For the inaugural Tracklist, it is time we rank Queen. Queen are Rock and Roll Royalty. They deserve a whole retrospective. In our inaugural Tracklist, we rank Queen’s best songs album by album, and I discuss why I think they are the best songs the band made.
Queen (1973)- My Fairy King
From their first album, we have ‘My Fairy King’. Admittedly not the strongest album the band have released (it was their debut after all), it does have some gems. My Fairy King is a brilliant song, and it paints an image in your head of the world that Mercury has described. It is a great song for those who like some classic rock with classical elements. The piano is really good in this song; it is the icing on a well made cake
Queen II (1974)- March of the Black Queen
Dark, menacing, progressive and loud and delicate, March of the Black Queen is the Queen of this album. It is here where you can sample the evolution of the classic Queen sound which is loved by many fans. The song just works as a micro opera; the dramatic open, the slow bits, the loud bits, the sad bits, the happy bits. It is awesome. My only problem is that it segues into the next song, I think it should have just ended there and then, just omit the next song. I love Queen II buuuut I don’t like all the songs on it. Still their best album.
Sheer Heart Attack (1974)-Brighton Rock
This one is a rock song through and through. I don’t really like this album much. It has Killer Queen on it, that’s pretty much the one song people would recognise from it, but the other songs on it are pretty good in their own right. Brighton Rock was a staple at early concerts, Brian May coming out with these huge, awesome guitar solos. Basically the song is a guitar solo with some singing in it, but it is a guitar solo at heart. Interesting to note, the last song on Queen II ends with the band singing ‘How I do like to be beside the seaside’, and then this song starts with someone humming the same tune. Well played, Queen. Well played.
A Night at the Opera (1975)- ‘39
This song is strange. It is sang by Brian May; which is a treat, and it is essentially Sci-Fi Skiffle. The song is about the tale of a group of space explorers who embark on what is, from their perspective, a year-long voyage. Upon their return, however, they realise that a hundred years have passed, because of the time dilation effect in Einstein’s special theory of relativity, and the loved ones they left behind are now all dead. Why do I like this song? Because it’s weird, and not like any other Queen song sung since or after. In album order, it is also the 39th Queen song if you played them all in album by album order.
A Day at the Races (1976)-Long Away
A spiritual sequel to ’39. It is a slightly sad song, with some melancholic nostalgia by Brian May (who sings lead vocals). It is a good song to walk to in the morning, as I often do. The song has a sad tone, describing that “for every star in heaven / there’s a sad soul here today,” and an overall sense of melancholic nostalgia lies over the song.
News of the World (1977)- All Dead All Dead
I really do like Brian May songs. “All Dead, All Dead” was written and sung by May, and features Mercury on piano and backing vocals. Rumours that the song is about the passing of May’s cat are indeed true. I love the song’s sad nature, the piano work is brilliant in this song, and I thank this song for helping me accept that things die and that you need to move on. It is THAT good.
Jazz (1978)-Bicycle Race
The song was written by Mercury and was inspired by his observing a stage of the 1978 Tour de France passing where the band was recording ‘Jazz’ in France. I love this song because it makes sense! Freddie is singing about all the things that he doesn’t care about, and he’d rather just cycle on his bike and have away with all of it. It’s very much like what I would do, but I don’t own or know how to ride a bike. My cool factor has gone down 3% now.
Flash Gordon (1980)- The Hero
In the original version of this blog post, I did not include this album, because I didn’t consider it to be on par with the others on this list. In retrospect, I decided to put it here. The last track on this soundtrack, the credits music for the 1980 Flash Gordon movie, and it is badass. It is essentially the Flash Gordon theme reprise, with extra bits, and it closes the film perfectly. I’ve never seen the movie, but dammit, I have to now.
The Game (1980)-Sail away sweet sister (to the sister I never had)
Despite its title, I don’t think it’s about anyone’s sister. Like Pulp’s song ‘Disco 2000’ I envisage it being about two friends; perhaps a boy and a girl, who are as close as siblings, and one of them fancies the other. She goes off somewhere (perhaps to another country) and he admits his love, but alas, they do not elope. It is another sad Brian May song, but it sounds optimistic in it’s message, that you have a whole life ahead of you to find the right person for you. I really adore this song, for its good message and bittersweet optimism.
Hot Space (1982)- Life is Real (Song For Lennon)
Hot Space sucked. No real argument, it sucked. It was crap. Out of the two songs I like on this album, I went for this one. I sort of felt that Under Pressure wasn’t really a Queen song or a David Bowie song, it was a collaboration in its own right. This song was a tribute to John Lennon, who died in 1980. This wasn’t the first time Queen had done a tribute to another singer, as they did a tribute to Elvis Presley in the album Jazz. I like this song because it does sound like Queen singing a John Lennon esque ballad. The album is crap, but it ain’t all bad.
The Works (1984)-Hammer to Fall
Love Hammer to Fall. Cheerful, Summer anthem sound, and a theme which is disputed. Many fans believe that it is about the Cold War, or the fall of the Soviet Union (which would happen in August 1991; a full 7 years later). Brian May; who wrote it, actually said Hammer to Fall is really about life and death, and being aware of death as being part of life. ‘The Hammer coming down is only a symbol of the Grim Reaper doing his job!’. I personally feel that this song is about Peace and getting along with your friends. Speaking of friends…
A Kind of Magic (1986)-Friends will be Friends
I am pretty sure that the theme of this song is clear. FWENDZ. This song is from A Kind of Magic, and I am pretty sure this; along with some others, was used in the film ‘Highlander’. It is a genuinely heart warming song, and a great one to sing with your friends on a drunken night out when you’ve been bevvied. However, I feel that this song has a sinister edge. As we know, Freddie Mercury caught HIV, and I theorise the song is about him or someone he knew who was having a hard time with the disease, and he was singing about supporting said friend’ right to the end’. However, as this song was co written with Deacon; who didn’t know at this time, one can only guess.
The Miracle (1989)-Breakthru
This song is so late 80’s, it hurts. This song is so happy, poppy and 80’s, I absolutely love it. It is one of my mum’s favourite Queen songs also. It is really get up and go, I am feeling great sort of music. It is actually sad as well, seeing how Freddie was ill, and by listening to the song you can sort of hear some of it in the lyrics. It’s a great song though.
Innuendo (1991)-The Hitman
I really do not know what to say about this song. It’s loud, it’s cool and it has some good guitar work. It would be my wrestling theme if I were to be a Wrestler. I suppose I can say that this album is the darkest Queen Album released, with Freddie’s death imminent, the press being vultures as per usual, and the band managed to release one of their greatest albums ever. That’s quite a feat.
Made in Heaven (1995)-A Winter’s Tale
This last song is one of the saddest. One of the last songs that Freddie sung and the last one he wrote, it is a poetic song about the scenes and sights of winter. I suppose you could call it a Christmas song, but it is much more than a ‘Christmas’ song. It is a song about the last days of a year, a man and a legacy. A Winter’s Tale is the saddest song on this list.
I love Queen. I feel that to truly be a fan, you don’t need to buy things, or listen to all the songs, or buy a record, I feel that a real fan just understands it, if you get it and you like it, then you are a true fan. You can listen to a song 100 times, like it and forget about it. Or, listen once and get it. I am a true fan of Queen. And even though Freddie is dead, he is still alive in our hearts and in our ears. Freddie, I still love you.