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Made in Heaven

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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