Forums > Queen - General Discussion > Is a night of the opera that great?

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liam user not visiting Queenzone.com

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Posted: 14 Oct 08, 10:58 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

I know most people consider it the best and it is historically regarded as a masterpeice. However if i was to introduce someone to queen or even suggest an album to a casual queen fan to buy i would not suggest this one. It's a great album but things have always bothered me about it. I have a few reasons;

1. Two piano ditties, Lazing on a sunday afternoon and seaside rendevous. They are fillers, lazing on a sunday afternoon is good, but seaside rendevous is not a great song and does not represent queen or show their talents, surely they had something else to put in place of at least one of them.

2. Good company  - I think two songs sung by Brian on an album is too much. Perhaps Freddie should have sung 39.

3. Sweet Lady - really is one of Queens worst songs.

4. Middle section of the prophets song - Ruins the song really.

5. If you take out the piano ditties, sweet lady, good company and god save the queen, thats only 7 songs, 5 of which are sung by Freddie. Just seems like theres a few fillers on this album.

I know i'm going to be slammed for this but i've just started thinking perhaps it's overrated.
Anyone else agree or am i going to be destroyed?


Go, Go, Go, little queenie!!
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Posted: 14 Oct 08, 11:15 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

I fear you may be in for quite a roasting my friend. I like ANATO but I can imagine its not everyones cup of tea and I wouldn't give it to a newcomer as there first Queen album either, I'd go for something later on than that. To be honest I don't actually know which album is my favourite, I do know that Hot Space is my least favourite even though it has 3 songs I really like.

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Posted: 14 Oct 08, 11:29 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Agree with your opinion that Sweet Lady is hilarious. Very much disagree that Seaside and Lazing are fillers. Great songs, with a genius-orchestration. The Prophet would indeed be better without the we-got-a-delay-and-we're-not-afraid-to-use-it-part, but it's still a great song.
Overall: ANATO is a masterpiece, I'd recommend it to anyone.


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Posted: 14 Oct 08, 12:09 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

I fully respect your view but I disagree.
I remember when ANATO was released and there was nothing else like it. At that time you pot the album on the turntable and when Side A was done you flipped it. I can't imagine listening to ANATO any other way and removing any songs would make it so incomplete. I like the campy cabaret songs and the cheezy lyrics of Sweet Lady. I liked listening to The Prophet Song middle part with my headphones.
Maybe I'm just a nostalgic old fart hanging on to a memory but for me ANATO was and remains brilliant.


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Posted: 14 Oct 08, 13:02 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

This is why some of the young people don't see the relevance of artists like Hendrix, etc.. When it was released, it was different. For today's standards, it probably isn't - everything has been done, but one had to do it first, and generally it was one of these artists that tried it first. Anyone can burn a guitar today. But try do this in 1967... same for the "opera" + rock mix.

ANATO isn't a very easy listening for anyone who knowns Queen for AOBTD or things like that. I would not recommend it as a starting point either for someone that has never listened to anything by Queen. Sweet Lady might have cheesy lyrics, but it's one of the best songs there for me...


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Posted: 14 Oct 08, 14:21 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

My girlfriend knew like 3 or 5 Queen songs and didn't really know they were sung by Queen. She only identified Queen in Bohemian Rhapsody (she always includes the track when making a mix-CD).

Still, she loved A Night at the Opera and she complains that I don't play it in my car stereo. Instead, she's been exposed to a Cosmos Rocks overdose, haha :D.

By the way, I don't think it is that common to write Rock songs in 3/4, 6/8 timing and this album's got two (Sweet Lady and I'm in love with my car). How cool is that?

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Posted: 14 Oct 08, 14:40 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote



Wiley wrote:

By the way, I don't think it is that common to write Rock songs in 3/4, 6/8 timing and this album's got two (Sweet Lady and I'm in love with my car). How cool is that?


That is a good example of why this album is really outstanding. T'his album really have everything from the great rock of Death on two legs to the humor of Seaside.

I think it's without any doubt the best album off course there are tracks from other albums I prefer over some of the tracks on this album, but everything that made queen so unique is on this album.

