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The Real Wizard user not visiting Queenzone.com
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Posted: 04 Aug 10, 21:00 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

I know this has been discussed before (almost to death), but  here we go anyway.

Naturally, the album was what it was at the time because it was what felt right.  Queen were almost always a band who took risks, pushed the envelope, and never wanted to create the same thing twice - with varying results, but mostly good.  I think we can all agree with that.

But with hindsight on our side, we can suggest ways certain records could have been stronger.  Here's what my remodeled Hot Space would look like:

Side A:
Put Out The Fire
Life Is Real
Calling All Girls
Las Palabras de Amor
Under Pressure
Soul Brother

Side B:
Staying Power
Dancer
Back Chat
Action This Day
Cool Cat

Cool Cat is as much a diversion from the rest of the record as My Melancholy Blues was on News Of The World.  I think it's a perfect ending to the record, and much more in line with the funky tracks.

As far as I'm concerned, Body Language is the single worst track the band ever released.  It was a big hit, but with the singles-buying clubbing crowd, certainly not with Queen fans who enjoyed their 70s rock-based material.  I'm one of those folks who believe that had they at least swapped sides A and B, the record would have fared far better, particularly in the US (I bet plenty of people tossed it away even before flipping it to side B).  In fact, I'd say side B of Hot Space is stronger than side B of The Game.  Las Palabras easily matches Save Me.

Thoughts .. ?


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Posted: 04 Aug 10, 22:11 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

I know I'm waaaayy in the minority, but I don't hate Body Language.  It's got a slinky coolness that has allowed it to stand up over time.  The comparison to the body of Queen work to that point is of course valid and important, but the comparison to other similar works by other musicians in the era is valid as well.  In that regard Body Language excelled, and still does if continued radio play can be any gauge.  Queen stumbled sometimes in the 80's not only relative to themselves, but relative to other people who had already done what they were trying to do, or who were doing it better.  Body Language, like it or hate it, bucked that trend. 

I'll defer to your tracklist because I don't seem to do it very well for Queen material.  I used to make the best mix tapes. Don't know what happened.

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Posted: 04 Aug 10, 22:52 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

I'd like it clear that I like Hot Space.

That said, here are my thoughts...

I agree that maybe something as simple as re-ordering the track listing could have help Hot Space's reputation. I'd also like to add that the cover never really grabbed me. It's not bad, per se, and it fits the album as released, but while we're experimenting with changing around the album, why not consider a different cover too. And while we're at it, maybe a different title?

Hot Space...? Not very appealing, as I sort of picture a cramped, stuffy (hot) little room in which I'm uncomfortable from sweating and jostling people. I guess I'm not much of a club person and don't frequent saunas.

Possible other titles:

Action This Day
Fire - Light - Electricity
Radio/Activity

Okay, so, here's my alternate track listing:

Side 1
01) I Go Crazy (HS Version)*
02) Calling All Girls
03) Put Out The Fire
04) Dancer
05) Back Chat (7" Re-Mix)
06) Action This Day
Side 2
07) Under Pressure (with David Bowie)
08) Staying Power (US Extended Version)**
09) Life Is Real (Song For Lennon)
10) Las Palabras De Amor (The Words Of Love)
11) Cool Cat (with David Bowie)
12) There Must Be More To Life Than This (Queen Version)***

* Assuming the version started for this album sounds anything like the later B-Side version (The Works era), it would kick ass to start off an album

** Either this version or a remix/edit of this version. I don't know why, but I like this Extended Version over the album version. It's punchier and much more fun.

*** If Queen had finished this, it would be a great end to the album.

Note: "Soul Brother" and "Body Language" don't appear...not because I don't like them (I do), but because in this re-imagining they didn't really fit and were kind of the weakest tracks. Maybe use them as non-album B-sides in this experiment.

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Posted: 04 Aug 10, 23:28 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Ahhh, lots of interesting thoughts there.

I'm surprised you consider Soul Brother to be a weak track.  The lyrics are pure fun, and musically it has all the Queen trademarks - perhaps more than any other track on the album.

How different is the 7" remix of Back Chat from the album?  I've got most of the Queen 45s, but not that one.

