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A Night at the Opera

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★★★★½
(223 Reviews)

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Japanese Version featuring a Limited Edition LP Style Slipcase for Initial Pressing Only.Nothing succeeds like excess–at least that’s the case with Queen’s breakthrough classic, A Night at the Opera. On one level, the title is a reference to the band’s operatic pretensions, best in evidence here on the classic ”Bohemian Rhapsody,” which was championed by headbangers a generation before being revived by the Wayne’s World set. Of course, A Night at the Opera was also the title of a Marx Brothers movie, and the reference isn’t lost on Queen, who seldom scaled the heights of pomprock without a knowing wink. The album is remembered for its meticulously produced bombast, but the truth is that there’s a wide variety of material here, from the gorgeous piano-based ”You’re My Best Friend” and the McCartneyesque ”39” to the music-hall-style ”Lazing on a Sunday Afternoon” and the pedal-to-the-metal rockers ”Death on Two Legs” and ”I’m in Love with My Car.” A Night at the Opera is viewed by most as the quintessential Queen album, and justifiably so. –Daniel Durchholz

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  • When people think of queen, Bohemian Rhapsody must follow. There are 11 great songs on this CD. “Death on Two Legs (dedicated to…)” was written for the band’s old manager who cheated them. It’s powerful and fun to sing along to. “Lazing on a Sunday Afternoon…” is only about 1 minute long, but is contaigious and completely a happy tune. “I’m in Love With my Car” is interesting, because it is sung by Roger Taylor. I think he has a great voice, and I love when he sings. The song is made for any American boy who loves their ride more than their chick! “You’re My Best Friend” was written by John Deacon and is a loving and sweet song. No negative energy in this one! “‘39″ is sung by Brian May, who also has a wonderful voice, very soft. In fact, I’ve never heard John Deacon sing by himself, but the other three band members have fabulous and unique voices. It’s a folky kind of song, with a singable chorus. “Sweet Lady” brings Queen back to their rock roots, with a simple but great guitar lead throughout it. One of my favorite songs on the album is “Seaside Rendezvous”, a chipper and funny song, with great vocals by Freddie. It is a complete riot, but at the same time, so catchy. “The Prophet’s Song”is 8 and 1/2 minutes long, but super powerful! For anyone who loves the queen opera type songs, this will be a fave. “Love of My Life”, is, in my opinion, one of the best love songs written. Freddie’s beautiful angelic voice is enough to make you cry. He is so full of beauty and charisma, and this song proves it. It is a piano ballad, which are always beautiful. “Good Company” is another Brian May song, with great vocals and an interesting choice of words. Not deep at all, but fun to sing to. Last, but certainly not least by any means, the great “Bohemian Rhapsody”. I knew all the words to this song when I was 7, and I didn’t even know who Queen was! But I loved it, and I still love it today. I think it’s great because it is very difficult to know what the song is truly about. Freddie never told the public what the song was about, and I love that, because you can interprit it to fit your own life. This song was made popular because of the SNL classic “Wayne’s World”, and America finally got to hear the song Britain had known about for years. It is one of the best songs in history, and is even in the Guinness Book of World Records for being the most requested song ever. The last 3 songs on the record are the electric guitar version of “God Save the Queen”, and digitally remastered versions of “You’re My Best Friend”, and “I’m in Love with My Car.” This album is probably the best Queen album and is one of my favorites. I should mention I am a 16 year old girl, and my friends all make fun of me, while they’re listening to rap and punk. I don’t care, though, because I love Queen, I love Freddie, Roger, Brian, and John, and QUEEN is the love of my life!!!

    Posted on February 14, 2010 - Permalink - Buy Now
  • While progressive rockers may have been the first to provide significant injections of bombast into rock music, Queen raised bombast to a fine art, and created one of the greatest rock albums in the process of doing so. Though there is bombast, there is beauty too, and Queen proved that a rock album could incorporate a huge diversity of styles and be successful. This album is a critical component of any rock music collection.