For someone who are starting to discover Queen begin with The Game.






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Posted: 14 Oct 08, 14:58 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote



 



Obviously it's no good as there's no Paul Rodgers tracks on it!  Seriously - you just can't win on Queenzone - we get loads of Queen + Paul Rodgers negativity from the Freddites then you start posting threads like this - maybe the only way to be accepted on Queenzone is to post negative comments about absolutely everything Queen have ever been involved with.   With fans like this who needs bad reviews from journalists?



 



Personally I love both TCR and classic material like ANATO - is there room on Queenzone for fans that love ALL of Queen's output over the years?



 



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Posted: 14 Oct 08, 15:02 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

$0$0liam wrote: $0I know most people consider it the best and it is historically regarded as a masterpeice. However if i was to introduce someone to queen or even suggest an album to a casual queen fan to buy i would not suggest this one. It's a great album but things have always bothered me about it. I have a few reasons;$0$01. Two piano ditties, Lazing on a sunday afternoon and seaside rendevous. They are fillers, lazing on a sunday afternoon is good, but seaside rendevous is not a great song and does not represent queen or show their talents, surely they had something else to put in place of at least one of them.$0$02. Good company  - I think two songs sung by Brian on an album is too much. Perhaps Freddie should have sung 39. $0$03. Sweet Lady - really is one of Queens worst songs.$0$04. Middle section of the prophets song - Ruins the song really.$0$05. If you take out the piano ditties, sweet lady, good company and god save the queen, thats only 7 songs, 5 of which are sung by Freddie. Just seems like theres a few fillers on this album.$0$0I know i'm going to be slammed for this but i've just started thinking perhaps it's overrated.$0Anyone else agree or am i going to be destroyed?$0$0$0$0$0$0i agree with u except and this is important - Lazing and Seaside...they are not fillers...the piano on them is not to be sniffed at they are extremely memorable piano intros...i think it captures freddie perfectly those songs. anyone who says they are fillers is wrong...they're quirky and catchy and musically clever...i mean prefer them than GSTQ$0$0

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Posted: 14 Oct 08, 15:46 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote



liam wrote:

I know most people consider it the best and it is historically regarded as a masterpeice. However if i was to introduce someone to queen or even suggest an album to a casual queen fan to buy i would not suggest this one. It's a great album but things have always bothered me about it. I have a few reasons;

1. Two piano ditties, Lazing on a sunday afternoon and seaside rendevous. They are fillers, lazing on a sunday afternoon is good, but seaside rendevous is not a great song and does not represent queen or show their talents, surely they had something else to put in place of at least one of them.

2. Good company  - I think two songs sung by Brian on an album is too much. Perhaps Freddie should have sung 39.

3. Sweet Lady - really is one of Queens worst songs.

4. Middle section of the prophets song - Ruins the song really.

5. If you take out the piano ditties, sweet lady, good company and god save the queen, thats only 7 songs, 5 of which are sung by Freddie. Just seems like theres a few fillers on this album.

I know i'm going to be slammed for this but i've just started thinking perhaps it's overrated.
Anyone else agree or am i going to be destroyed?

I agree on one point - Freddie should've sung 39.

But I don't agree ANATO is overrated - I think it's underrated! To my mind, that's what Queen was all about -  energetic, playful, theatrical, extravagant, humorous - and still very moving!

If you listen to other great albums of 1975, such as Wish You Were Here and The Original Soundtrack, you'll see other greats were trying similar things as Queen - but Queen stole the show that year, with their unbelievable, but utterly enjoyable mixture of prog with vaudeville and dixie, ballads with opera buffo and canon, space rock and country, strange samples and unusual timestamps.

My only complaint is the harp on Love of My Life. Brian couldn't play it in one piece, so it was glued together in the studio, and it came out clunky. I prefer live versions of the song. But hey, if the album isn't perfect - it came damn close.













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Posted: 14 Oct 08, 16:06 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote



Markman38 wrote:





For someone who are starting to discover Queen begin with The Game.


A great album, but not very representative - it's got drier sound and edgier beat than any other Queen album before or after it. It'd be a good pick to introduce Queen fans to The Clash, though.



