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Made in Heaven

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★★★★½
(93 Reviews)

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  • Queen’s recording history reads like a good book, and if Innuendo was the last Chapter (Indeed, it’s last song ‘The Show Must Go On’ was as fitting a tribute to Mercury as anything they’ve tried since), Made in Heaven is the epilogue, taking the material Freddie Mercury recorded after Innuendo, and peicing it together into a comprehensive, final Queen album. The history is a little convoluted, not every track is brand new, a couple were from Mercury’s original Mr. Bad Guy solo album (Made in Heaven, I was born to Love You), others were outtakes from The Miracle (Life has been Saved, Too Much Love will Kill You), Made in Heaven was original a Roger Taylor solo song that Mercury re-recorded in ‘88-89, but the rest of the material here is Mercury’s dying days basically set to tape. Even the older material is given the full Queen treatment by Brian May and company, so it all sounds fresh and new. The sound of the album is very uplifting as opposed to the overall wistful, dark overtone of Innuendo. It’s a Beautiful Day, Made in Heaven, and Let Me Live make one heck of an opening trio, the latter also sung by Roger and Brian, backed with a gospel choir. I Was Born to Love You is given full Queen rock treatment with one of Brian May’s better guitar solos, and the lead-off single Made in Heaven flows as only Queen’s best songs do. You Don’t Fool Me is a great dancey tune, harkening back to Hot Space. Too Much Love will Kill You and A Winter’s Tale are two beautiful ballads, the latter a hit in the U.K., and the album ‘closes’ with a stunning reprise of It’s a Beautiful Day, followed by an unmercifully long instrumental (over 22 minutes) that is really pretty unneccesary. It never really gets going until the final minutes, and it’s reminiscent of a new-age moods instrumental. It tries to set a mood of peacefulness but doesn’t quite work. The most telling work on this album, however, is the final song Mercury recorded, Mother Love. From the second he opens his mouth until he closes it for the final time, you can hear the utter pain and longing in his voice. He’s through with this life, he has no more hope, he just wants to die in peace. Brian May keeps a lonely guitar circling overhead. And as Mercury sings the second chorus, and whispers ‘Mother Love’, it’s almost as if he died immediatley after uttering those words, and ingeniously, Brian May finishes off the song himself. After that is a quick snippet of numerous Queen concerts, followed by a baby’s cry, symbolizing Mercury’s rebirth into his new life. It’s enough to make any Queen fan break down and cry; why the album didn’t end with THIS song I have no idea, instead it’s thrown smack into the middle. Made in Heaven is among Queen’s best works, even if most people dont’ count it as a ‘real’ album because half of it has been done before, it’s simply beautiful in context and Mercury proved that he had the greatest voice in rock right up until his all-too-soon death.

    Posted on December 9, 2009 - Permalink - Buy Now
  • In 1995, Queen fans got one last album from the Freddie Mercury led Queen. Although this album ranks with their best, it is not entirely new. My Life Has Been Saved was the b-side of Scandal. Too Much Love Will Kill You was recorded for The Miracle album. Brian May re-recorded it in 1993 for his Back To The Light record. Made In Heaven and I Was Born To Love you were tracks from Freddie Mercury’s out of print 1985 album, Mr. Bad Guy. Basically only Freddie’s vocals were kept. The instrumentation was given the full Queen treatment. Heaven For Everyone was recorded for one of Roger Taylor’s side projects.Ok, now on to how the record sounds. The album starts out with one of the few ‘newly’ recorded tracks, It’s A Beautiful Day. This ballad features an amazing vocal from Freddie, considering his illness. He is in fine form. Let Me Live is a great track featuring a gospel choir in the background. Brian May and Roger Taylor share lead vocals on this track with Freddie. Mother Love is a sad, contemplative ballad about facing the end of one’s life. Freddie couldn’t finish this track so Brian May picks up the last verse. It works quite well. A Winter’s Tale sounds like a holiday classic. Freddie seemed to be taking in all of his surroundings. He wasn’t taking anything for granted. The album ends like it started, with a reprise of It’s A Beautiful Day. Added at the end of the track is a piano sample from Seven Seas Of Rhye, a baby’s cry, and a sample from an old Carole King song that Freddie covered in his pre-Queen days. After all is said and done, this is a fitting farewell to rock’s royal band. It does what all great artist’s last albums should do, wondering what could have been.

    Posted on December 9, 2009 - Permalink - Buy Now
  • “Innuendo” was the last album released by Queen before Freddie Mercury died, and it was a fitting final album for him. “Made In Heaven” was released in 1995, 4 years after Freddie’s death. Of the 11 songs on the album, 5 were previously released in other forms: “Made In Heaven” and “I Was Born To Love You” were originally on Freddie’s “Mr. Bad Guy” album, and are included here with those same vocal tracks, but with Queen’s instrumentation; “My Life Has Been Saved” was a B-side to “Scandal” from “The Miracle”, but is slightly different here; “Heaven For Everyone” was originally recorded by Roger Taylor’s band “The Cross”; and “Too Much Love Can Kill You” was previously released on Brian May’s “Back To The Light” album (with Brian on vocals). But even though not all of the material here is new, all of the material is very good, and it’s a great album. Not quite as good of an ending as “Innuendo”, but a very fine piece of work nonetheless.