    The album opens with the first of three rockers, “Death on Two Legs.” This song has excellent metal poetry that eschews mumbled and garbled lyrics for clarity and evocation. The words contain gems from beginning to end, such as the line “you’re a sewer-rate decaying in a cesspool of pride.” Guitars scream and wail and Queen’s harmonies are sprinkled liberally throughout. Yet this song retains an element of fun and retains a twinkle in its musical eye. The other heavy rocker is an ode to muscle cars. “I’m in Love with My Car” is a perfect cruising song with crunchy guitars and Roger Taylor’s roaring vocal. The two songs are different, but anchor one end of Queen’s musical range. Also included is a 1991 remix of this song. There are a few differences between the songs, but I think I still prefer the original. The third rocker is “Sweet Lady.” This third song is loud and fast paced, but seems less inspired than much of the music on this album.

    After “Death on Two Legs” is the first of three songs that are quirky, fun and kind of clear the aural palate between songs. “Lazing on a Sunday Afternoon” is an ode to the era of flappers and speakeasies. “Seaside Rendezvous” is in a similar vein, and also comes after a rocker. Roger Taylor and Freddie Mercury both do vocal interpretations of instruments that are remarkably effective and fun. The third song in this vein is “Good Company,” which comes after “Love of My Life.” This song has lead vocals by Brian May, along with a ukulele. This song has a musical style more similar to songs of the 1930s, though with sufficient electronic effects to remind you that the song is influenced by that era but could only have been made in this era. For reasons I am unable to explain this song is a perfect lead-in to “Bohemian Rhapsody.”

    “You’re My Best Friend” and “Love of My Life” are two love ballads that show yet another capability of Queen. “You’re My Best Friend” was released as a single backed by the interesting song “‘39″ and reached #16 on the pop singles chart. Freddie Mercury’s vocals provide the emotional kick for this song, and make this song one of Queen’s best. “Love of My Life” falls into a similar vein, and features Brian May playing the harp. This song is also beautiful and emotional, and in many ways is more powerful than “Love of My Life.” In retrospect, I think this song could have been released as a single and would have done well. This version of the CD includes a 1991 remix of “You’re My Best Friend.” I am unable to discern any significant difference between the two versions, and thus the addition is of minimal value.

    There is one song that is hard to categorize. “God Save the Queen” is Brian May’s interpretation of the English anthem. Guitars predominate in this brief piece that somehow is a thank you to the Queen and country.

    Though the remaining three songs are quite different from each other, they share a commonality in that they are among the more experimental tracks on this CD, and being a fan of progressive rock, I think they are among the best tracks on this CD.

    The first of these songs is “‘39.” I have seen many interpretations of this song that combines a flavor of country-rock with several other styles to make a totally unique song. I saw one review compare the style to Paul McCartney, and I see the relationship. I could also see a comparison to the Eagle’s Joe Walsh years. The harmonies also remind me just a little of the Moody Blues.

    The next song in this category is “The Prophet’s Song,” an 8:21 progressive rock masterpiece. Brian May uses a toy koto, an unusual instrument that lends a slight Asian flavor to the introduction. This song also features an a capella vocal by Freddie Mercury that is fascinating and adds to the numerous dimensions of this song that features a rocking end.

    The third song is the bombastic art rock classic “Bohemian Rhapsody.” This phenomenal song can be treated as a parody of glam rock, or it can be considered in the context of a rock group that was unafraid of performing their art as they saw fit. The pseudo operatic elements are wonderful and occasionally eerie and always fascinating. The harmonies are outstanding and wonderfully excessive. If ever a song captured everything good about rock music, this one is it. This song charted the first time in 1976 and reached #9. The second time the song charted was in 1992, when it reached #2. You will have some kind of feeling about this song regardless of whether that reaction is one of awe or distaste, but those us who are fans of Queen and progressive rock usually love this one.