The 1982 instrumental demo of I Go Crazy is pretty similar to the 1984 b-side... but maybe a vocal wasn't even laid down until the Works sessions.

Your track listing looks great overall, but side A is a bit unlikely since there are no Mercury tracks.


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Posted: 04 Aug 10, 23:34 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

I had read a lot of bad reviews about Hot Space so I deferred buying until I had covered everything up to Made In Heaven.  However the minute I put it on the CD player, I liked it immediately.  It was more akin to the pop music that I had been listening to previously.  I liked Body Language better after hearing it from the album than from watching the music video.

I think the music in songs such as Staying Power, Back Chat and Body Language is "thinner" than the previous Queen albums.  The emphasis seemed to be on the singer and the music did not envelope the vocal parts.  In fact I find the music in Made In Heaven so noisy that I feel tired after listening to the album.

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Posted: 05 Aug 10, 00:13 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Sir GH wrote: Ahhh, lots of interesting thoughts there.

I'm surprised you consider Soul Brother to be a weak track.  The lyrics are pure fun, and musically it has all the Queen trademarks - perhaps more than any other track on the album.

How different is the 7" remix of Back Chat from the album?  I've got most of the Queen 45s, but not that one.

The 1982 instrumental demo of I Go Crazy is pretty similar to the 1984 b-side... but maybe a vocal wasn't even laid down until the Works sessions.

Your track listing looks great overall, but side A is a bit unlikely since there are no Mercury tracks.

Soul Brother: Okay, maybe "weak" is the wrong word. It's not that it's bad or I have anything but love for the track, but it just didn't fit my approach. The lyrics are certainly fun, but a bit too self-referential, in my opinion, to convincingly work on a record. I tried to view this experiment as the band might, trying to make an album that fans and new listeners might like equally. The self-referencing in the lyrics go a bit too much into fan-novelty for casual listeners to appreciate. Maybe I'm wrong, but Queen didn't include it originally and for this experiment, neither did I. I will say it should have been included as a 1991 Hollywood Records remaster bonus track! There's no excuse for its exclusion there.

Back Chat: The 7" remix is tighter and punchier. It's the same cut as used in the video. The album version sounds slower by comparison. John Deacon did the 7" and 12" mixes, and they are both improvements, in my opinion.

I Go Crazy: I still consider this a very Works song, but decided that since it was started during HS, it warranted consideration. For the purpose of the experiment, I imagined that Queen would have finished it.

Freddie-less Side 1: You know, I did not even notice. I just went with an order that sounded good. On the original album, he has, not including "Under Pressure," which is credited to Queen & David Bowie, 4 songs only out of the other 10. It's been done before, on Side White of Queen II, but that was intentional.

For the record, a runner up for inclusion on the re-imagined Hot Space (titled "Fire - Light - Electricity" in my experiment) was Roger's "Good Times Are Now" (using a fictional Queen version, with Roger still singing lead, or sharing it with Freddie). Ultimately, I decided not to include it, since it had no connection to the Hot Space sessions, no such Queen recording exists and to do so would be stretching this exercise a bit too far.

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Posted: 05 Aug 10, 00:26 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

@ryheking - I really like the title of the album, much more than the album itself.  And funnily enough until I heard you say it just now I'd never registered 'Hot' as a qualifier for 'Space'.  More like an enticing staccato pushed up against it and meant to be considered as part of something in quick succession as opposed to strictly and traditionally together, though the words do feel like they have some single undefined but intriguing meaning when paired.  I really liked the title of The Killers'  'Hot Fuss' for the same reason.  I don't know what a 'Hot Fuss' is, but I knew it sounded cool and I wanted it in my CD collection.

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Posted: 05 Aug 10, 01:44 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

rhyeking wrote:

"The lyrics are certainly fun, but a bit too self-referential, in my opinion, to convincingly work on a record. I tried to view this experiment as the band might, trying to make an album that fans and new listeners might like equally."

Fair enough.  I guess I like to compare Soul Brother to Glass Onion on the White album.  Neither fit with the other tracks, but somehow still seem to be team players in their own odd but endearing ways.

Cheers for the responses.


