJ would on records like Bad and Dangerous.

All the instruments, drum included, are snappy and swift. Its all about bold punchy tones, rigid mechanical timings and simple arrangements drawing on the stark aesthetic style. One can hear all elements clear and divisible, the music is boiled down to a simple form. Brian May's guitar licks then haphazardly cringe and collide with these clean and slick sounds, often crashing in, amidst an attempt to elevate the moment. Mercury tends to suffer the stylistic approach as his muted singing repeats dull phrases the themes hinge on however his high pitch singing on the caribbean laid back track Cool Cat is simply sublime. The track before it isn't half bad too, Las Palabras De Amor, however it feels like a rehashing of Teo Torriatte. Maybe its just the foreign language selling that angle.

The track Back Chat reminds me heavily of a Daft Punk song. Just had to say that. As the record draws on the group find their natural ecclesiastic breaking free as their diverse set of styles come back around, fusing with the new approach and offering up their typical set of alternatives. It leaves the album meandering its way towards the Under Pressure hit with David Bowie, a timeless collaboration. Its a diamond in the rough. Hot Space is terrible because its just not good enough. Queen overreach and produce something that doesn't sit right with them. It would be a tolerable album if they stuck to the plan but its when their prior sound leaks in that the music suffers.

Favorite Tracks: Cool Cat, Under Pressure
Rating: 3/10