    Queen hit pay dirt with this album, which reached #4 on the Pop Albums chart. This album was easily Queen’s best album, showcasing the talents of four individuals who were able to able to come together and stay together until Freddie Mercury passed away. While Queen had many excellent songs, they had at least one great album, and this was it.

    Posted on February 14, 2010 - Permalink - Buy Now
  • Queen’s album entitled A Night At The Opera remains one of the best rock albums to this day. Thirty one years after it was released on LP, people still snatch this up and Queen displays a strong ability to rock hard and yet be extremely creative in various styles of music as well. This CD proves it.

    The CD opens with the very rockin’ “Death On Two Legs (Dedicated To…).” This song rocks hard and provides a strong beginning for the album. The melody holds your attention and Freddy Mercury’s voice is strong and passionate. Awesome! The CD switches gears fast for a more laid back song entitled “Lazing On A Sunday Afternoon.” The arrangements are strong and Mercury sings this very well.

    Other classic rock songs on this album include “I’m In Love With My Car” which compares a car to a man’s lover; the beautifully arranged pop music ballad called “You’re My Best Friend” and the sweet folk rock tune called “‘39.”

    “Seaside Rendezvous” is one of my favorite songs on this album. Far from being hard classic rock, this song’s arrangement has a very “retro” love ballad melody to it that is also very playful. The playfulness and upbeat melody reminds me of the joys of new love. Excellent!

    No review of A Night A The Opera is complete without mention of the classic rock song “Bohemian Rhapsody.” This song reveals what a young man is thinking after he makes a foolish and impulsive decision to kill someone. The song boasts dramatic operatic vocals and melodies; and I agree with the reviewer who writes that Brian May’s guitar solo during this number is nothing short of mesmerizing. “Bohemian Rhapsody” remains one of the greatest classic rock pieces to this day. It will continue to be one he** of a show stopper for quite some time to come, too.

    Some reviewers write that the two final tracks, which are remixes of “I’m In Love With My Car” and “You’re My Best Friend” are not very different from the original tracks. These reviewers are right. I guess this is a minor disappointment since the rest of the album is practically flawless. Even the brief instrumental rendition of “God Save The Queen” is exciting.

    The liner notes contain the full lyrics and great color photos of Queen.

    A Night At The Opera proves that Queen was more than capable of producing flawless music in a wide variety of genres. On one single album, you get the hard rock tracks “I’m In Love With My Car” and “Death On Two Legs (Dedicated To…)” as well as the folk rock ballad “‘39.” There is the pop music style of “Lazing On A Sunday Afternoon” and “You’re My Best Friend” alongside the joyful expression of love in “Seaside Rendezvous.” Moreover, you experience the incredible angst and despair expressed in “Bohemian Rhapsody.” Freddy Mercury with the rest of Queen performed mightily to please their fans. There will never be another band quite like Queen; and I highly recommend this album for rock fans and pop rock fans everywhere.

    Posted on February 14, 2010 - Permalink - Buy Now
  • Ah. What could i say where could i begin? So much to say that’s been said a thousand times before. The year was 1975. Queen had released 3 previous albums, ranging from good to amazing. They had done everything – classic rock, hard rock, metal, punk-esque, ragtime, caribean, comedic, operetic, poppy, ballady, and quite frankly all of it was extremely experiemental and worked beautifuly. Where did queen have to go with all the expirimentation they had done on previous albums?

    somewhere good.

    Where Queen found all their creativity I doubt we’ll ever know. Freddie mercury was really a genius musician. He excelled at piano and songwriting. The magnitude of his voice goes without saying, as it is in my opinion possibly the greatest voice of all time. He could do anything vocally as this album would prove. One problem that bands with superpowers like Freddie always face is that every other member or the band will be overshadowed or just quite frankly not good. Oh, but that was not Queen. Brian may, while certainly not the greatest guitarist ever, was still amazingly good. Some of the most creative and signature riffs out there. John deacon often gets overlooked but his bass playing is really top notch and his songwriting were also very good. Roger taylor was the glue that held the band together as good a drummer as anyone could hope to meet. He even lent a hand singing every now and then when he felt like it.