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Posted: 05 Aug 10, 02:40 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

I am a hot space fan, it may not be the best album Queen have produced but its not the worst either

The songs that Queen performed live from the hot space album were quite good

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Posted: 05 Aug 10, 09:35 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Sir GH wrote: I know this has been discussed before (almost to death), but  here we go anyway.

Naturally, the album was what it was at the time because it was what felt right.  Queen were almost always a band who took risks, pushed the envelope, and never wanted to create the same thing twice - with varying results, but mostly good.  I think we can all agree with that.

But with hindsight on our side, we can suggest ways certain records could have been stronger.  Here's what my remodeled Hot Space would look like:

Side A:
Put Out The Fire
Life Is Real
Calling All Girls
Las Palabras de Amor
Under Pressure
Soul Brother

Side B:
Staying Power
Dancer
Back Chat
Action This Day
Cool Cat

Cool Cat is as much a diversion from the rest of the record as My Melancholy Blues was on News Of The World.  I think it's a perfect ending to the record, and much more in line with the funky tracks.

As far as I'm concerned, Body Language is the single worst track the band ever released.  It was a big hit, but with the singles-buying clubbing crowd, certainly not with Queen fans who enjoyed their 70s rock-based material.  I'm one of those folks who believe that had they at least swapped sides A and B, the record would have fared far better, particularly in the US (I bet plenty of people tossed it away even before flipping it to side B).  In fact, I'd say side B of Hot Space is stronger than side B of The Game.  Las Palabras easily matches Save Me.

Thoughts .. ?
yea, in their prime they took a lot of risks with  98% success, the 80's were more mixed results.  Funny you mention the first side of the album most fans didn't even get past the first few songs.  that is true for me also.  It took a year to get past the first 2 songs,  but eventually some of those songs grew on me.  Mainly staying power and later on the album Cool cat, which I first hated.    I might disagree slightly with body language being the worst ever queen track.......it is one of my least favorites, but for me some others are worse. ' Fun it' for example......more of that Jazz?.....maybe.   Tear it up?.....Maybe.   Don't lose your head?....yes, much worse than body language.  Party?.....Even put out the fire might be worse.  Of course we're just giving harmless opinions here......The only thing with hot space is it should have been a bit heavier......still with the disco vibe though.  I love the fact this Band took so many risks on the first 9 albums.   Hot space they Just took it a little too far.   No problem though,  I'v had some fun spinning this fun album over the years,  not great by any means but far from horrible.

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Posted: 05 Aug 10, 11:25 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

It amuses me a bit that people seemed surprised that Hot Space was so funk/dance dominant, as if they didn't see it coming. It should have been apparent that something like this was where Queen were headed. Look at the evidence...

I Wanna Testify & Turn On The TV & Fight From The Inside (1977)
The first two are Roger solo tracks, but all three were recorded during the NOTW sessions and all are fun funk-rock numbers.

Fun It (1978)
Disco from top to bottom, don't even try to deny it. It's even got the cheesy whistle.

How Come You're So Dumb & Rich Kid Blues (1979)
Roger's solo tracks with Hilary Hilary are more fun synthy-dance cheesiness.

Dragon Attack & Another One Bites The Dust & Don't Try Suicide (1980)
It's easy to just blame the success of AOBTD on the direction which led to Hot Space, but the funk component was very well represented by other songs on The Game.

Future Management (1981)
More cool funk-rock from Roger, buried in a "scfi-fi" themed album, this can easily get overlooked. Was it an influence? Hard to say, but I present it here as evidence that funk was very much on the band member's minds.

Under Pressure (1981)
Funk-rock at its finest. It should be noted that Bowie was between his Scary Monsters and Let's Dance albums, very much in a synth-pop-funk place musically, having shed his dark Berlin period. Also, while we didn't know it at the time, Queen had recorded "Cool Cat" already when Bowie walked into the studio (as we all have his demo version), so Queen were by this time fully exploring various things Funk.

Moral & Crash & You Are You Are (1982)
Roger's work with Gary Numan, king of the one-hit eighties synth weirdness.

