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rhyeking user not visiting Queenzone.com
rhyeking
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Posted: 27 Aug 10, 21:01 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

I mentioned in the Happiness? thread that there were three albums I’d put on frequently which formed a solo trilogy of sorts. They were:

Back To The Light
Happiness?
The Great Pretender

You could argue that The Great Pretender shouldn’t count; it’s little more than a remix collection and an uneven one at that. I won’t disagree. It is was it is, an attempt to “update” Freddie’s sound.

I’d still like to take a look at this release, because I think it’s better than it gets credit for.

My first exposure to the music on it came in the form of two videos played on a Freddie Mercury Spotlight on MuchMusic, both featuring the remixes from this album: “The Great Pretender (Malouf Mix)” and “Love Kills (Wolf Remix)”. I had not heard the original versions, so hearing these, while still discovering Queen itself (I had yet to acquire all the albums) was a revelation. Soon after, I found the Mr. Bad Guy CD at Sunrise Records in Oshawa. In the winter of 1994, I got The Great Pretender for Christmas.

At the time, still pre-internet, I didn’t know that all but one song was significantly altered from its original. Honestly, I didn’t even realize the MBG tracks were remixed before I actually played them. Imagine my surprise.

The opening track, of course, was “The Great Pretender.” I played it for my dad, a big old-school rock and roll fan, and he loved it as much as I did. Freddie’s version was always a favourite of his. For a while, I assumed this was the only version, because it was the only one I’d heard until I found the 1992 7” re-issue of the Original Version. I like the original, but prefer the remix.

Next came a decent remix of “Foolin’ Around,” a song I knew from MBG. This was the point where I discovered that the six Mr. Bad Guy tracks were remixes (or at least the next five would be). I liked this remix then and I like it now. It doesn’t do too much or change the feel on the song.

Then came the first song I’d not ever heard, “Time.” Again, not knowing it was a remix, I took it for what it was. It was great song then and even after discovering the original (a few years later) I still think it’s an okay remix, though I prefer the Original Single Version.

“Your Kind Of Lover” started out like the original, with the piano, but then went into questionable dance club territory. Oh well, you take the good with the bad, I suppose.

The only track not remixed on this album was “Exercises In Free Love.” At first I didn’t know what to make of it, but I liked it! Was it an instrumental? There were no lyrics so what the hell was this? I didn’t know anything of the Barcelona album at this point other than it existed. So, this was just a beautifully odd Freddie track for me.

And it was the perfect, perfect lead into “In My Defense.” This was an absolute knock out track which rivalled even Queen’s best work in my opinion, then and now. I heard the Original Version when I found the 1992 7” single and think they are equally good for different reasons.

Then, to lighten things up, the “Mr. Bad Guy” remix. I like the rock feel just as much as the symphonic original.

“Let’s Turn It On,” an okay song from MBG, but this...this...well, it didn’t grab me, to say the least. I could stomach it, but just barely.

Now, here’s a curiosity that I was not even aware of until I got the Freddie Mercury Solo Collection boxed set: the edition of The Great Pretender I own has the 1993 Radio Mix by No More Bros on it INSTEAD of the 1992 Album Remix. The booklet says it’s the 1992 version, the same as would appear on GH3, but the actual CD has the Radio Mix. Strange, but true. When I got the boxed set and put on TGP CD I was like, “Wait, that’s the wrong version!” But some research told me the boxed set was correct and my store-bought TGP was an anomaly. Does anyone else have this same pressing?

Anyway, I loved this remix and for my copy of the album, it certainly sounds better than the standard pressing. It adds so much to the feel of the album.

“My Love Is Dangerous,” another okay song from MBG, this remix I enjoyed more. I like the counterpoint female vocalist and the overall rock feel. This mix doesn’t screw around.

Finishing the album was the track I had taped on VHS from the aforementioned FM Spotlight. What a great remix. It’s heavy and not having heard the original before seeing the video, I thought this was awesome. When I heard the original, I loved it for different reasons. For The Great Pretender album, this remix is perfectly done.

Overall, I can see why people don’t like this album. If I’d owned the original versions and then this came out, I might agree that it was a bit of a miscalculation or that some other type of collection might have been better. But for five of the six songs, this came first for me, right or wrong.

