Forums > Queen - Serious Discussion > Lester's Album Discussion Thread - "Hot Space"

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Lester Burnham user not visiting Queenzone.com

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Posted: 07 Aug 06, 20:50 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Guess what... it's time. The album you were all waiting for, I'm sure.

First, da rools:


1. If you don't own the album, do not contribute. I want this to be a discussion, and posts by somebody saying only "I like 'Keep Yourself Alive' on Classic Queen, is that on this album?" or something to that nature contributes nothing to the discussion.

2. As most people have been quick to jump down the throats of foreign posters about their English, I can only ask that those not familiar with the language do their best. For those who speak English as their first language, there really is no excuse. Try to formulate your thoughts so that everyone can enjoy them. No speaking in tongues, please.

3. You don't need to like the album - these aren't appreciation threads, these are discussion threads. If you don't like the album, don't be afraid to say so! Everyone should be responsive to constructive criticism, so if the album isn't one of your favorites, explain why in a decent manner instead of just saying, "This album sucks because of X song"

3a. Disagreements are encouraged. Well, okay... not exactly encouraged, but don't be afraid to disagree with someone as long as you disagree in a dignified manner.

BAD:
Poster A: "'The Kiss' is probably my favorite song off the album."
Poster B: "WHAT?! 'THE KISS' IS ABSOLUTELY THE WORST SONG RELEASED BY QUEEN! YOU SHOULD KNOW THAT, YOU JACKASS! ANYONE WHO LIKES 'THE KISS' LIKES BOILS ON THEIR FACE AND BEING TORTURED BY TOADS BITING THEIR FINGERNAILS! A POX ON YOUR FAMILY AND ANYTHING YOU SHOULD SPAWN, YOU HEATHEN!"
Poster A: "..."

GOOD:
Poster A: "'The Kiss' is probably my favorite song off the album."
Poster B: "It's not that great, in my opinion, but what do you like about it?"
Poster A: "I like the segue from 'Execution Of Flash' and the orchestration. Freddie's vocalisations are just great."
Poster B: "Hmm. That's exactly what I don't like about it."

*Posters A and B share a beer and become best friends*

4. NO NUMERICAL RATINGS, PLEASE!!! Discussion threads do not equal giving something a grade. If this was called "Let's rate the albums", that would be different, but I want people to discuss the albums. There's no point in listing your favorite songs without giving some kind of insight.

5. These will be posted whenever I damn well please. I know I initially said every two weeks, but sometimes inspiration strikes and you gotta post, man. Or sometimes I get so damn busy, I'll just forget about it and all that.

6. For other discussion threads, check out:
Queen (first album): http://www.queenzone.com/queenzone/forumnew/forum_topic_view.aspx?Q=569759
Queen II: http://www.queenzone.com/queenzone/forumnew/forum_topic_view.aspx?Q=587802
Brian May's solo albums: http://www.queenzone.com/queenzone/forumnew/forum_topic_view.aspx?Q=575007
Sheer Heart Attack: http://www.queenzone.com/queenzone/forumnew/forum_topic_view.aspx?Q=648592
A Day At The Races: http://www.queenzone.com/queenzone/forumnew/forum_topic_view.aspx?Q=670647
News Of The World: http://www.queenzone.com/queenzone/forumnew/forum_topic_view.aspx?Q=684170
Jazz: http://www.queenzone.com/queenzone/forumnew/forum_topic_view.aspx?Q=687482
The Game: http://www.queenzone.com/queenzone/forumnew/forum_topic_view.aspx?Q=839968
Flash Gordon: http://www.queenzone.com/queenzone/forumnew/forum_topic_view.aspx?Q=842874


No sense in delaying it any further. Have at it!

Lester Burnham user not visiting Queenzone.com

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Posted: 07 Aug 06, 20:59 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Let me start off by saying that I love when Queen experiments. It's what they were known for, right? For taking the bull by the horns and seeing what direction it took them. This experiment... didn't quite work out.