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Posted: 14 Oct 08, 16:08 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Bohemian Rhapsody and The Prophet's Song are to my ears arguably the two greatest epic songs in history.  Not Queen history, not rock history, but music history meaning that Motzart, Tchaikovsky(spelling?), Bach and even Beethoven in all their genius never matched those two songs to my way of thinking. 

Next there is the purist ballad/love song ever made in Love of My Life.  There is the zany songs of Seaside Rendeavoux and Lazing on a Sunday Afternoon, the powerful and hate-driven opener Death on Two Legs, the heavy I'm In Love With My Car and Sweet Lady pair, the more contemporary Your My Best Friend, and the two Brian songs.  Nowhere else have I heard such a widely diverse selection of songs so beautiful and perfect in every way.  Even God Save The Queen gives a proper finish to it.  The album seems to me to be the wide and diverse culmination of everything they were working towards from Queen I and II and through Sheer Heart Attack, and I cannot imagine how anyone can like Queen at all and not gush over that album.  The weakest link for me is Roger's track or Sweet Lady, and I love them both dearly. 

Probably the most gutless and dissapointing move Queen ever made as a band from my point of view was to not release a 2nd epic length single with The Prophet's Song as a follow up to Bohemian Rhapsody.  It was taboo when they did Bo Rhap, and the results proved to be success beyond any song's reach within the 20th Century at least.  Why then would they not take another chance and see if lightning strikes twice with Brian's magnum opus?  If they had done that, I believe they would have the two biggest hits of the century and Queen would have completely left the Beatles legacy in rear view.  Instead they went for the commercially safer 'Best Friend' Deacon song and the album is behind the Sgt. Peppers and Abbey Roads of the album rankings instead of far above it. 

I only agree that it's overrated in that I feel that Queen II and News of the World are no less than equally good, but beyond that I think you are a few french fries short of a happy meal and need to clean the wax out of your ears. 




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Posted: 14 Oct 08, 17:10 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Couldn't have said it better myself - wonderful reply and extremely well articulated. Does anyone have any press reviews of the time relating to ANATO - would like to read how the music press reviewed the album - has anything changed over the years?

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Posted: 14 Oct 08, 17:39 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Yes it is.

I will say that it is not my most played Queen album, that is probably A Day At The Races. It is not always my favourite Queen album, that has been all of them at various times, right now, I'm playing Innuendo quite a lot, but it is without doubt a wonderful album.

Partly it is because it IS an album, some of the songs if listened out of context are less than magnificent, but when listened to in order, they flow perfectly.  So a piece of nonesense like Lazing On A Sunday Afternoon works precisely because it is refreshingly light after the intensity of Death On Two Legs.

Similarly for Good Company and Seaside Rendezvous, they propel the album along so even though at first they seem light and inconsequential, they are actually imntegral the whole.  I would argue that Seaside is a particularly clever song.  The use of voice as an instrument is pretty unique, even for a Queen album.

The Prophet song does seem overlong at times, but after the vocal shenanigins, I would argue that when the guitar and drums kick in for the finale they make a greater impression than the guitar solo in Bo Rap.

The segue from Prophets to LOML is inspired...  There isnt actually any point where you can succesfully edit that and definitively say, 'this is where one ends and the other begins'

On the whole I think the album has few flaws, certainly I have not heard a more perfect album. 

I think it is their masterpiece and they never reached those heights again, but that is ok, because it was a heck of a height to reach at all.

there are individual songs on other Queen albums that are individually better than a lot of the songs on Opera, but there is no album so complete.

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Posted: 14 Oct 08, 19:41 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

First of all, my congratulations Liam - finally we have an interesting discussion on Queenzone. A true discussion about music as opposed to pointless QPR bashing.

I agree that Sweet Lady should not have made it to the album. I think the song is terrible all the way from the opening riff. Always when I listen to it I have a feeling that Freddie didn't really feel comfortable singing it.

