A-Z: Queen

Ah, I had a nice long sleep and feel much more alive today. You know when you’ve been busy and stressed and the adrenaline’s going and then suddenly you stop and relax and you feel like crap? Yeah that was me yesterday. I’m planning to have another fairly chilled out day today though – just enjoy the weekend. Then on Monday – Thursday I will have to become super getting-organised person. Am off to Italy on Friday, so need to be all sorted for that (getting some Euros would probably be a good plan), but also need to get as sorted as possible for moving house. I’ll only have 9 days after I get back from Italy and I’ll be back at work for 5 of those, so need to sort out transfer of bills and all that crap (plus packing might be a good idea). Am so relieved to have found somewhere though, even if I’m going through the whole ‘is it the right place?’ thing. It mightn’t be perfect and I’m sure I’ll have qualms with it, but it’s gotta be better for me than this place is at the moment. I freaked out last night when I thought I saw a mouse run behind my George Foreman grill. It was out of the corner of my eye, but I really thought I saw something. I’m generally quite paranoid about seeing things moving at the moment, so it’s not unusual for me to think I see something, to swing my head round and realise there’s nothing there. However in this case it was enough to freak me out. I needed to know for sure so was banging plates and stuff to try and disturb it and get it to move. Eventually I plucked up the courage to actually close the lid of the George Foreman so I could see if there was anything behind it. There wasn’t. It must have been the combination of the black power lead coming out the back of the grill, plus the movement of some reflection on my glasses caused by the light coming down from the skylight that made my brain add in rodent information that just wasn’t there. Argh!!!! Although I was quite relieved that it was just me going slowly insane, rather than an actual mouse. But yeah, I need to get out of this place. I’m also *really* looking forward to the savings in rent. Although the new place might be rougher round the edges and I mightn’t be able to have a washing machine and I’ll no longer have the luxury of my own personal entrance (so will have to get dressed before checking the post again – meh), I’ll be saving over £100 a month. I can put up with a few niggles for that. I’ll actually be able to go out and do things and buy CDs and go visit people without feeling guilty and slowly eating further and further into my overdraft! Luxury!!!

Anyway, A-Z time. Onto Queen! Looking forward to this. Queen were my first ever proper favourite band. It was the re-release of Bohemian Rhapsody in 1991/1992 (so when I was 11) that introduced me to them and got me interested. I had it on a Now compilation cassette and played it loads. I then remember hearing the Greatest Hits played on a coach on the way back to school after a school trip and thinking ‘wow, this is great, I need to listen to more Queen!’. Happily my Mum actually had the Greatest Hits on CD, so I borrowed it from her. Well, I should probably say ‘stole’ really, as I’ve still got it!! I think she might even have bought herself another copy now!! I played the Greatest Hits endlessly and naturally wanted more. My Mum suggested ‘A Night At The Opera’ as being a good album to get, as it’s one she had on vinyl (which amazingly I haven’t stolen!!). She suggested putting it on my birthday/christmas list (whichever was coming up) and she then bought it for me. Thus began my obsession with Queen and my slow collection of their albums over successive birthdays, christmases and whenever I might have had some money to spend. They were my favourite band from the age of about 12/13, up until I was 18/19 and had to concede that Catatonia had usurped them. Basically they were the soundtrack to my teenage years! I still listen to them a lot and they’ll always be one of my favourite bands. I don’t think I’ve ever listened to all of their albums chronologically and in something approaching succession, so I’m rather looking forward to this. It’ll be good to get a better idea of how the music progressed chronologically, as I got the albums in a fairly random order. So here goes…