But, with that in mind, I really dig Hot Space. Not as much as I love their first six albums, but this was the last album, Innuendo excepted, that the band were really willing to try something new. Not to discount The Works, A Kind Of Magic, or The Miracle, but there's nothing as daring or untried on those albums as there was before.

The only two songs that I truly cannot stand are 'Staying Power' (works better live) and 'Body Language' (I cannot, for the life of me, figure out why this was deemed a good song to release as the first single from the album). Every other song has at least some redeeming qualities: 'Dancer' has a series of excellent guitar solos; 'Back Chat' is a fiery amalgamation of funk and rock; 'Action This Day' is one of the more successful attempts at a dance-oriented number; 'Put Out The Fire' is a reminder that Queen could still rock out; 'Life Is Real' and 'Las Palabras' are the traditional Queen ballads; 'Calling All Girls' is a great new wave rocker; and 'Cool Cat' is the most out-and-out slice of funk that would ever grace a Queen album.

So where did it go wrong (apart from 'Staying Power' and 'Body Language', of course)? I blame the production: gone were real instruments like drums, basses, and guitars; in their places were drum machines and synthesizers, pushing Roger and Brian to the background. Only on a few songs does Brian really get a chance to let 'er rip, while drum machines dominate at least six of the eleven songs. If they had managed to make all of the songs sound at least like 'Dragon Attack' or 'Another One Bites The Dust' from The Game, then the album wouldn't have received quite a thrashing as it inevitably received.

The one complaint I have is the inclusion of 'Under Pressure': don't get me wrong, it's a great song, but I'm never an advocate of including a single that was released over six months prior to an LP on an album. It seems like too easy of a cash-in, and I can't help but wonder what songs DIDN'T make it because of 'Under Pressure'. Queen did it with The Game ('Crazy Little Thing' and 'Save Me') and would do it again with A Kind Of Magic ('One Vision').

It was a not so welcome departure for Queen, and the fans hated it. But it didn't completely destroy Queen's reputation; their 1982 world tour was a snarling reminder that the band could still rock, and even America was convinced (which mattered at the time).

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Posted: 08 Aug 06, 01:48 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

I like most of the songs on HS, I agree Body language should have never been released as a single, once again proving freddie was in fact the leader of queen. I like staying power, but could have been a bit better with improved lyrics and added guitar. cool cat I always loved, it's one of my favorite vocal tracks from freddie. Hot space obviously wasn't queens best, but it didn't deserve the bashing it got and still gets to this day.

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Posted: 08 Aug 06, 04:44 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

I was always under the impression that Hot Space sucked. This basically came from me first getting into Queen when I saw the edited Live At Wembley on the TV. My dad was a Queen fan, and I watched Wembley and was blown away. Only just starting out then as a music fan, I played 'Live Magic', and 'The Game', 'The Works' and 'A Kind Of Magic' and ignored the other releases at the time, because they didn't sound like what I thought was Queen. I avoided 'Hot Space' because I was told it was rubbish.

Years on, now heavily into music and working as a music journalist, I can listen to the albums with a mature view of my own, rather than that of a awestruck, impressionable child. 'Hot Space' is not the best Queen album but I certainly don't think it's the worst. I have all the Queen albums and I play 'Hot Space' a lot. For me it examplifies Queen's ability to adapt and experiment with a variety of genres. Nobody expected them to dabble with funk and disco, but they did, and for me, they did it rather well.

I think the rather dated production disguises some brilliant songs. I like 'Staying Power', but the live version at Milton Keynes is just phenomenal. 'Dancer' I've always loved, for the mix of Freddie's falsetto vocal, Brian's solos and the hook filled chorus. 'Put Out The Fire' is a much underrated Queen rocker with a great vocal from Freddie, and 'Calling All Girls' has a great foot tapping quality to it. There are some tracks that are not so good - 'Body Language' would be better suited in the background of some 80's film, and I can't get on with 'Cool Cat'. But that's only two songs on a full album.