    Oh. I seem to have drifted off the subject. If you don’t feel like it ignore those paragraphs above ’cause they weren’t really important. I suppose I’ll give the songs on this cd a rating.

    1. Death on Two Legs – Freddie sure knew how to open an album. classical sounding piano riff leads into a total excess of noise and pure guitar fury which is on the very brink of exploding. Then back to a lovely piano riff and some sweet brian may guitar lickage. The lyrics in this song are first rate. A furious stab at the band’s previous producer. honestly this song will be one of your favorites. 9.5/10

    2. Lazing on a Sunday Afternoon – Absolutely ridiculous! Freddie Mercury was insane. The kick A$$ loud “Death on Two Legs” segues right into this super campy and fun piece. It’s piano based and then finishes with an amazing three-part guitar solo. It’s just so fun and you’ll love singing along. Great contribution to the album! 9/10

    3. I’m in Love with my Car – Roger taylor always had something to offer the band. this song’s pretty intense. The guitar riff is just crazy. it’s mind boggling that Roger Taylor could while playing drums but some people got skills like that. He’s got such a raspy voice which contrasts so much with Freddie’s or Brian’s. It’s a very nice voice nonetheless. This song rocks, and is now being used for Lexus commericials, if I am not mistaken. 8.5/10

    4. You’re My Best Friend – Chances are pretty good that you’ve heard this Deacon track. Terrific bassline. ok, I admit it – the lyrics are a little corny – but the way Freddie sings them just gives it so much power and beauty. Deacon played keyboard on this one, in fact. Wote it for his best lady friend. Another one that will get you singing and ripe for quotation. 9/10

    5. ‘39 – When i first listened to this song I didn’t know what to think. An acoustic based song with standup bass in the midst of such an overblown album as this seemed rather strange. Eventually it dawned on me that this song’s simplicity was what made it beautiful. Brian may wrote this one and he does all the vocals too. The lyrics are absolutely terrific on this one. The closing line is absolutely haunting: “for my life, still ahead, pity me.” This song is really just beautiful. one of brian may’s finest creations. 9.75/10

    6. Sweet Lady – ugh! Brian!! What were you thinking?? For all this album’s greatness, it’s not perfect. Brian may had to throw in this more or less crap filler right after one of his greatest songs. This is, as another reviewer noted, Queen trying to show they could rock. Don’t get me wrong -
    queen could rock. They did it a lot. This song, however, is just so weak. Even freddie’s vocals don’t impress me, much which is rare. This is the only song on the cd that is skippable. The ending guitar solo is pretty good and makes up a bit for the rest a bit. Still, one of Queen’s worst songs. 4.5 / 10

    7. Seaside Rendevous – ah Freddie, way to bring the album back up! It is quite similiar to “lazing on a sunday afternoon” in its campiness, but different in every other aspect. The lyrics are hilarious and amazing. The piano line just works so well with this song. The vocal overdubs are just great, too. The real highlight, however, is the middle. Freddie plays a woodwind section with his voice, and Roger Taylor plays a brass section with his voice! Truly amazing to hear! There really was no end to the talent these guys possessed. 9.75/10

    8. Prophet’s Song – Brian makes up for “Sweet Lady” with this one. Stars off with some wooshy noises followed by acoustic guitar and some kind of japanese string instrument. Freddie comes in with his vocals which are top notch. Oh, but then it rocks – and it rocks hard. This is queen rocking. the guitar riff remind me of somethign native american – esque. A war dance of sorts. The lyrics are absolutely amazing. Interpret them as you would, but i think they contain a highly religious theme. Freddie sings them with so much feeling. BUT the highlight is the hugggge accapella middle. Sure it’s long. Sure it’s excessive. But if you listen to it loud enough, sing along, and have an open mind you will absolutely fall in love with it. The song soon gets back to rocking and finishes the way it entered. a real winner. One of Brian May’s best. 10/10

