Queen - Made in Heaven:
© MELODY MAKER (UK), 18 November 1995, by David Bennun:
Trite Said Fred
In the wake of the dambursting swell of affection following Freddie Mercury's death, a few points about Queen:
1) Dying does not retrospectively make you a better, finer or more useful person.
2) As lifetime cultural missions go, bringing opera to the masses ranks with bringing Tupperware to an Ann Summers party.
3) Opponents of opera protest that it is élitist, a subsidised pursuit for the wealthy and privileged. This is the best thing to be said for it. If the wealthy and privileged wish to inflict opera upon themselves, so be it. It's their money. And ours too, but who's quibbling? I for one am willing to pay to keep opera the hell away from me. I hold Queen personally responsible for having it invade my life, first in the form of their own grotesqueries, which then laid the path for The Three Tenors to waddle along and blight the airwaves.
4) At least The Three Tenors sing opera proper. You can hear it coming, and duck. But operatic rock...what a grisly idea, what a vile Frankenstein's monster of a genre. Operatic rock. Say it to yourself. It leaves a taste on the tongue like onion-flavoured ice-cream, a queasy, unclean sensation on the skin reminiscent of sex in a bathtub full of beef dripping (The secret of your glossy complexion is out! - Beauty Ed).
5) "Bohemian Rhapsody", in particular, is a travesty beyond the bounds of language as we know it.
6) The subsequent works of Queen - and I use the phrase as I would "works of the Devil" - are even more loathsome, sharing the worst-of-both-worlds mix of flatulence and irony that is "Rhapsody", while lacking its distinctive dreadfulness.
7) "Made In Heaven" (I don't want to think about the nuances of that title) sounds exactly like every Queen record since "A Kind Of Magic".
8) Some have called using the pre-recorded voice of the late Mercury on this album necrophilia. Not me. I have no problem with Freddie making records while dead. No greater problem than I had with him making them while he was alive, anyway.
9) In fact, it doesn't seem to have impeded his performance in any way, and it certainly hasn't done sales any harm.
10) Freddie Mercury was not a martyr of any description. He kept schtum on the subject of his illness for ass long as possible, which was entirely his right, but his contribution to the cause of AIDS awareness over his lifetime was absolutely zilch.
© NEW MUSICAL EXPRESS (UK), 18 November 1995, by Stuart Bailie:
AAARRGH! FREDDIE'S BACK!
What really stinks about this enterprise is the way that Freddie Mercury has been painted up as an untouchable, sainted artist. Sure, the fans say, wasn't he the moustachioed supertrooper who sang and danced right up until the end? And wasn't he even benevolent after his death - his throbbing great songs making millions for AIDS research even as we wiped away our tears of loss?
Let's remember him another way for a bit. Let's ignore the lines in his current single - the ones in 'Heaven For Everyone' which find him warbling on about how "this world should be free, this world could be one". Instead let's recall him as the disgusting hypocrite who played the white man's resort of Sun City in South Africa - a place where all men were emphatically not free, where the notion of one world was rejected for the divisive system of apartheid. Thousands of bands across the world swore never to play in a country where such a rotten regime could exist, but not Queen. Good old Freddie, eh?
But that was a while back, and so you look on the lyrics to this album (the press pack even reproduces the author's enfeebled handwriting) for signs of contrition, for a special, parting message. But there's precious little among the off-cuts from dodgy solo albums, some excerpts from onstage banter and a needless re-run of 'I Was Born To Love You
"Guten Morgen, Sie wünschen geweckt zu werden!"