Live these songs really smoked. As I mentioned, 'Staying Power' is awesome, and 'Action This Day' live is a pounding rocker with hard edged vocals, unlike it's studio counterpart. Sadly though, 'Under Pressure' is the only track to be repeatedly aired, although that benefits live from the lack of Bowie, whose voice I never could stand.

The gem on the album for me though is 'Las Palabras De Amour'. An absolutely stunning ballad from Brian, sung superbly by Freddie, and featuring some glorious guitar work from the composer.

I like 'Hot Space' a great deal, and I think the Milton Keynes show helped highlight that some of the songs were really rather good. It's just the production and feel of things that was suitable at the time, but very dated now, that lets it down.

JG

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Posted: 08 Aug 06, 05:24 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

I agree with Lester: if this album, production wise, were similar to The Game, it was have been an absolute rocker of an album.

Imagine how a studio version of Staying Power, Action This Day or Back Chat would sound given how amazing they are live with just the raw instruments and some cheesy synth over the top?! For me, the live and slightly pacier versions of Back Chat Queen do are among their live high-lights for me.

Anyway, I have always liked Hot Space, although it was quite a departure from the Queen I was used to (and I prefer the earlier, heavier Queen anyway). That said, if Hot Space had perhaps been an album performed by an act know more for this genre, I think it's fair to say that perhaps the album would have received far better reviews.

My only complaint, other than programed drums and bass (and Body Language...), is that Under Pressure does seem like the odd song out, almost as if it was just dolloped on the end of the album. Would it have been so hard to have left it as purely a single? Perhaps we'll just never know.


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Posted: 08 Aug 06, 06:29 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

There are a few songs on Hot Space which I really like: Staying Power, Under Pressure, Put Out The Fire, Las Palabras... The rest is not as good, but I appreciate the fact that the band tried some new sounds. It's much more interesting than A Kind Of Magic or even Jazz.

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

Here's a nice review of the album :


Following their massively successful 1980 album The Game, Queen’s Hot Space is often considered a failed attempt to exploit the dance market they reached with "Another One Bites The Dust". While it sunk commercially (at least in the states), I'd argue that artistically it ranks amongst their highest achievements. The credit for this should go to singer Freddie Mercury's moustache. Everyone forgets that while Freddie cut his long hair between Jazz—their tired, final album of the '70s—and The Game, it wasn't until Hot Space that an album cover featured that flaming handlebar. The new look was so inspiring that he was offering five cent rides to everyone in earshot; side one of Hot Space is the closest he ever got to being a true disco diva.

The album opens with "Staying Power", an electro-disco track with frenetic horns (courtesy of Bee Gees/Aretha Franklin producer Arif Mardin) and Mercury prancing around screaming "Fire down below! I'm just a regular dynamo!" and "Blow, baby, blow! Let's get down and go-go!" The tinny vigor is almost frighteningly flamboyant. “Dancer” is recommended to any Led Zeppelin fan who wonders where the band would have gone after In Through The Out Door. An insistent synth-thump pulses beneath Mercury as works himself into a bubbly boil before Queen's trademark operatic background vocals and harsh guitars crash through the chorus. The Brian May-penned track features a searing, searing solo that makes it rank with the finest disco-metal; it thrusts like Led Zep's "The Ocean," but with a pop crassness that Zep never got close to achieving (though Robert Plant made some strong attempts in his solo material). Where the vocals used to be evenly split between the singers in the ‘70s, Mercury was now commanding every track and THANK GOD. May and Taylor's voices weren't bad per se, but I'm glad they realized that if you've got the opportunity to let FREDDIE MERCURY sing your song, you should let him. The unhinged joy heard in that man’s delivery, as he demands we “WORK IT! WORK IT! WORK IT!” is unparalleled.

