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News of the World

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★★★★½
(110 Reviews)

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  • 1977 was the year punk and disco exploded on the pop scene. It was also the year that Queen’s fellow rock dinosaurs Pink Floyd sang about pigs,dogs and sheep (as opposed to sex, drugs and rock’n'roll), Sun worshippers YES came up with “Going for the One” with an album cover of a naked man gazing at a tall building …whatever Mr. Anderson meant by that, Genesis thought the timing was right to release a double live album featuring a 25 minute ditty about a SUPPER that is READY for consumption…and Led Zeppelin did not have any new albums to offer whatsoever.No wonder, then, that The Sex Pistols and their spitting likes as well as Serious-groin-problem-bros Bee Gees had an easy task of topping the charts. The world had been fed on heavy prog rock as main course for a whole decade, and now wanted some light dessert to ease up on the digestive system. Sure, Queen could have released their “A Night at the Opera part III”(more Marx Brothers titles anyone? ) and join the brigade of “boring old farts” as the prog rockers were called by the late 70s. But having covered most themes in the art rock book, i.e. mad prophets, adventure, pseudo religious “good vs. evil” themes and science fiction they instead simplified their approach and delivered a no nonsense and refreshing hard rock album that was more in tune with the new musical directions of the times.”News of the World” was leather rather than silk and ballet. The Stomping “We Will Rock You”, the ultra heavy “Sheer Heart Attack”, “Fight from the inside” (which somehow makes me think of the colour black)and the steamy “Get Down Make Love” sum up their raunchy new styles very nicely.Pomp is of course still here, but in controlled proportions, in the shape of the lone tongue in cheek “We are the champions”. It just functions SO WELL sandwiched as it is by “We will rock you” and “Sheer Heart Attack”.Ballads like “All Dead All Dead” and “My Melancholy Blues” have a bitter taste to them rather than sugary, the latter sounding naked and lonely as opposed to previous album closers by the group which were mostly pomp and circumstance.Pop tunes are inventive and differ greatly in styles. “Spread Your Wings” has Queen written all over it…irresistably catchy chorus. “Who Needs You”, features wonderful spanish guitar runs from Brian May as well as a playful Freddie Mercury. Then there’s “Sleeping on the Sidewalk” which has groove to last a whole blues festival…”It’s Late” proves that there was still some heavy progrock left in them, epic in proportions as it is. However, instead of multilayered vocal mid sections or guitar orchestras for that matter, you get pure and true heavy metal thrown in your face somewhere in the middle. Furthermore, a simple love story makes the framework of the piece. No madmen in sight.If you are new to Queen, News of the World is definately an essential FIRST.Other musts? One idea for a newcomer to the world of Queen could be building a collection by getting one album from each “stage” (as I see it) of their prolific career:1. 73-74 Heavy Metal: Queen II 2. 75-76 Art Rock: A Night At the opera 3. 77-79 Hard Rock: News Of the World 4. 80-82 Pop/Funk: The Game 5. 84-86 Pop/Rock: A Kind of Magic 6. 89-91 Hard Rock revisited: InnuendoThen you could start “filling it up” by sticking to whatever personal preferences you may have in musical styles (HM, pop, disco…), or follow my excample:BUY EVERYTHING IN SIGHT! Finally one plead to EMI: PLEASE, PLEASE RELEASE “EARL’S COURT 1977″ !

    Posted on January 8, 2010