Only two remixes didn’t do it for me, but the whole collection still holds together nicely (at least for my LOMO Radio Mix Edition...I don’t listen to the standard edition found on my copy of the boxed set).

Thoughts?

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Posted: 28 Aug 10, 08:02 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

I think the remixes from Mr Bad Guy were all fairly appalling. Some of those songs might have benefited from a bit of a work over but not in the crass way they did it. This album was a pure cash in . I hadnt really heard In My Defence or Love Kills before which were the only upsides. I had already heard Exercises in Free Love on  a B side to a Great Pretender 12" single.

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Posted: 31 Aug 10, 18:18 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

I actually prefer this collection to The Freddie Mercury Album, even though they share some of the same tracks. The difference are significant. TFMA isn't bad and I can see people preferring it because it has a few more tracks not remixed, but TGP just feels more like a cohesive album.

Also, the replacing of the 1992 Album Mix with the Radio Mix of "Living On My Own" makes a big difference on the edition I have.

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Posted: 03 Sep 10, 07:42 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Both TGP and The Freddie Mercury Insult were appalling releases.

That said, I prefer TGP, Time, and In My Defence versions on TGP.  All retained the originals with slightly enhanced lead guitar, with a better sound mix.  Anything else that changed the songs were rubbish.  Why they couldn't have just released what Freddie did still boggles my mind.

Why not a simple Greatest Hits release?  And then, for those that wanted change, do a separate 'Freddie Mercury Remix Collection', and title it appropriately?


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Posted: 03 Sep 10, 10:39 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

In the '80s, Extended Versions were the "in" thing for 12" singles, where generally only the original elements were used to re-create the song, sometimes in much more interesting ways.

In the '90s, it was third-party remixing, which now seems very misguided and silly. Queen weren't the only artists to receive this treatment (David Bowie...Mike Oldfiield...). I think there were several factors which prompted record companies to this direction. The popularity of dance and club music was a big reason and the fall from grace of all things Rock, in favour of Alternative Music. It just wasn't cool to listen to Zeppelin or The Who or Rush or Queen. Record companies were stuck, trying to promote material they were afraid wouldn't sell. Bowie adapted, even embraced the shift as he always did, and put out Earthling. Queen weren't recording, nor was Freddie, so what to do?

As I've said repeatedly, HR should be commended for massive promotion they gave to the band in 1991 and 1992 in North America. Those much-despised remixes were there to appeal to a broader new demographic, and if the older fans liked them too, more was the better.

The Great Pretender was part of that thinking, even though it appears to be a massive industry mis-step now, no one making those decisions thought Rock would return in a big way by 2000 or that the culture would be so changed by this little networking system called the world wide web. Now, every genre of music is granted more or less equal billing as fans flock to each other and demonstrate the existence of the market for their listening pleasure.

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Posted: 03 Sep 10, 10:44 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

@rhyeking: Oh, Bowie's Earthling. That's a cool album... Ziggy Stardust meets The Prodigy!

I got The Freddie Mercury album around 1995-6 and loved every bit of it. I was a bit disappointed when I got Mr. Bad Guy. The songs felt empty and dated to me.

I almost felt bad listening to Freddie's awesome vocals in Let's Turn it On sung over that 80's synth-pop arrangement (and not even GOOD 80's Synth pop).

It was like hearing Freddie's original BoRhap vocals over a lame Karaoke backing track!

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Posted: 03 Sep 10, 11:02 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Re: Earthling

Little Wonder on the radio prompted me to buy that album. Other than "Under Pressure," I knew NO other Bowie music at the time. After that, I sought out Ziggy Stardust.

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Posted: 03 Sep 10, 12:14 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Don't like the album much.......his original take on the Great Pretender was great and love the video, but i hated the remix of all these songs.  Mr. Bad Guy wasn't a strong album,  but was still much better.  had some fine moments.

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Posted: 03 Sep 10, 12:18 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

rhyeking wrote: I mentioned in the Happiness? thread that there were three albums I’d put on frequently which formed a solo trilogy of sorts. They were:

Back To The Light
Happiness?
The Great Pretender

You could argue that The Great Pretender shouldn’t count; it’s little more than a remix collection and an uneven one at that. I won’t disagree. It is was it is, an attempt to “update” Freddie’s sound.