The next shoulda-been-a-single is "Back Chat", by bassist John Deacon. What could have been just another anti-player-hater anthem is made brilliant by Mercury's slathering anguish (note all the sounds he makes between the lyrics) and the swanky snap of the music, which would been a boon to any album by Roxy Music or ABC. Following all these Fantasy-World top ten hits is "Body Language", which did actually make the U.S. top 20, despite consisting merely of a loping shuffle, some spacey keyboards and Freddie screaming “GIVE ME YOUR BODY! SEXY BOD-AY!” It's lots of fun (I enjoy those weird firecracker sound effects), but lacks the weight of the earlier tracks. “Action This Day” is yet another enthusiastic marvel.

Unfortunately, side two is the usual pompous if intermittently rewarding Queen material fans should be used to. You get two overblown, incoherent May anthems concerning gun control and the Falklands War and Taylor-via-Mercury telling children to spread the message of love (will do, buddy). You also get Mercury's oddball tribute to John Lennon that reads like nonsense ("Music will be my mistress / Laughing like a whore / Lennon is a genius / Living in ev'ry pore / Life is real / Life is real") but is performed like a last will and testament over a plinking piano that I hope someone’s rapped over by now and "Cool Cat", which is a supper-club sequel to "Dancer" with Mercury shamelessly shrieking away in his highest register.

Worried about whether their audience could handle their new vibe, the band tacked "Under Pressure”, their hit collaboration with David Bowie onto the end of the album, despite including the single a year before on their original Greatest Hits LP. That’s fine with me, seeing how "Under Pressure" is the best song o

Lester Burnham user not visiting Queenzone.com

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Posted: 08 Aug 06, 08:41 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

The point of these threads isn't to discuss what other people have said about the albums, but your own thoughts and feelings about them.

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Posted: 08 Aug 06, 09:30 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

I like the album, it's well done. Many people think that it's so easy to make a synth (even an analogue one) do the dirty work, or to programme a drum machine, but that's wrong. Synth work in 'Action' is immaculate, 'Life Is Real' too, and the arrangement of 'Las Palabras' for acoustic & electric guitars, piano & synths is perfect.

'Put Out The Fire' has some nice lyrics and I love the solos (percussion & guitar) of 'Back Chat' as well as the alternate use of Strats and Teles for the riff. It's a very simple composition but it's well produced and you can tell they did put effort working on that.

I like the beat in 'Dancer', it's quite similar to Jacko's 'Billy Jean', a song I've always loved.

Having said that, I hate 'Body Language', I think putting 'Under Pressure' there was a desperate attempt to ensure the album's sales, and 'Cool Cat' could have been sung a million times better.

And I would've preferred 'Las Palabras' with Brian's voice, or one verse by each one and the last in two-part a la Simon & Garfunkel or Lennon & McCartney.


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: 08 Aug 06, 09:44 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

I just want to put that I bought 'Hot Space' yesterday and I love it. I had already heard all the songs but you get a lot more detail on the album. My favourites on there are 'Action This Day, 'Cool Cat' and 'Life is Real'.

It's a brilliant album.


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*(UPDATED 06/05/08)*
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Posted: 08 Aug 06, 10:14 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Lester Burnham wrote:

Guess what... it's time. The album you were all waiting for, I'm sure.

First, da rools:


1. If you don't own the album, do not contribute. I want this to be a discussion, and posts by somebody saying only "I like 'Keep Yourself Alive' on Classic Queen, is that on this album?" or something to that nature contributes nothing to the discussion.

2. As most people have been quick to jump down the throats of foreign posters about their English, I can only ask that those not familiar with the language do their best. For those who speak English as their first language, there really is no excuse. Try to formulate your thoughts so that everyone can enjoy them. No speaking in tongues, please.

3. You don't need to like the album - these aren't appreciation threads, these are discussion threads. If you don't like the album, don't be afraid to say so! Everyone should be responsive to constructive criticism, so if the album isn't one of your favorites, explain why in a decent manner instead of just saying, "This album sucks because of X song"

3a. Disagreements are encouraged. Well, okay... not exactly encouraged, but don't be afraid to disagree with someone as long as you disagree in a dignified manner.

