Forums > Queen - Serious Discussion > Innuendo: mediocre album?

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MmP user not visiting Queenzone.com
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Posted: 29 Dec 10, 20:24 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Not long ago this week I wondered about the quality between the two last albums from Queen in the 80’s. I felt that The
Miracle had an obvious edge to A Kind of Magic in possibly every aspect. Although very moving and great improvement from  a bleak and very boring álbum as “The Works, AKOM was stunted by a very creative, deep and what seemed to be a return to the musical roots with TM.
I wanted to know if any of you agreed with this idea after listening both albums carefully. To my surprise most of the
answers were positives, I was actually waitiing for a more reluctant turn.  Some of the answers caught my attention
because they tended to speak up about the next álbum to TM: “Innuendo” when I never even mentioned it but the turn was natural. Some of the post were:

-“When first listening to Innuendo on day of
release, I hadn't felt that kind of exhilleration since The Game.”

-“I absolutely agree that Innuendo stands
shoulder-to-shoulder with their '70's work”

-“And to this day it's a real "Miracle" to me how they could come
up with a strong album like "Innuendo" after this. “

-“Innuendo was the real miracle.......”

Which led me to another dilema that has circled my mind in various ocations following the quality topic:

Was Innuendo really that good?.
Why Queen fans claim this álbum was the biggest since the 70’s?

Of  course If you listen it (despite some exceptions) this seem to an even more moving, deep and back to the roots álbum.
And has some mistery too, not only in the words “Innuendo” or “I ll soon be turning round the corner” the music has it’s mistery as well. Roger Taylor says it well when asked about the álbum after the release :(regarding TM )

 “It’s less poppy, but it’s deeper musically. We feel this is one of our finest Works lately”

Well, you gotta believe the drummer don’t you? And I do. I’ve belived him since I’ve Heard people telling me this álbum competed  with any of the 70’s work. Even watching video reviews on TV, praising works such as Innuendo, The Show must go on, The Hitman, and on. Especially in the conditions Freddie recorded. So the notion of a great album standed for years.

I wanted to see what other people thought about this álbum when it came out, If they were as astonished as I am right now. Even if they caught the bands blink of Freddie’s near departure and how corauge he had. Or if they agreed with what most of Queen fans think. So I checked the press releases from 1991:

02-01-1991 - Innuendo - The Orange County

“(…)Unfortunately, too much of
"Innuendo" is given over to would-be arena roof-raisers such as
"Headlong," "I Can't Live With You" and "Hitman,"
all ordinary rockers. (…)  Queen is a
figurehead these days -- its brand of progressive rock is hardly progressive
anymore -- but it looks as if it will clamber back on the album-rock radio
throne.”

----------------

02-15-1991 - Innuendo - LA Times

“(…)The rest of the time, Queen puts on its
customary regal garb for heroic statements about undying love, lust for life,
belief in God and other grand notions. It's typical Queen, full of theatrical
sound and fury with massed choruses of whooshing voices and treated guitars,
all huff and puff. You know, the sort of bollocks the Sex Pistols quite rightly
told us to never mind. “

---------------

04-01-1991 - Innuendo - People Weekly

“(…)And, as a
bonus, the album's best tune is the lounge-lizardish "I'm Going Slightly
Mad," on which lead singer Freddie Mercury croons uneasily, like a
cocktail jazz singer crazy after one too many requests for"Feelings."(…)If
this is cartoon rock and roll, at least it's good and brazenly cartoonish.”

---------------

03-15-1991 - Innuendo - St. LouisPost-Dispatch

“(…)Innuendo isn't likely to turn around
Queen's decade-long downward spiral of popularity, but the album has a few
semiprecious gems: Freddie Mercury singing a love song to his cat on Delilah,
lead guitarist Brian May kicking in with unrestrained axing on the hard-hitting
The Hitman and serving a brisk metal set on Headlong, drummer Roger Taylor and
bassist John Deacon jolting a spirit of abandon into Ride the Wild Wind. “

-----------

03-07-1991 - Innuendo - Rolling Stone (Issue
599)