I’d still like to take a look at this release, because I think it’s better than it gets credit for.

My first exposure to the music on it came in the form of two videos played on a Freddie Mercury Spotlight on MuchMusic, both featuring the remixes from this album: “The Great Pretender (Malouf Mix)” and “Love Kills (Wolf Remix)”. I had not heard the original versions, so hearing these, while still discovering Queen itself (I had yet to acquire all the albums) was a revelation. Soon after, I found the Mr. Bad Guy CD at Sunrise Records in Oshawa. In the winter of 1994, I got The Great Pretender for Christmas.

At the time, still pre-internet, I didn’t know that all but one song was significantly altered from its original. Honestly, I didn’t even realize the MBG tracks were remixed before I actually played them. Imagine my surprise.

The opening track, of course, was “The Great Pretender.” I played it for my dad, a big old-school rock and roll fan, and he loved it as much as I did. Freddie’s version was always a favourite of his. For a while, I assumed this was the only version, because it was the only one I’d heard until I found the 1992 7” re-issue of the Original Version. I like the original, but prefer the remix.

Next came a decent remix of “Foolin’ Around,” a song I knew from MBG. This was the point where I discovered that the six Mr. Bad Guy tracks were remixes (or at least the next five would be). I liked this remix then and I like it now. It doesn’t do too much or change the feel on the song.

Then came the first song I’d not ever heard, “Time.” Again, not knowing it was a remix, I took it for what it was. It was great song then and even after discovering the original (a few years later) I still think it’s an okay remix, though I prefer the Original Single Version.

“Your Kind Of Lover” started out like the original, with the piano, but then went into questionable dance club territory. Oh well, you take the good with the bad, I suppose.

The only track not remixed on this album was “Exercises In Free Love.” At first I didn’t know what to make of it, but I liked it! Was it an instrumental? There were no lyrics so what the hell was this? I didn’t know anything of the Barcelona album at this point other than it existed. So, this was just a beautifully odd Freddie track for me.

And it was the perfect, perfect lead into “In My Defense.” This was an absolute knock out track which rivalled even Queen’s best work in my opinion, then and now. I heard the Original Version when I found the 1992 7” single and think they are equally good for different reasons.

Then, to lighten things up, the “Mr. Bad Guy” remix. I like the rock feel just as much as the symphonic original.

“Let’s Turn It On,” an okay song from MBG, but this...this...well, it didn’t grab me, to say the least. I could stomach it, but just barely.

Now, here’s a curiosity that I was not even aware of until I got the Freddie Mercury Solo Collection boxed set: the edition of The Great Pretender I own has the 1993 Radio Mix by No More Bros on it INSTEAD of the 1992 Album Remix. The booklet says it’s the 1992 version, the same as would appear on GH3, but the actual CD has the Radio Mix. Strange, but true. When I got the boxed set and put on TGP CD I was like, “Wait, that’s the wrong version!” But some research told me the boxed set was correct and my store-bought TGP was an anomaly. Does anyone else have this same pressing?

Anyway, I loved this remix and for my copy of the album, it certainly sounds better than the standard pressing. It adds so much to the feel of the album.

“My Love Is Dangerous,” another okay song from MBG, this remix I enjoyed more. I like the counterpoint female vocalist and the overall rock feel. This mix doesn’t screw around.

Finishing the album was the track I had taped on VHS from the aforementioned FM Spotlight. What a great remix. It’s heavy and not having heard the original before seeing the video, I thought this was awesome. When I heard the original, I loved it for different reasons. For The Great Pretender album, this remix is perfectly done.

Overall, I can see why people don’t like this album. If I’d owned the original versions and then this came out, I might agree that it was a bit of a miscalculation or that some other type of collection might have been better. But for five of the six songs, this came first for me, right or wrong.

Only two remixes didn’t do it for me, but the whole collection still holds together nicely (at least for my LOMO Radio Mix Edition...I don’t listen to the standard edition found on my copy of the boxed set).

Thoughts?

I love Exercises in free love......The version on barcelona might even be better.

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Posted: 10 Sep 10, 22:08 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Regardless of the quality of the production of the music on  the Mr Bad Guy album ,  the lead vocals are absolutely FANTASTIC