Friday, 13 March 2020

Queen "A Kind Of Magic" (1986)

Kicking off with two utterly phenomenal tracks, Queen's twelfth outing proceeds to play like a series of bad choices where the groups eclecticism and willingness to follow the sounds of the time leads them astray. Its actually Freddie himself who gets the better of me, a rarity for his glorious voice. The played out slow ballad sound of One Year Of Love and the utterly cheesy Pain Is So Close To Pleasure have him steering his voice into a high pitch ranges that I just found discomforting. A couple of proceeding tracks play up an expectant Queen approach to songwriting before the album switches its last three songs into a soundtrack for the movie Highlander.

Gimme The Prize amps up the Arena Rock vibes with some Heavy Metal guitar leanings. Its big Industrial thumping drums bring things together. A little cliche but it has an attitude. Samples from the movie tend to break up the flow and cause fillers that sound trashy as evil laughs, explosions and sword slashing sounds do little for the music. Continuing on themes from the movie, Don't Loose Your Head has an typically 80s synth tone but the lyrics and sample inclusion makes it feel forced. With Princes Of The Universe they pull together many classic characteristics but to no avail.

Its opening two songs are all too well known due to use in pop culture, however giving them some up close attention I appreciated them a lot more. One Vision's use of synth and electronic manipulation in its opening sets the stage and gives a brilliant tone for Heavy Metal funk to jive in a futuristic feeling. The aesthetics are brilliantly constructed and the following Its A Kind Of Magic reinvents another Queen formula with those pumping baselines, rigid drums and atmospheric synths. This albums problem is that of many Queen records for some time now, the eclecticism that once made a brilliant album experience now seems rather tacky and without substance. They still make fantastic music but as the track record proves it comes in spurts that make for a good song or two each album. With some particular lows, its peaks can't save this from being their worst output to date.

Favorite Tracks: One Vision, Gimme The Prize
Rating: 4/10