TRACK BY TRACK: Queen II

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I think it’s time I reviewed my favourite album, from top to bottom. Queen II. Released on the 18th of March 1974, this little-known band got a mixed reception on their second album, but then they became big with a little song called ‘Seven seas of Rhye’, which was the first taste of fame that the band would have. Sadly this remains one of Queen’s lesser known albums. So let’s look at (or listen to) Queen II.

Side White

Track 1: Procession

This is the track that opens the album. This one contains no singing and was recorded by Dr. Brian May, with little bits by Roger Taylor. It is an awesome piece by Brian, the overlapping Guitar effects (Recorded with the Deacy Amp (Where I get my name from on the Facebook page I am an Admin of) and Brian’s custom guitar The Red Special) gives this piece an ‘Epic Quality’. It gives it an orchestral sound almost. It is a great start to the album.

Track 2: Father to Son

The Procession then transitions into the first proper song of the Album (I really like that when songs do that). Father to son is a brilliant song, with awesome singing (obviously) from Freddie Mercury. It’s written from the perspective of the father when talking or thinking about his son, and I like that, if you read the lyrics, you can see a meaningful relationship.Could Brian be singing about his father? This song is glorious, with its drums, it’s heavy guitar, and it’s quieter piano moments. My favourite parts are the harmonies at the end, it’s a very feel good track.

Track 3: White Queen (As it began)

This track, about unrequited feelings for a girl, is filled with tragedy and soul. You can tell that this song was made with heart. I love how subdued the guitar in this song is, it’s not supposed to be loud and monstrous, it needs to be more refined and reflective.This song is beautiful, it’s gorgeous, and one of my favourite songs to listen to when I am down.

Track 4: Someday, one day

A bit more uplifting, with the warmth of the acoustic guitar, intertwined with the sound of the electric. It’s very melodic and has a nice sound to it. I don’t know the meaning of the song, but guessing, it would probably be the narrator singing to a girl, It’s probably a love song. It’s quite cheerful, and uplifting, compared to other songs on the album.

Track 5: Loser in the end

This song is my least favourite on this album. It’s your typical Roger Taylor song, with your typical Roger Taylor singing. It’s about a mother losing her son, when he leaves home, and how she was treated when he left her. I like the meaning of the song, and I like parts of the song (the start is pretty unusual) but it’s a typical Roger Taylor song, and I love Roger, but I don’t like this one.And with this, Side White comes to an end.

Side Black

Track 6: Ogre Battle

Away from the melodic, and poignant (for the most part) Side White, we are now at Side BLACK (Louder, but just as beautiful). Entirely written by Freddie Mercury, and his imagination flows through it, with his deep feelings and his imagination which I can only dream of. Ogre Battle is AWESOME, no more can be said. Banging drums, loud guitars, screams, shouting, high Octaves! It is brilliant, it’s insane, it’s early Queen!

Track 7: Fairy Feller’s Master Stroke

This track is about a Richard Dadd painting (an insane, but brilliant artist, go to a gallery) of the same name. Not as loud as the track before it, but it’s colourful. What I mean by colourful is there’s a lot sound in it. It’s a short song, which is good, you don’t want constant noise for 4 minutes, short bursts are always for the best with songs like this, on the other hand…

Track 8: Nevermore

This, by comparison, is a more simple song should have been longer. It is too beautiful to last a minute. This song is about the end of a relationship, and the feelings of after it ends. It’s quite deep really.

Track 9: March of the Black Queen

This is my all time favourite Queen song, hands down. It’s just…Words cannot really describe it.The work that must have gone into this, whoever the engineers were, you deserve a medal. there’s a lot in it, guitar, bass, drums, piano, harmonies, all that stuff constantly recorded, and re-recorded onto the master tapes. With all that work, it must have been all the more satisfying when it was all complete. One thing that any Queen fan would notice is how similar it is to Bohemian Rhapsody, both methods used to record each one was the same, but Bohemian Rhapsody was more refined, leading me to think of this one as an experiment.What we got, is brilliant. It’s epic, guitar bits, quiet piano bits, loud epic bits. Freddie was inspired by Opera, you can tell!

Track 10: Funny how love is

This one is a great follow up. It does that transition thing again which I love. The song is about love, by the way, and how it’s everywhere.It’s true, It is funny how love is everywhere, just look and see!  This song was recorded by using the wall of sound technique, which I like. It sounds pretty different compared to other songs on the album.

Track 11: Seven Seas of Rhye

The most famous song on the album. Based on a fantasy world of Freddie’s, this song is beautifully crafted, with high vocals, brilliant guitar solos, and just a general feel good sound. This was played at the Magic tour of ’86, one of the few from the first 3 albums to survive being taken off the tour list.It’s probably this song which brought us some of the most hardcore Queen fans, and I don’t blame them (We will Rock you got me into the band).

Opinion

It’s almost flawless. This album is one of the best, and sadly it’s underrated, and albums like this are dying out. All bands are now using computers to help record their songs, and Computer music is now the rage. The problem with computer music is that it doesn’t seem ‘human’, it seems quite cold, I don’t care about the crystal clear digital sound, I like the imperfections, it makes the album sound warm, and full of heart and gives it, dare I say it, a soul. By recording albums on Computers you are not giving your fans real music, but you don’t care as long as you’re selling your CD’s. your digital downloads, and your special edition 7′ ‘vinyl’. Thanks for reading.

About the author

Ben

Since 2012, Benjamin Attwood has written for the If you Ask Ben blog.

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