    9. Love of my life – The transition from “prophet’s song” to this song is so impecabble. It just works so well. lovely piano + harp + simple bassline + freddie’s truly angelic voice = pure success. One of queen’s greatest songs ever. freddie puts so much feeling into every single word he sings. It’s mind boggling how good his singing and piano line work. The vocal overdubbs work amazingly too. This is truly a queen masterpiece. 10/10

    10. Good Company – An interesting transition from the sad “Love of my Life”. This song is just fun. Have an open mind! I love singing along to this song, and yes, it will be stuck in your head for days. Some dismiss it as filler but it’s got too much in it to be filler. Jazz guitar orchestration (a whole lot of guitars at that) and ukelele – what more could you want!?! Clever lyrics as well – brian may was possibly the best lyricist from the band. A great addition to this album. Nice bassline too. 9/10

    11. Bohemian Rhapsody – Funny how no one actually says anything about this song. Everyone always says “everyone’s heard this song” or “this is the most amazing thing ever.” Well, maybe not everyone has heard this song and not everyone understands why it is so amazing. It therefore bears neccesity to be said. tTe introduction is freddie overdubbeed four times producing some lovely vocal harmonies. Then the piano line comes in which quickly becomes one of the greatest in rock history. Eventually we get to “mama just killed a man” part. This first verse is absolutely stunningly beautiful. Freddie’s voice, the lyrics, bass, and piano all come together to form one of the most amazing products immaginable. The whole first and second verses are stunning – truly stunning. This is followed by another one of rock’s most esteemed guitar solos courtesy of Mr. Brian May. Instantly recognisable. Brian may had a terrific way of not just sticking a solo into a song. Rather he wrote a song to be the defining apex, to build upon the crescendo that had led up to it – and then to exceute. But the song is far from over. It then goes into probably the most ridiculous and crazy minute some odd in rock history. Over 128 vocal overdubs! Amazing harmonies! Finally this section boils over to the third section of the song, the rocking part. And it truly is queen rocking. They could do it and here it is proved. This part also has very strong lyrics. Finally Brian does a couple runs up his guitar and there’s some more piano fanfare before it finally returns to a similar vibe from the first verse. The lyrics get quieter and quieter and eventually it’s just some nice guitar tapping from brian and piano. At the very end it’s just piano and Freddie singing “any way the wind blows” – and with a cymbol crash from Roger, it’s all over. 12/10

    12. God Save the Queen – A challenge for every band is what song to put after the most epic song you’ve ever written. The only thing that could really live up to it would be another epic, and that cycle could go on forever. Therefore, Queen choose to end the album with a great guitar orchestration piece by Brian which really closes the album well. For tying together all loose ends, 9/10

    Well, that’s quite a lot to say about this one album. But it truly is that amazing. If “Night at the Opera” is not in your cd collection by now you should be ashamed of yourself. It truly is an album which everyone will love, from fans of classical to hardcore punks. An incredible album and quite possibly queen’s greatest work. Buy it. You will be wow-ed

    Posted on February 14, 2010 - Permalink - Buy Now
  • Although “Bohemian Rhapsody” is the Queen song that almost every person on the planet knows, the album that it is taken from as a whole offers many other varieties of tracks, each one better than the next. Queen combines classical sounds with a rock n roll inspired outlook, from the fade-in piano of the vicious “Death on Two Legs” to the rockin’ “I’m in Love with my Car.” It’s difficult to see exactly which direction the band is taking with this album; I believe that they were still experimenting with sound at this stage. That would explain why some of the songs (such as “…Rhapsody” and “The Prophet’s Song”) are so mulitlayered and over the top, while others (“You’re My Best Friend,” and my favorite, the sweet “Love of My Life”) are a little simpler. All in all, a great rock album, one of the first that got me hooked on the Queen sound. It has a little bit of everything for many different musical tastes.

    Posted on February 14, 2010 - Permalink - Buy Now