Emotions In Motion (1982)
Freddie and Roger (again!) working on the first of several Billy Squire/Solo collaborations. Listen to this song and tell me it wouldn't fit on Hot Space if it had been a Queen song. All the elements are there: pop-funk-synth-danciness.

In many ways, Hot Space was not a new direction for Queen, just the first time since AOBTD that the band so unapologetically put their funky foot forward, rather their tradition pop-rock.

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Posted: 05 Aug 10, 11:40 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Soul Brother is utter rubbish.  The words are not 'fun' but trite.  It sounds like it was made up as they went along, using the song titles as Greatest Hits was about to be released and all done in 15 minutes.

Sorry - couldn't stay silent any more!


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Posted: 05 Aug 10, 12:11 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

You're probably right, VOR, that it was probably written and recorded very quickly and probably just to be a B-side. I don't think they ever intended it for inclusion on the album, but I'm only guessing. Freddie, who often cited as the primary writer on this, was very nonchalant about his musical output (which I think is partly an act) and considered his work disposable. The band were likely thinking,"Well, Bowie doesn't like his work on Cool Cat, so we can't use that as a B-side, so let's just put something together."

I disagree that it's not fun, but it's a personal opinion situation, so I can't tell you you're wrong (neither of us is right or wrong). I guess the song just ain't for everyone.

The B-side version of "See What A Fool I've Been" is very much the same, with Freddie singing what is normally a blues-rock song in an over the top burlesque way. I picture the band laughing their heads off as he did that final vocal take. And why not? A band should be allowed to have fun with itself and its image. Heaven save us from bands that are serious all the freakin' time. That just gets tedious.

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Posted: 05 Aug 10, 12:50 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Hmmmm.....

Nothing wrong with Hot Space, me thinks.

Great album title, great cover.  A possible tribute to Warhol?  And the track selection is just fine.  Starting the album out with anything but Staying Power would be a shame.  It has the most energy of all the song off the album, and it's missing the usual Over-Guitaring that starts a Queen album, making you wait until track 2.  Nice.

Keeping Body Language off the album?  Huh?  The key here is selling albums, right?  Not making records that a few fans think is the greatest ever.  While some consider Body Language their worst track, that seems to come from a musician's mentality, not someone trying to market the album.  It's simply their most pure-pop song they ever recorded, it was guaranteed to be a hit.  And this happened during a time where we were starting to frown on bad language, suggestive lyrics, and wanting to put PA Stickers on the front covers.   And it still sold like hot cakes!!!

Thank God they didn't keep making records like Night At The Opera and News Of The World.  Listening to a band put out the same stuff they did the year before gets old.   Apologies to all you Classic Rock fans, but we have to evolve musically as well!

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Posted: 05 Aug 10, 13:07 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

My favorite album, and the one I play the most, along with Opera and The Game, eventhough I understand why people hate it.

I agree that it could have been better with a different tracklist, but also I think the tracks would have benefited greatly by being a bit heavier, like they were played live. For instance, take Body Language's 1991 remix. It includes two extra notes of guitar and an extra beat rythm in the background, both repeated throughout the song, and it sounds much more interesting.

Here's my stab at an alternate tracklisting.

Under Pressure
Put Out the Fire
Life is Real
Body Language
Calling All Girls
Back Chat (edit of the 12" mix)

Staying Power (edit of the extended U.S. mix)
Dancer
Action this day
Las Palabras de Amor
Cool Cat

I agree with Sir GH about ending the album with Cool Cat and it being similar to how My Melancholy Blues ends News of the World.

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Posted: 05 Aug 10, 14:22 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

If they had just recorded the tracks in the studio the way they performed them live it would've been even more awesome. Roger's IIIIIII WANT YOUR BODAAAAAAAAAAY!!!!! kicks ass :D

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Posted: 05 Aug 10, 14:25 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

OMG I LOVE BACK CHAT FROM HOT SPACE, i know this is very random but it is very very important you all know

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Posted: 05 Aug 10, 21:12 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

rhyeking wrote: It amuses me a bit that people seemed surprised that Hot Space was so funk/dance dominant, as if they didn't see it coming. It should have been apparent that something like this was where Queen were headed. Look at the evidence...