BAD:
Poster A: "'The Kiss' is probably my favorite song off the album."
Poster B: "WHAT?! 'THE KISS' IS ABSOLUTELY THE WORST SONG RELEASED BY QUEEN! YOU SHOULD KNOW THAT, YOU JACKASS! ANYONE WHO LIKES 'THE KISS' LIKES BOILS ON THEIR FACE AND BEING TORTURED BY TOADS BITING THEIR FINGERNAILS! A POX ON YOUR FAMILY AND ANYTHING YOU SHOULD SPAWN, YOU HEATHEN!"
Poster A: "..."

GOOD:
Poster A: "'The Kiss' is probably my favorite song off the album."
Poster B: "It's not that great, in my opinion, but what do you like about it?"
Poster A: "I like the segue from 'Execution Of Flash' and the orchestration. Freddie's vocalisations are just great."
Poster B: "Hmm. That's exactly what I don't like about it."

*Posters A and B share a beer and become best friends*

4. NO NUMERICAL RATINGS, PLEASE!!! Discussion threads do not equal giving something a grade. If this was called "Let's rate the albums", that would be different, but I want people to discuss the albums. There's no point in listing your favorite songs without giving some kind of insight.

5. These will be posted whenever I damn well please. I know I initially said every two weeks, but sometimes inspiration strikes and you gotta post, man. Or sometimes I get so damn busy, I'll just forget about it and all that.

6. For other discussion threads, check out:
Queen (first album): http://www.queenzone.com/queenzone/forumnew/forum_topic_view.aspx?Q=569759
Queen II: http://www.queenzone.com/queenzone/forumnew/forum_topic_view.aspx?Q=587802
Brian May's solo albums: http://www.queenzone.com/queenzone/forumnew/forum_topic_view.aspx?Q=575007
Sheer Heart Attack: http://www.queenzone.com/queenzone/forumnew/forum_topic_view.aspx?Q=648592
A Day At The Races: http://www.queenzone.com/queenzone/forumnew/forum_topic_view.aspx?Q=670647
News Of The World: http://www.queenzone.com/queenzone/forumnew/forum_topic_view.aspx?Q=684170
Jazz: http://www.queenzone.com/queenzone/forumnew/forum_topic_view.aspx?Q=687482
The Game: http://www.queenzone.com/queenzone/forumnew/forum_topic_view.aspx?Q=839968
Flash Gordon: http://www.queenzone.com/queenzone/forumnew/forum_topic_view.aspx?Q=842874


No sense in delaying it any further. Have at it!


Music is for the ears...what is the sense of these discussions?


Lester Burnham user not visiting Queenzone.com

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Posted: 08 Aug 06, 10:23 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

radio_what's_new wrote:

Music is for the ears...what is the sense of these discussions?


What's the point in being on a message board? What's the point in life? What's the point in a peanut butter and jelly sandwich?

Benn user not visiting Queenzone.com

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

Hot Space is a GREAT *QUEEN* album.

It's their last attempt to do something out of the ordinary - a final stab at stepping out of the tired and boring formula of the traditional rock band.

After Hot Space, Queen became a pawn of EMI an did NOTHING but churn out singles that did well, but rpovided albums that really didn't stretch any boundaries of performance, composition or creativity.

The live shows too showcased JUST how strong the music was when stripped down - just take a look at "Staying Power" from "Live At The Bowl". Full of power and true Queen rock and roll. The US shows were great in this style too, although the shows in Japan, for me, saw Queen using a far more processed sound that earlier in the year. This was the sound that was to then pretty much destroy Brian's faith later in 1984 & 5; drum machines and synthesisers all over the top of the guitar.

In many ways, I wish Queen had disbanded in 1983 for good. Brian wanted to carry on playing hard guitar, Roger had the beginnings of a very successful solo career and Freddie would STILL have been Freddie and successful in his own right.

Hot Space was the end of Queen as a force in the direction of rock music IMHO.


Benn
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Posted: 08 Aug 06, 13:07 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Ah, if they'd only continued the trend, instead of trying to go backwards with Works, Magic, Innuendo, etc...

