27 June, 2010

That one probably shouldn't have moved beyond the "maybe" pile

Sorry for being absent. Life's been happening. I have nothing better to say at this time so here's a filler about fillers!

Yes, even Queen - musical geniuses that they were/are - wrote crap and still managed to sell it.

Take, for instance, Don't Try Suicide. The bass line is awesome as hell, but lyrically I think this fails hard. Not just because they're stupid, but it's hard to write a catchy song about such a controversial subject - and should probably never be attempted again. It sounds like Freddie had the musical structure down and eventually said, "Fuck it, whatever words I sing on this take are going on the record!"

I think I'd rather he just hummed where the lyrics go. Because they suck so bad.

I was going to save this for another 'review' post, but the whole album is pretty much filler. So here it is: Greatest Hits III

Yeah, I said it. I'll say it again. Greatest Hits III sucked. I mean, hell! They've even added three Freddie solo tracks (one of which being a remix of Living On My Own. I admit that it isn't bad if I'm in the mood for 90's dance music, but my point still stands) and a Brian track. Solo projects are called solo projects for a reason! Unless you're counting where Freddie sang Heaven For Everyone or Too Much Love Will Kill You, or where John played bass on How Can I Go On (which is not on GHIII). But those only just barely count.

And then Wyclef Jean butchered/sampled the hell out of Another One Bites The Dust.

I think Gimme The Prize and Don't Lose Your Head both had a ton of intro potential on A Kind Of Magic. Gimme The Prize has what I think is one of the best guitar introductions ever (click here for an awesome cover by satchrulez on Youtube. He's pretty awesome!) but the lyrics don't grip me, and my short attention span can't really move past the 34645069745096560460498 minutes of guitar solo (sorry, Brian!)
I love the music of Don't Lose Your Head, but - again - the lyrics bore me. But that just makes me glad that A Dozen Red Roses For My Darling exists (a sort-of instrumental version of DLYH that's a B-side).

17 June, 2010

Reviewing my collection, part 2

Queen II is my favorite album ever. I still have to listen to the entire thing in one sitting. If I don't, I feel a little guilty. It's just so. Fucking. Awesome! I can't quite explain it, but it seems to be perfect for me in terms of auditory stimulation. And I love me some auditory stimulation (I consistently listen to my iPod on maximum volume when traveling). My one and only criticism for this is that there's no song writing contribution from John. What the hell, John? Way to be a team player!

I want to say right now that I do not regret purchasing The Cosmos Rocks. Just so we're clear. I'm very pro-Q+PR. I remember reading on Queenzone that this guy listened to that album and went through all of Queen's studio albums with Freddie, and he decided that The Cosmos Rocks was a pile of shit because it sounded nothing like any of Queen's original albums.

... Clearly this guy wasn't really paying attention. No Queen album sounds like another. There may be parallels and similarities, but everything from Queen to Made In Heaven is a unique and special snowflake sound-wise.

That, and Paul Rodgers is not Freddie Mercury. He's Paul Rodgers. And John retired from music. So it's no fucking wonder that The Cosmos Rocks is different from, say, The Works.

Anyway, the album itself isn't perfect. Sometimes I'm just not really feeling the blues sound, and yeah - some parts are just fucking awful. For starters, the intro to Cosmos Rockin' is... and I've searched tirelessly for the words to accurately describe this. These are the only words that can do my feelings justice: FUCKING STUPID! Surf's Up... School's Out is just as stupid, but I like the rest of the album.

In some ways, it almost sounds like these songs could have been on Innuendo (I can easily picture Freddie circa 1990 singing Time To Shine). And that made me feel even better about this collaboration. Paul Rodgers is his own man, but he fits in really well with Queen's sound.

And Say It's Not True is probably one of the most beautiful Roger tracks I've heard to date. Small follows very closely behind that.

11 June, 2010

Choir geekiness

It figures that the one a capella version of Bohemian Rhapsody that I really like is performed by a fictional show choir.

The season finale of Glee had New Directions' rival, Vocal Adrenaline, perform (with Jonathan Groff singing lead vocals) ... Jonathan Groff is that guy from Spring Awakening. He's super talented. And hot. Let's not forget that part.

See? Fucking adorable!

I wanted to talk about this earlier, but I needed to wait until the episode aired PST and I could get a good-quality sound on a YouTube video.

Glee's also done Somebody To Love (also really awesome) and Another One Bites The Dust (kind of boring, in my opinion. But maybe that was intentional to drive the plot in that particular episode), but I think BoRhap tops it. And I was skeptical at first. Most choirs and a capella groups, try as they might, manage to piss me off all the same. Maybe it's because I was a total choir geek from grades 6-12. Maybe because most choral arrangements fuck with they key signatures, tempo, etc. And then there's the issue of performers lacking the passion of the music. I think the main problem is that most people in choir are vocally trained. Freddie was not vocally trained (although he did get some tips from Montserrat Caballe` when they worked on Barcelona) so he'd wreck his voice, whereas people with vocal training don't tend to do that. And as a result, you can either get something that sounds pretty good... or like total crap.

