I absolutely love this album! [we'll forget about "Cool Cat" ]. This was the first Queen disc I bought upon release (I mooched “The Game” from a friend).I had seen them at Cobo (Detroit) in ‘80 and absolutely became enamoured. After the release of Hot Space, I was spoiled by seeing them again in ‘82 with Billy Squire. Needless to say, I was disappointed they never returned to the States.The Works was a fine album, but it seemed to represent the end of the impromptu, fresh spirit that their previous 3 LP’s (Jazz, The Game and Hot Space) seemed to have. A Kind of Magic blew (big time), with the towering exception of One Vision, their best single in the ’80’s, and The Miracle was fun but trite overall. Innuendo was very artistic, but somehow very depressing, with the fact that Mercury was falling apart as he recorded it. Made in Heaven does even qualify, since Mercury had no hand in the final production. It reflected the indecision of May, and the lack of direction of Taylor. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy them both, but w/o Mercury at the helm, it just is not Queen.In my two-decade’s worth of devout following, I feel that Hot Space was the last really fun Queen album. Enjoy!
Metal Album Reviews[RSS]
When Hot Space came out, all we Queen fans just hung our heads in shame. This album was one of the chief causes of Queen’s declining popularity in the U.S. When I updated my collection from tape to CD this was the last one I bought and only because I felt I needed the complete works. Then I forced myself to relisten and suprise suprise there are some pretty good cuts on this one. Put Out the Fire and Action This Day are hard driving Queen songs of the first order. Los Pelabras De Amor harkens back to Teo Torriate with its use of a foreign language to give a generic love song an extra side to it. Of course it has Under Pressure. Having said that Hot Space does have some of the worst songs Queen ever recorded. Dancer, Back Chat and Calling All Girls make me cringe. Queen always experimented with different sounds and styles, but those tracks fall on their faces with a resounding crash. If you’re looking to buy your first Queen album stay away from this one until after you’ve explored Queen II, a Night at the Opera, News of the World and the rest. Otherwise you might end up wondering why these guys were ever popular.
When Hot Space was released in 1982, the disco/dance/funk shouldn’t have shocked everybody. Their previous two albums flirted with a dance groove, with “Fun It” on 1978’s Jazz, and “Another One Bites The Dust” and “Dragon Attack” on 1980’s The Game. I don’t understand people who say they don’t like this album, deriding it by calling it “Queen’s disco album.” Dance music emphasizes rhythm over melody. What Queen were attempting with Hot Space, and succeed to a degree, is to combine their perchant for interesting melodies with a nice dancable beat. The interesting bands will always evolve in one way or another. When they don’t, they lose relevance and are not at all interesting. The fact is, Queen were one of the most interesting bands in their time. Hot Space fits the transition into the 80’s perfectly. The common understanding with Queen fans is that these songs sounded much better live (and they were definitely heavier, judging from the surviving tapes from the Hot Space tour). I would like to say that these songs stand on their own on this album. I can’t wait to see the videos in the upcoming dvd release. This is the Japanese import and it sounds very nice.
I didn’t care for it when I first picked it up several years ago. But I’ve come to appreciate it as a unique part of Queen’s catalogue and a fun album of cool funk & dance with signature Queen flavors. “Cool Cat” puts me in a great mood and is probably my favorite track, other than the amazing duet with Bowie, “Under Pressure.” Other highlights are the cheesy but enjoyable “Back Chat” “Put Out The Fire,” and the beautiful “Las Palabras de Amor.” Regardless of what critics might say, this is hardly the low point of Queen’s career. It’s not The Game Part 2 or Night At The Opera Part 2, because that’s not what Queen set out to do. It’s just a good 80s dance/pop record.
Queen were the first “non -Beatles” band I got into in the early 1980s, and when I first heard Hot Space I didn’t hate it. It just struck me as noticeably “funkier” than their 1970s work and more synth heavy. From my perception living in Scotland in the 1980s Queen were decidedly unfashionable in an era where kids listened to bands like Iron Maiden, U2, The Smiths and Simple Minds to acquire credibility among their peers. I myself just listened to whatever I liked, as not really belonging to any group, peer pressure meant nothing to me. So judging from the point of view of a fan, not as knee jerk detractor, I liked it…sort of.
I distinctly remember thinking at the time that if you didn’t know much about Queen and compared Queen II to Hot Space you might have a hard time beleiving this was the same band, both musically and physically. Queen II is grandiose, overblown and theatrical, very much as the royal connotation suggests. Hot Space sometimes sounds like The Human League, saving Mercury’s voice and occasional bursts of heavy guitar and guitar solos.
But I don’t believe Hot Space is a bad album, just the wrong experiment at the wrong time, In 1982 disco was already waning, and it made Queen seem passé for the time. And popular music is very much an area where people want to be associated with something cool. (Music doesn’t have to be “new” by the way, just cool!) And for many fans Hot Space was simply *too* different from their established signature sound. I myself think that there are some good melodies and hooks in the album. The production is good enough and there are some fine moments from Mercury and May. And the funky stuff is largely one Side 1 (hey the old vinyl LP’s still have an grip on me) Side 2 has a few songs that wouldn’t sound out of place on earlier Queen records, for example the heavy Put Out The Fire and the plaintiff Mercury ballad Life Is Real, a tribute to John Lennon.
Overall I think that this album isn’t as bad as people say (or pretend) it is, yet I can’t say that it’s Queen’s best work either. I should also say that I think there are *loads* of albums by other bands that get slammed mainly because they are in a different style, so it’s not like Hot Space is a unique phenomena either. It’s not the first album by Queen anyone should buy IMO, but I don’t think you should turn your nose up at it just because “some others do”