Queen – Queen (album)
The first Queen album, but one I didn’t personally get until quite near the end of my collection. It was a bit of a strange one in that I seemed to play the first few songs *loads*, but would hardly ever listen to the second half of the album. Not sure why really, although the first few songs probably are the best to be honest!
‘Keep Yourself Alive’ – Brilliant song. I think before I got the first two albums I was a little worried that their early stuff mightn’t be as good as some of the later stuff I was used to – as a young person I kinda assumed that surely bands must get better as they go on, as that’s logical no? Obviously I now realise that’s not necessarily the case! And in the case of Queen, their weakest stuff’s definitely not their early stuff. Not that it’s their later stuff either – I’d personally say it’s some of the middle stuff. *ahem*Hot Space*ahem* He he. Nah, it’s not that any of their albums are bad actually, it’s more the case of just a few ropey songs, which is a pretty impressive track record.
The opening 4 here of ‘Keep Yourself Alive’, ‘Doing All Right’, ‘Great King Rat’ and ‘My Fairy King’ is just brilliant! Anything that follows that is going to struggle, so no wonder I didn’t listen to the rest of the album much. All 4 tracks are pretty varied in style and tempo within the songs and are great to sing along to and with great bits of guitar and great harmonies and overlapping vocals and just, ah, it’s Queen!! It’s fab.
‘Great King Rat’ – I’ve always loved “every second word he swore, yes he was the son of a whore”. ‘Whore’ is just a great word isn’t it?
‘Liar’ – Actually I think I listened to this one quite a bit too. It continues the fabness. And I’m actually quite surprised it runs to over 6 minutes long. It’s because the song changes quite a bit during the duration of it. I love songs that do that! It’s why I love Mansun’s ‘Six’ so much and why ‘Tears From A Willow’ made me fall in love with Ooberman.
‘The Night Comes Down’ – Ah the first of the ones I didn’t listen to so much. I think it must have been because it’s more of a subtle song really. More chilled. I appreciate it more now – not that I ever disliked it.
‘Modern Times Rock ‘N’ Roll’ – Ah one of Roger’s rock-out songs. A lot of those took a while to grow on me. This one’s never been one of my favourites really – the only lyrics I know are the ‘modern times rock ‘n’ roll’ bit! I still really like it though.
‘Son & Daughter’ – I like the sleazy kinda style of this. Again I appreciate it more now than I did as a teenager.
‘Jesus’ – I remember finding the idea of a song about Jesus quite odd! Yet also finding it disturbingly catchy!!
‘Seven Seas Of Rhye’ – Not the full-length song that will be known by those who just have the Greatest Hits – it’s just an instrumental segment that’s just over a minute long. I’m assuming that’s where the album then originally ended. However, with the CD release comes random bonuses! So next comes the ‘previously unreleased’ track of ‘Mad The Swine’. Now I know I said I didn’t play the second half of the album that much, but I did really love this song! I think I used to skip a few songs and listen to this one. I’ve never really understood what it’s about, but always took it as an extension of ‘Jesus’ in some way, with the walking on water and such like.
To close the album there’s a re-take of ‘Keep Yourself Alive’ and then the ‘1991 Bonus Remix’ of ‘Liar’. I haven’t listened to either of those in years, so am quite looking forward to hearing them now…
‘Keep Yourself Alive (Long Lost Re-Take)’ – Hmm, you can tell this was never really mixed properly – the music’s quite muffled and the vocals are a bit too prominent, though it is quite enjoyable. I love the “do you think you’re better every day?” “no I just think I’m two steps nearer to my grave” bit – both on here and the proper version!
‘Liar (1991 Bonus Remix)’ – Hmm, this just sounds the same but like it’s been recorded in a big hall or something as it’s all echoey. Odd.