I Wanna Testify & Turn On The TV & Fight From The Inside (1977)
The first two are Roger solo tracks, but all three were recorded during the NOTW sessions and all are fun funk-rock numbers.

Fun It (1978)
Disco from top to bottom, don't even try to deny it. It's even got the cheesy whistle.

How Come You're So Dumb & Rich Kid Blues (1979)
Roger's solo tracks with Hilary Hilary are more fun synthy-dance cheesiness.

Dragon Attack & Another One Bites The Dust & Don't Try Suicide (1980)
It's easy to just blame the success of AOBTD on the direction which led to Hot Space, but the funk component was very well represented by other songs on The Game.

Future Management (1981)
More cool funk-rock from Roger, buried in a "scfi-fi" themed album, this can easily get overlooked. Was it an influence? Hard to say, but I present it here as evidence that funk was very much on the band member's minds.

Under Pressure (1981)
Funk-rock at its finest. It should be noted that Bowie was between his Scary Monsters and Let's Dance albums, very much in a synth-pop-funk place musically, having shed his dark Berlin period. Also, while we didn't know it at the time, Queen had recorded "Cool Cat" already when Bowie walked into the studio (as we all have his demo version), so Queen were by this time fully exploring various things Funk.

Moral & Crash & You Are You Are (1982)
Roger's work with Gary Numan, king of the one-hit eighties synth weirdness.

Emotions In Motion (1982)
Freddie and Roger (again!) working on the first of several Billy Squire/Solo collaborations. Listen to this song and tell me it wouldn't fit on Hot Space if it had been a Queen song. All the elements are there: pop-funk-synth-danciness.

In many ways, Hot Space was not a new direction for Queen, just the first time since AOBTD that the band so unapologetically put their funky foot forward, rather their tradition pop-rock.

I love how Queen fans blame freddie and john for the funk direction the band took.  When in fact it was roger who started the whole trend With 'fun it'  and continued the new wave/funk/dance on the game with prime jive and coming soon.  Roger was the one who introduced  sythnisizer's to the band.   These people need to do some research on the band before they open their mouth.

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Posted: 05 Aug 10, 21:18 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Micrówave wrote: Hmmmm.....

Nothing wrong with Hot Space, me thinks.

Great album title, great cover.  A possible tribute to Warhol?  And the track selection is just fine.  Starting the album out with anything but Staying Power would be a shame.  It has the most energy of all the song off the album, and it's missing the usual Over-Guitaring that starts a Queen album, making you wait until track 2.  Nice.

Keeping Body Language off the album?  Huh?  The key here is selling albums, right?  Not making records that a few fans think is the greatest ever.  While some consider Body Language their worst track, that seems to come from a musician's mentality, not someone trying to market the album.  It's simply their most pure-pop song they ever recorded, it was guaranteed to be a hit.  And this happened during a time where we were starting to frown on bad language, suggestive lyrics, and wanting to put PA Stickers on the front covers.   And it still sold like hot cakes!!!

Thank God they didn't keep making records like Night At The Opera and News Of The World.  Listening to a band put out the same stuff they did the year before gets old.   Apologies to all you Classic Rock fans, but we have to evolve musically as well!

Good post.....Agreed!

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Posted: 05 Aug 10, 21:33 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

From what I've read, it wasn't that Queen didn't use synths because they were morally opposed to them, but because they felt synthesizers sounded kind of shitty until the late '70s. Bands like Pink Floyd, with Dark Side Of The Moon, pretty much took contemporary synthesizers as far as they could go. It was great for Prog Rock, but Queen were Blues-Rock-Glam, so they just played what they needed on their normal instruments. And Brian could get some cool mileage out of the Red Special, so why bother with synths?

The "No Synthesizers" note on the '70s albums came from not wanting people to think the Red Special was just them playing with keyboard effects or a Wulitzer. It wasn't a "We hate oppose synthesizers" credo.

And yes, it seems Roger was the first to experiment with synths and actually record with them in 1979 with his Hilary Hilary recordings (he basically did everything on that single short of actually singing, which Hilary does). By the time the band worked on Flash Gordon, less than a year later, the entire band had embraced synthesizers and never looked back.