“(…)Innuendo is so lightweight you'll forget
it as soon as it's over – which, with this band, should go without saying anyway
– but there's nothing cynical about it. Unlike most fortyish rock relics, the
boys in Queen are still too kooky and insincere to settle for any of that
"well-earned wisdom of middle age" bunk. They just throw food at the
wall, and if it sticks, fine. And if it doesn't stick, well, that's fine too.
But the remaining tracks are disappointing,
and generally Innuendo is yet another misfire in the group's slumping output. “

...Well, most of the reviews tells us this is a mediocre álbum at best. These reviews got me real confused and popped
some questions in my head:

- How come most of the articles I read dismiss Queen’s great comeback and degrade it to a mere “recurrent decline since the 80’s”?

-How come non of the reporters were moved when listening “Inside my heart is breaking, my make up maybe flaking but my smile still stays on” or the final “I still love you” from Freddie.? I mean how could they not even notice some kind of message in Queen music, that this is their final stance. And the effort the band was making by recording this one?

Im just too Young to know what people thought about this álbum when it came out. Thats why I turn to all of you to ask:  Did you all think that this could be a great álbum when it came out?

Of course to answer I ask you guys to leave the illness factors aside. Just the music in terms of quality.

Here’s what I think: I think this press releases are pretty much accuratte. Innuendo without the fact that Freddie was
in a critical situation never had much appeal, sadly. Left alone, to me, this is  GREAT álbum in every aspect: sound,
lyrics, creativity, Freddie’s voice, band’s cooperation., etc.  But this is my opionion as a fan, to the world wide conception this is probably (excluding Innuendo track) another álbum. BUT when you start putting the ties together it’s when you realize how VALUEABLE this álbum is and was. Freddie’s condition, the stenght he had to record, the bands cooperation and still making a great work is what I think puts the álbum as one of the finest Queen works. Unfortunatly the álbum alone cannot make and impact by it self if you don’t tie it to the bands situation and that is what I think the reporters didn’t see then but
today they do. They just heard the songs but never put their minds into it and when you do that is WHEN you realice the complexity of this work. How is all greatly put, how to close brillantly a legendary musical carrer that sadly shined most
in the 70’s and dissappointed in the 80’s but ended correctly in 1991.

Sorry for the long post, but I really wanted to express myself and Im looking forward to know what you think.

Cheers.


I have a man-crush on Brian's solo on Delilah
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Posted: 29 Dec 10, 23:18 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

I don't mind it but seriously, tracks like All God's People and Delilah just destroyed this album.  The track Innuendo itself was a fantastic opener which did take me back to their 70's work...but there's some big lemons spattered amongst the gems that's for sure. But, I guess you could say that for nearly any album. But those two tracks especially, All Gods People and Delilah, ewww....just terrible.

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Posted: 29 Dec 10, 23:38 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Those reviews are mostly done by and for ignorants anyway.

Regarding the album, YMMV. I think it's great: Roger's playing is excellent (way better than machines), Brian also played what I think was his best solo on a Queen song (TAtDoOL, plus some others which are close behind), John played wonderfully, Fred sang really well, Brian's harmony vocals (and Roger's, for less extent) were top notch, they used synths quite well, production's great, songwriting's fabulous, there are some really nice classics out there (Show Must Go On) as well as some underrated gems (Bijou, Don't Try So Hard), and I do like All God's People, especially for Freddie's flawless voice.


John hated HS. Fred's fave singer was not PR. Roger didn't compose 'Innuendo.' Witness testimonies are often inaccurate. Scotland's not in England. 'Bo Rhap' hasn't got 180 voices.
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Posted: 30 Dec 10, 02:15 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

I would not overrate reviews in magazines etc.
People writing them were and are usually flooded with new albums and do not have the time to really listen.
Also they do not get paid very well for few lines. So in fact those journalists can only write a review after a first listening experience.
But the general experience is, that albums having a real lasting effect need four or five times of listening before you "get" it. While those albums that sound great when listening first time sometimes become rather boring after repeated listening. 
So I do not blame the journalists, the fault is in the system proven by so many reviews that turned out wrong.
So to me a review is nothing more than a hint, that something has been released.