Queen – Queen II (album)
I got this album quite a while before I got the first Queen album. It was definitely one of the earlier albums I got. And oh my god I soooo loved this album! Well, I still do. It’s unlike any other album I can think of. It takes you into another world – one with fairies and ogres and er queens! There’s just something magical about it, which totally appealed to my teenage imagination. The songs tell stories and I’d act them out in my bedroom. I’ve always been perfectly happy just spending time by myself in a room listening to music. Hence these blogs I guess!!
‘Procession’ – Wow, I haven’t heard this in years! I haven’t ripped it to MP3 as it’s really just an intro rather than an actual song. But yeah, opening with a procession instantly makes it feel like a grand and magical album. It runs straight into ‘Father To Son’. Most of the songs run into each other actually – another thing I really like in albums (although it makes listening to the individual songs on MP3 a bit odd!). Wow, I’m cranking the sound up. I’d forgotten just how much I love this album. If I don’t type that much it’s because I’m just enjoying the songs!
‘White Queen (As It Began)’ – I love that you get this song and then later you get ‘The March Of The Black Queen’ as it’s polar opposite! As the original album was naturally on vinyl, it was actually divided into a white side and a black side. I’ve never actually had the vinyl and the CD doesn’t distinguish between the 2 sides, however I’ve still always listened to it in that way as it’s just obvious from the music. The start of ‘Ogre Battle’ is very clearly an intro to the second set of songs. So yeah, I’ve always really liked that. It’s a shame really that things like that have been lost with the introduction of CDs and even more so with MP3s.
‘Ogre Battle’ – I feel like I need to say something about this song as it’s always been a favourite on the album, but it’s almost impossible to describe!! I don’t understand anyone who doesn’t like Queen! And people who just have the Greatest Hits and assume those must be the best songs annoy me too. There’s so much genius tucked away on the albums.
‘The Fairy Feller’s Master Stroke’ – Oh my god, this one’s definitely impossible to describe! Although you can probably get a good idea from the title actually. It was my instant favourite on the album and although it’s pretty nuts, I still love it immensely! “Oberon and Titania watched by a harridan, Mab is the Queen and there’s a good apothecary man come to say hello!” Hee. How can you not love lyrics like that? I also once remember asking my parents what ‘quaere’ meant as I couldn’t find it in a dictionary! Ha ha. Presumably it’s an olde worlde way of saying ‘queer’.
‘Nevermore’ – The songs are going too fast – I can’t keep up with my typing! This song’s just over a minute long but it’s so so beautiful and heartbreaking. It follows Fairy Feller brilliantly and how so much emotion’s crammed into 1 minute and 17 seconds I don’t know. The lyric “you send me to the path of nevermore, when you say you didn’t love me any more” just kills me.
‘The March Of The Black Queen’ – This song’s brilliant too! It’s epic and it’s so much fun to sing along to with all the overlapping and really fast lyrics. The lyric “a little nigger sugar” makes me cringe a bit now, but I never read anything into it when I first got the album – I definitely didn’t interpret it as anything racist and I’m sure it wasn’t meant in that way either. Written before the days of political correctness!! You probably couldn’t get away with calling songs ‘White Queen’ and ‘Black Queen’ now!! Sadly.
‘Funny How Love Is’ – This song just makes me smile. It reminds me of The Beatles or something. I love “funny how love is coming home in time for tea”.
‘Seven Seas Of Rhye’ – The full song this time. And the 2nd album running that should really end with this song. However, yet again there are bonus tracks on the CD. You get a b-side and then remixes of Ogre Battle and Seven Seas Of Rhye.
‘See What A Fool I’ve Been’ – The b-side. I really like this song now, but I wasn’t keen on it at all when I first got this album. Rightly I always considered ‘Seven Seas Of Rhye’ as the end of the album. But I do like this now – it’s incredibly camp (“see you later sailor boy!”) and a bit silly and sleazy – but those are all things that generally appeal to me now! *lol*
Interestingly I just looked up both this album and the previous one on Amazon and it looks like they don’t put the random bonus tracks on now – you just get the actual albums. It was clearly just a fad round about 1991 when they were first being released on CD.
‘Ogre Battle (1991 Bonus Remix)’ – I haven’t heard this in years either. These 1991 remixes are seriously odd. I’m quite pleased they’re not on the albums any more! This one sounds really muffled and like there’s loads of feedback. There are some interesting bits to it, but you really shouldn’t mess with songs that are already brilliant!
‘Seven Seas Of Rhye (1991 Bonus Remix)’ – Oh my god this starts with a disco drum beat. That can’t bode well… Oh my god it’s like a casio keyboard remix!! And it’s over 6 minutes long! Oh dear god, this is a pretty awful mangling of a great song. I quite like the random ‘ready Freddie’ bits from ‘Crazy Little Thing Called Love’ that are thrown in, but that’s all it has going for it! I think I actually listened to it quite a bit at the time though. In my defense (and the remix’s defense) it was the early 90s! It was probably really cool at the time.