    Posted on December 9, 2009 - Permalink - Buy Now
  • …quite frankly, so depressing at times that you’ll be wondering why you love it so much. Because this is one of Queen’s best albums, probably my favourite one. Every single song is stunning – the vocals (mostly Freddie, singing with such incredible power and emotion that it’s hard to believe the majority of these songs were recorded just months before his death) are amazing, the music is fabulous. Two songs Freddie recorded on his solo album, Mr Bad Guy, appear on this CD (Made In Heaven, I Was Born To Love You), and with added background material from Roger, Brian and John, they really do improve. Heaven For Everyone, which was originally a song by The Cross with Freddie on vocals, is reworked into a Queen song, and is one of their best. Too Much Love Will Kill You was released as a solo single for Brian in the early ’90s, but the Queen version is pretty damn good too.The rest of the album consists of rock ballads at their best. The emotional Mother Love, the gospel-esque Let Me Live, the upbeat My Life Has Been Saved, the achingly beautiful A Winter’s Tale, the powerful It’s A Beautiful Day… all are exceptional tracks. You Don’t Fool Me is a much-looked-down-upon dance track, but one I happen to enjoy. And really, it gets less melancholy the fiftieth time you hear it…

    Posted on December 9, 2009 - Permalink - Buy Now
  • “Made in Heaven” is Queen’s final studio album, released in November 1995. After Freddie Mercury’s death in 1991, the remaining band members John Deacon, Roger Taylor and Brian May worked with Mercury’s pre-recorded vocals to create the last Queen album with all four members having contributed.

    The album feels and sounds like a late 80’s Queen album with Freddie singing every song and sounding much healthier than he does on “Innuendo” as alot of this album has been taken from prior recordings. Only three songs were recorded by Freddie prior to his death: “A Winter’s Tale”, “Mother Love” and what would become “You Don’t Fool Me”. The song list includes:

    * “It’s a Beautiful Day” – a previously unreleased song written and recorded by Freddie Mercury at Musicland Studios in Munich, 1980.

    * “Made in Heaven” – a track from Mercury’s solo career, appearing on his album ‘Mr. Bad Guy’ in 1985. Taylor, May and Deacon reworked it (over Mercury’s piano and vocals) to make it a Queen track.

    * “Let Me Live” – the first single features a gospel-style choir for the opening. Freddie, Brian and Roger each then sing a verse.

    * “Mother Love” – the last song Freddie Mercury recorded and co-wrote with Brian May, who on his website discussed the writing process he and Mercury had (writing both separately and together, and conscious of the nature of the song and the lyrics). May sang the last verse since Mercury wasn’t able to do it.

    * “My Life Has Been Saved” – composed by John Deacon in 1987-1988.

    * “I Was Born to Love You” – originally recorded (piano, vocals, synths) by Mercury on 25th May 1984, for his ‘Mr. Bad Guy’ album.

    * “Heaven for Everyone” – a track Roger Taylor wrote and tried out with Queen in 1986, but then dropped and recorded it for The Cross (his other band, where he was lead singer and rhythm guitarist instead of drummer).

    * “Too Much Love Will Kill You” – a typical power ballad composed by Brian May (with Frank Musker and Elizabeth Lamers) sometime between the Magic and Miracle sessions. They wrote it in the US and Freddie Mercury sang on it.

    * “You Don’t Fool Me” – one of the last tracks recorded for Made In Heaven. It reminds me of a more mellow ‘Scandal’.

    * “A Winter’s Tale” – the last song Mercury composed entirely (“Mother Love”’s music is by Brian May). He did the vocals and keyboards for it and completed the last verse around two weeks before he died.

    The overall feel of the album is one of reverence, reflection and references to our existence. Only the song “I Was Born to Love You” has an up-beat tempo. The production is of a superb quality considering the difficulties the band faced.

    Unfortunately, I dismissed this album at the time as I was into other mid-90’s music and Queen felt long dead. The title, “Made in Heaven”, was just too corny and I still felt (up until recently) that it was just an attempt to hold onto something that wasn’t there anymore. It was only when I went back into a Queen phase (12 years later) that I even considered buying it. But it was very popular in the UK at the time with the first single “Heaven for Everyone” reaching No. 3 and the album going four times platinum selling 1.5 million copies.

    Overall, this is a worthwhile coda to Queen’s career. I find it very easy to listen to and reflect in turn on their impact on my life.

    Posted on December 9, 2009 - Permalink - Buy Now