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Posted: 30 Dec 10, 10:20 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

As far as I'm concerned, it's in the top three Queen albums, behind Queen II and A Night At The Opera.  It's the closest they ever came to reaching the heights of ANATO, as it has all the trademarks - using the studio to ifs fullest capabilities, the sheer bombast, quality of songwriting and arrangements, genre diversity, and it's ever so vocally strong.  It has a depth that cannot be grasped upon only one or two listens.  There's a good reason why it took nearly two years to complete.  In 25 years when I listen to Queen again for nostalgia purposes, this very well may be the first disc I grab.


"The more generous you are with your music, the more it comes back to you." -- Dan Lampinski



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Posted: 30 Dec 10, 11:46 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

What these reviews fail to realize is that Queen wasn't interested in regaining popularity with Innuendo, they were recording their final album.  I think any serious Queen fan has to appreciate Innuendo for all it is, Freddie's final album.  It's very eerie to think how he crafted everything together, how he said goodbye on Days of Our Lives, etc.  I think the band sounds better than ever on this album.  It only makes me sad to think how they would sound today if Freddie were still alive.

I personally like their last two albums, The Miracle and Innuendo.  Innuendo is a musical masterpiece (and I do have a degree in music education)!

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Posted: 30 Dec 10, 11:57 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Beauty lies in the eye of the beholder...

I think it;s a great album.

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Posted: 30 Dec 10, 14:04 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

I think it was their best album since ADATR and a wonderful swan song from Freddie. At first I couldn't really get into The Hitman but it grew on me and I like it very much now. The one sad thing about the album to me is 'Delilah', but I think it definatly belongs on there to clear the dark sad mood created by the previous songs and make you ready for more sadness to come. It's a piece of comic relief and I think it helps the record along.

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Posted: 30 Dec 10, 14:12 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Cant blame the critics.

Didnt we all understand the album better after His death?

Love the album from the start......

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Posted: 30 Dec 10, 15:40 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Heard the album at least 10 years after it was released.

BUT as a general rule of thumb... critics are people who say but can't do. and DON'T do... therefore you can glean what you want from a review... but often times it's a critics blatant way of being self important and verbose...

I've noticed that Rolling Stone (USA) is currently pandering to "artists" like Taylor Swift in it's THOROUGHLY GREAT coverage of her "GREAT, NEWEST WORK"... so obviously "taste" has something to do with public consumption and trends (as well as outright numbers)

Consider that Queen really didn't stick with conventional music and were glaringly different (exceptions being so called plagiarized themes on "Just Keep Passing the Open Windows" and Breakthru... trying to emulate other works' "feel") from conventional bands....MOR rock... like "Bad Company" (not that they were big during INNUENDO)...and that they frequently got backlash for being different like that.

Also consider that popular music in USA at the time (i'm not sure of British music...as a general rule of thumb.. what's big here is big THERE 10 years later) .... was "grunge rock" etc... so... it's safe to say that it was taken in the light of all that.

response to another post: I LOVE "All Gods People"...AND "delilah"... i think they're spiritual (although it IS a complex arrangement and not appreciated by many people probably because of that) and hilarious/heartfelt, respectively.

The whole album has that sense of epic/eeriness to it... maybe part of the mixing and mastering or really... just the strength of the songs..

IMO the weakest are probably "I Can't Live With You" and Headlong (which felt like a take on a vibe from the band THE CULT)


"Come tonight! Come to the Overbite! Come See Freddie rock Toniiiiight!"
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Posted: 30 Dec 10, 15:57 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Didnt we all understand the album better after His death?
Love the album from the start......
<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<

The rumours of Freddie suffering from AIDS were already around when the album was released. And the fact that their 3D video for "Innuendo" was cut from archive material added more credibility to those rumours. So I think many "understood" the album from the days of release....

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Posted: 30 Dec 10, 18:40 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

I bought the album on day of release.  I had bought a few weeks before the cassette single of "Headlong" and was pretty excited to hear the whole album,

I was FLOORED by it.  Dark, with tons of gravity...I instantly thought it was their most artistic statement since ADATR and best overall album since NOTW/Jazz/The Game.