Queen – Sheer Heart Attack (album)
I often class this as my favourite Queen album these days, though it’s difficult to just choose one to be honest. Lots of them have been my favourites at different times and after just listening to Queen II I’ve remembered why that one was my favourite for so long. So yes, this is one of my favourites! Again it was one that I got fairly early on I think. Happily it’s just the album though and doesn’t have any god awful remixes on the end!!
‘Brighton Rock’ – So many Queen songs are just impossible to try and describe! The part of this song that has vocals on it is quite silly really I suppose, though I love it – lots of falsetto bits as a boy and girl talk to each other about a holiday romance – but then the majority of the song is actually the instrumental bit in the middle. It’s a Brian May guitar tour de force!!! When I went to Silent Disco at The Point a few months ago, this song was actually playing on one of the channels when we collected our headphones. I was mega impressed! Not only was it Queen, but it was a random album track. It was during the incredibly long guitar solo that we tuned in to it and Matthew was like “are there actually any words to this song?”. Ha ha. That totally made my night though. Well, that bit and also when Bohemian Rhapsody came on when I was queueing for the loo and a group of us in the queue, who didn’t even know each other, all started singing along! Queen brings people together!! 😀 Anyway, yes, kudos to whichever DJ played ‘Brighton Rock’ – whether it was John or someone else. Made up for all the modern indie songs that I didn’t know and which all sounded the same to me. I am so getting old!! Other highlights were the 2 Pulp songs, because we all know I still live in the 90s! Anyway, am getting off topic…
‘Killer Queen’ – Classic classic song. I’ve possibly listened to this too much over the years, so I try not to play it too often now, but enjoy it when I do. I love playing it on Guitar Hero too! Ha ha. And I’ve always loved the lyrics and the way they flow. Bits like “and then again incidentally if you’re that way inclined” are so much fun to sing.
‘Tenement Funster’ – Love this song – it’s got a great style to it. Like most Roger songs I think it took a little while to grow on me, but yeah, love it. “Ooh, give me a good guitar and you can say that my hair’s a disgrace”.
‘Flick Of The Wrist’ – Oh my god I was obsessed with this song when I got this album!!! I remember writing “prostitute yourself he says, castrate your human pride” on the folder of my Science book at the time and people thinking I was weird! *lol* Understandably really. Again I try not to listen to this song too often these days, so I enjoy it more when I do. Although having it on MP3 you lose the last word and instead gain it on the beginning of ‘Lily Of The Valley’, so it’s really nice getting to listen to the album as an album and hearing the songs how you’re supposed to hear them (and how I always used to listen to them)!
‘Lily Of The Valley’ – I categorise this along with ‘Nevermore’ in my brain as it’s another very short song that’s just beautiful and makes you want to cry and then you’re suddenly on to the next song. But yeah, love it.
‘Now I’m Here’ – I tend to forget this song’s on this album! I associate it more with the Greatest Hits, just because that’s where I first heard it. Although that’s also where I first heard Killer Queen, yet I still associate that with this album :-/ Anyway, yeah, this was never a favourite on the Greatest Hits – infact it was one of the ones I’d often skip. I like it more now, though it’s still probably my least favourite on this album. Not even sure why.
‘Stone Cold Crazy’ – Another one that took a little while to grow on me – that would often happen with more rocky tracks. I listen to this song quite a lot now though. Love it.
‘Misfire’ – Ah I love this song. And I always forget just how short it is. It’s so catchy and just, I dunno, kinda cute!
‘Bring Back That Leroy Brown’ – Another instant favourite. I don’t listen to it so much these days, maybe partly cos it is a little silly, though I do love that about Queen. It’s pretty kitsch! It makes me want to do the charleston for some reason. Just the rhythm of the music I guess. It’s just really good fun!
‘In The Lap Of The Gods…Revisited’ – The first time I listened to this album I assumed this was going to be an alternate version to ‘In The Lap Of The Gods’, or some kind of reprise, but it’s actually a totally different song. I’ve never been able to choose a favourite either. I really like both in different ways. I love the sing-along way this one ends the album though.

I might leave it there for now. I want to plan out all the outfits I’m gonna wear in Italy, he he he. Holidays are a great opportunity to try out different things and I’ve gotten quite a few new things from Ebay recently. This dress arrived yesterday, which I wasn’t 100% sure about from the photo, but I love it! It fits perfectly and is really flattering. Plus if I wear it with my new bra that I also love, I get amazing cleavage going on! I’m not really used to that though, I tend not to try and be quite so overtly sexy, plus am not sure it’s the right look for my Grandma’s 80th birthday meal (which is when I was planning on wearing it)! However the addition of a necklace might tone down the breastage. Or I could just wear it with a less hoist-them-up-and-squash-them-together bra! I’ll play around with some different looks and maybe take some photos to compare – it’ll keep me entertained this afternoon.

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