The show Glee tends to piss me off with their fucked up stances on disability, fat acceptance, feminism, each character not being the least bit consistent or solid, etc. but I always come back to it - probably because I was a choir geek, and to some extent I still am.

... And while we're on the subject of Glee, and I can't help myself, and Jane Lynch is so awesome (and a fabulous, openly-queer icon)...

Holy crap! People read this now!

Before I get started, hi new followers I didn't have to ask to follow me! Your presence is appreciated!

Queenzone is a great site. I've been a member for years, sometimes participating in great discussion forums, sometimes staying away for several months because I just can't handle the stupidity like, "I say we all buy tickets to the Cosmos Rocks tour... AND THEN BURN THEM! BECAUSE PAUL RODGERS SUCKS!"

Although sometimes the stupid can be fun. I don't watch Reality TV so on occasion I just can't help but read and/or participate. My favorite so far has to be someone sincerely believing that Brian May's dislike of the track Don't Stop Me Now was because he was homophobic. ... I'm still raging about that. First off, Brian worked with Freddie for 20+ years. They've performed on stage together 704 times. That's 704 times where Freddie got all up in Brian's personal space. Secondly, let's not forget Freddie's infamous 38th birthday party (the Living On My Own video) which Brian attended... dressed as a witch. Freddie's parties tended to be really fucking gay (not meant in an insulting way).

I know homophobic people. Homophobic people would not want to be around Freddie Mercury. I know a guy who claims to have walked out at the end of a US Queen concert because Freddie was rocking the short shorts! I'm willing to entertain the possibility that Brian might be conservative about homosexuality, but he sure as shit isn't homophobic.

Anyway... Queenzone! It looks impressive and fancy, but there's a couple things that have bothered me for a long time. First, the picture galleries. Members can submit pictures of the band and the shit's not moderated. As of today, the Freddie Mercury gallery alone holds 5661 pictures... but how many of those are repeats? Not to mention, some pictures are mis-categorized.

Okay, Freddie rocking the crown and cape. I've probably seen this 50 times in the entire gallery.

Second, the site routinely experiences server crashes. My guess is it has a lot to do with people being fucking stupid about the pictures. And maybe the server itself is just crappy. Who knows? It's kind of my really geeky dream to have Richard Orchard email me and ask me to sift through all the picture galleries and moderate everything. That would be really tedious and awesome!

04 June, 2010

I will be your Sherpa up the mountain... of gayness

I guess what I'm trying to very gently say to people who insist that Freddie was bisexual, is that he was gay. And you know what? That doesn't invalidate his relationships with the few women he's dated, he was still awesome... and really?! You seriously thought he was bisexual?!

Freddie rocking the infamous "gay clone" look while wearing leather hot pants didn't raise any flags for you?

... Not that wearing leather is an indicator of homosexuality. Wearing leather is an indicator of wearing leather... or being into "leather" (euphemism for BDSM). That's another assumption that pisses me off. Leather != gay!

There's no way - there's just no fucking way...

And now, for the big guns: Listen to See What A Fool I've Been (probably nsfw) on the CD release of Queen II.

That having been said, I know of Freddie's relationship with at least one girl in college, Mary Austin, and Barbara Valentin. And I sincerely believe that those relationships were legit, genuine, and meaningful. But plenty of gay-identified folks have had at least one heterosexual relationship, be it to appear "normal" by society's standards, internalized homophobia, fear of being ostracized from religious community or family, or access to benefits not allowed to same-sex couples or single people, etc. And before someone says something like, "See? The damn queers are ruining the sanctity of marriage!" here's a video that is nsfw, but explains Biblical marriage!

So Freddie was gay, the Pope is Catholic, the sun rises and sets. What else is new?

03 June, 2010

I'll shut up about this eventually

I finally listened to the Absolute Narrative disc that came with the book (the one where Brian and Roger provide commentary). It's pretty wonderful. The tracks were cut down, because I guess there's only so much they can say per song, but it was still awesome. And informative!

For example: I learned that the rhythm guitar in Another One Bites The Dust was actually done by John! And I am a better person for knowing that. Not just a better Queen fan - better person.

I'd actually really love it if Brian and Rog provided commentary for all their studio albums. I guess a bit of the void is already filled, because I did order The Making Of A Night At The Opera. I really like documentary stuff on Queen, okay?? But I think my favorite in that category is Magic Years volume 2. Probably one of the greatest moments of my life was when I had that VHS tape on a ridiculously loud volume during the part about their fan base in Japan, and I finally found out that the music in the background during the press conference was Father To Son in a different key. ... I was 12 and my sound-enhancing equipment was the volume button on the TV. Give me a break!