As an American, I had NO IDEA about Freddie's health until the day before his death with his worldwide press release(my mom phoned me while I was at college).

Tracks like Innuendo, IGSM, Don't Try So Hard and Ride The Wild Wind instantly stuck with me and made me feel like Queen were entering a new phase of excellent artistry.

Innuendo is a masterpiece EVEN IF you DON'T know about the heroic fight for life that Freddie was going through.  Subsequently, having that knowledge, the album is even that much stronger.

Like I've stated before...Innuendo stands shoulder-to-shoulder with their great '70's works.

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Posted: 30 Dec 10, 22:47 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Innuendo is a great album. Ranks among their very best.


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Posted: 30 Dec 10, 23:14 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Very good album, but IGSM, Delilah and Hitman wouldn't have been B-sides on first 6 albums, let alone made the album.  All God's People is great musically and vocally, but ultimately ridiculous.  Good songs are very good, not so good songs are tons worse than songs on the first albums that may have been considered weaker tracks.  IMHO.

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Posted: 31 Dec 10, 00:41 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

I think it's an amazingly good piece of work for a band 20 years into their career.... a collection of fine songs, mixed with some mediocre ones, and some worse like Delilah (I am among the most forgiving, longsuffering Queen fans out there - i find moments of genius on Hot Space for crapping out loud)... but overall:

imho, Innuendo suffers from dated production and mastering, and just sounds flat and small today, save The Show Must Go On and perhaps Innuendo.  TATDOOL on the Singles Collection 4 (say what you will) sounds BIG and present... everything i wanted it to.  ICLWY (rocks re-take) shows what a little revisiting can accomplish.  Hitman SHOULD be a punch-in-the-face rocker, but it sounds like AM radio.  The whole record needs some delicate EQing and compression in re-mastering.  It's too passionate not to be punchy.

In terms of songwriting, it's closer to the top of their work than the middle or bottom, for sure.  I find myself more forgiving of its quality simply as i am aware of the circumstances and realities of the band members, tho i know that's not the angle the original poster wanted this to be about... for me, it's an integral part of experiencing the album: awareness that Freddie was running out of time and knew it.

one of my favorites...


Joseph A. Silvey
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Posted: 31 Dec 10, 02:54 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

I like it

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Posted: 31 Dec 10, 07:05 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

I heard the full Innuendo album for the first time in 1996 and it was an absolutely unforgettable experience.  I was so excited , refreshed and exhilarated by the album, the music and especially Freddie's voice that I had goosebumps!  The hairs on the back on my neck completely stood on end, I was so charged it took me ages to actually get to sleep afterwards.  It really was an emotionally charging bit of listening for me, I literally couldn't get it out of my head.  Still get the same sensations from it today.  Admittedly, not so keen on The Hitman or All God's People anymore, but the LP takes me through a full range of emotions, from being pumped up by the title track, actually feeling the imagery of I'm Going Slightly Mad, the pain of The Show Must Go On and I still cry at Days Of Our Lives.  I've never actually made it through that song without the tears streaming from my eyes.  Don't Try So Hard is a roller-coaster in itself and a real stand out vocally - and Delilah is a real belly-laugh, IMHO.  Agreed about the Rocks version of ICLWY from '97, but overall, Innuendo is one of my favourite albums.  Can you tell?


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Posted: 31 Dec 10, 11:07 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

"MmP 
I like HotSpace FunIt &Delilah"

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Posted: 31 Dec 10, 12:01 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

I think that the reviews are very typical and irrelevant in many ways really.  Queen were a big band (a la genesis for example) that no one was, press wise anyway, interested in.  But i think thats the same with most artists with longevity.  Initial great press turning into utter ambivalence. Oh what was the question again??  Ahh yes, Innuendo is just brilliant.  The overall tone of the album is wonderful.

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Posted: 31 Dec 10, 18:25 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Have the critics EVER been objective when it came to Queen? Nope, I don't think so.

To me this album is the real "sequel" to ANATO (and not ADATR). This album was a return to the 70s form, but at the same time it sounded very much "of its time" - fresh and new and exciting. Amazing piece of work. Easily one of their top 3 albums in my list.

V.


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