I agree about The Prophet's Song. Finally, someone said it - the middle section kills this BRILLIANT song. I feel both embarassed and sorry when I listen to this part. I can only compare it to lenghty Brian's solos during the concerts:( Overall, I have an impression, that Brian was pretty much under the influence of Freddie on this album. Good Company is very much Freddiesque, just less genius, and the middle section of The Prophet's Song is an echo of Bohemian Rhapsody, possibly Freddie's idea (?). I back up what someone said that it could have been the 2nd single, unless it was heavily edited when it comes to the middle part. Sounds a bit inprobale, but hey - singles do get edited, don't they?

I like Brian's vocals on '39. The song is quite serious and nostalgic and I think Brian delivers these emotions perfectly. I remember reading that Freddie sang the song during the sessions, but it just sounded too sweet. I think it's highly likely. I'm not a big fan of Brian's singing, but on a few songs it worked. '39 is one of them.

And finally, sorry Liam, but I can't agree with the "two piano ditties". I think both Lazing on a Sunday Afternoon and Seaside Rendezvous are pure genius and as quintessential Freddie as Killer Queen or Somebody To Love. I think that if you are a fan of Freddie as a songwriter, you cannot ignore these two sweet displays of compositional talent and very rare sense of humour. These songs are meant to sound a bit silly, but by no means they are fillers. IMO they capture the real charm of seventies' Freddie Mercury and ANATO wouldn't be the same without them.

More posts like this one, please!






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Posted: 15 Oct 08, 03:53 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote



liam wrote:

I know most people consider it the best and it is historically regarded as a masterpeice. However if i was to introduce someone to queen or even suggest an album to a casual queen fan to buy i would not suggest this one. It's a great album but things have always bothered me about it. I have a few reasons;

1. Two piano ditties, Lazing on a sunday afternoon and seaside rendevous. They are fillers, lazing on a sunday afternoon is good, but seaside rendevous is not a great song and does not represent queen or show their talents, surely they had something else to put in place of at least one of them.

2. Good company  - I think two songs sung by Brian on an album is too much. Perhaps Freddie should have sung 39.

3. Sweet Lady - really is one of Queens worst songs.

4. Middle section of the prophets song - Ruins the song really.

5. If you take out the piano ditties, sweet lady, good company and god save the queen, thats only 7 songs, 5 of which are sung by Freddie. Just seems like theres a few fillers on this album.

I know i'm going to be slammed for this but i've just started thinking perhaps it's overrated.
Anyone else agree or am i going to be destroyed?




ANATO is way underated IMO,  What queen fan could not like the prophet song?...the song is brilliant.  Lazing on a sunday afternoon and especially seaside rendevous is freddie at his best, pure genious.  love of my life is the best ballad in queen history. 39 fits brian's voice perfectly, and is one of their best.  A very minor complaint for me is sweet lady, also,  I think 'good company' should have been sung by freddie,  though it's still a great song.  Opera should be mentioned more often as one of the best records of all time.  Instead we hear how great nirvana's albums are, GNR.   My personal favorite is queen2,  but opera is their most complete and brilliant works they ever did.




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Posted: 15 Oct 08, 05:37 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Yes, Night at the Opera is that great.

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Posted: 15 Oct 08, 06:07 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

"Bohemian Rhapsody and The Prophet's Song are to my ears arguably the two greatest epic songs in history.  Not Queen history, not rock history, but music history meaning that Motzart, Tchaikovsky(spelling?), Bach and even Beethoven in all their genius never matched those two songs to my way of thinking. "

This is the reason rock fans in general think Queen fans are cocks.

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Posted: 15 Oct 08, 06:11 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Well if they put Tie Your Morther Down The Millionaire Walz and Somebody to love in place of Sweet Lady, Seaside Rendezvous and The Prophet Song, it would be the best overall album ever made. But then ADATR wouldn't be that great too

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Posted: 15 Oct 08, 06:26 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

ANATO is an amazing album, and will always be the one people point to when they want to hear Queen at their best. Fantastic musicianship and I don't agree there is any 'filler'. Regarding Sweet Lady, it's an unusual time signature, which makes it sound a bit odd compared to most of their other stuff, but when you learn how to play the riff on the guitar (it's not difficult) it makes more sense. It's also vey heavy, which gets my vote.


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