If you ask me, Freddie saw what was coming. Dance Music. Big time. He was about 10 years ahead of time, but he knew where the music business was headed.

Hot Space is one of the best Queen albums. You don't have to have 28 guitar solos, but a well placed one, such as Back Chat, can go on to be one of the best ever.

If you don't like Cool Cat, then you never "got" Freddie. Emotionally, I think it's one of his finest performances. Falsetto is not an easy thing, and before this song, who knew he could do that? I sure didn't!!!

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Posted: 08 Aug 06, 13:14 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

I don't think Queen recovered from the general reaction and lack of success of Hot Space until Innuendo....having said that I don't believe it was the end of them as a rock force, perhaps a more accurate statement would be that on the next 3 albums there was only 1 or 2 rock songs on each...

Anyways, to the album itself. I grew up listening to Hot Space and I've always have had an affection for it....the album is split in two halves; the first 5 songs being the Disco/Funk side, the last 5 (and Under Pressure tagged on at the end) being the more traditional Queen rock/ballad sounding side.

I do think all the songs that were played live, sound better live and if the demo versions of Side A had been replicated onto the album proper maybe Hot Space would not have gained the consensus it did.

I agree with the comments about the synthesizers and the drum machines but one thing to note about the album is that in the sessions, material that had sounded like they had done previously was discarded....which looking at the next album makes a big statement indeed.

Anyways, it was an experiment for Queen - it didn't come off but proved popular in America and the subsequent tour was one of their best ever, in my opinion.





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Posted: 08 Aug 06, 13:15 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Sorry but Innuendo is a fantastic album. Way better than Hot Space.

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Posted: 08 Aug 06, 13:25 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

PieterMC wrote:

Sorry but Innuendo is a fantastic album. Way better than Hot Space.


Please!

Innuendo, while a great song, is no Bohemian Rhapsody.

Hitman? Bijou? Delialah? Headlong? God's People?
This is cheese, plain and simple. I felt sorry for them upon hearing the album from Headlong until Show. When I heard Show, I knew this was it for Freddie and understood why the other songs were so weak compared to other albums/songs.

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Posted: 08 Aug 06, 13:37 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Lester Burnham wrote:

radio_what's_new wrote:

Music is for the ears...what is the sense of these discussions?


What's the point in being on a message board? What's the point in life? What's the point in a peanut butter and jelly sandwich?


You are not answering my question..instead of an answer you are returning with silly questions....


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Posted: 08 Aug 06, 14:10 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

radio_what's_new wrote:

You are not answering my question..instead of an answer you are returning with silly questions....


They are silly answers for a silly question. The point of these threads is to get people talking about the albums, to really appreciate what Queen had done. I know that after reading some of these threads and what people have said, I've thought to myself, "Hmm, maybe so-and-so was right about this track, I'll give it another listen" and, upon doing that, I discovered something that I hadn't heard in years.

Queen's music is meant for the ears, yes, but it's also meant to be talked about. Besides, what fun would it be if all we talked about were hypotheticals like "What if Freddie was a flying horse"? If anything, you should ask your questions there instead of here; at least with these threads, I'm trying to bring about some intelligent conversation to the boards.

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Posted: 08 Aug 06, 14:32 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Lester Burnham wrote:

radio_what's_new wrote:

You are not answering my question..instead of an answer you are returning with silly questions....


They are silly answers for a silly question. The point of these threads is to get people talking about the albums, to really appreciate what Queen had done. I know that after reading some of these threads and what people have said, I've thought to myself, "Hmm, maybe so-and-so was right about this track, I'll give it another listen" and, upon doing that, I discovered something that I hadn't heard in years.

Queen's music is meant for the ears, yes, but it's also meant to be talked about. Besides, what fun would it be if all we talked about were hypotheticals like "What if Freddie was a flying horse"? If anything, you should ask your questions there instead of here; at least with these threads, I'm trying to bring about some intelligent conversation to the boards.


Thanks for your answer.