15 August, 2014

Freddie Mercury Album review - with a bonus public shaming

Those of you who read this may recall this post about a... really interesting Amazon review of The Freddie Mercury Album. I've decided to break it down further because - well, it's such a golden opportunity!

If you're a Queen fan and you'd like to sample some of Freddy's solo work, then this might be a good buy. But if you're a true Freddy fan, then you'll be appalled at how they butchered his compositions in the re-mixing room.

I'm not going to attack this person's personal tastes just because they didn't like the album. That part's irrelevant. But as I all-too-often have to point out, they're claiming to be a "true" Freddie fan while misspelling his name. And once you fuck that up, you're in no position to judge musical arrangements on anything attached to Queen or Freddie. And you know what? A lot of people think they know what constitutes a "true" fan, but they don't. Neither do I, neither do you. Like many identities and communities in life, there is no One Right Way, and the sooner we collectively get that through our heads, the sooner we can all sleep better at night.

As far as how some of the songs on this album are arranged, I don't think they're that bad. The only one I don't like is for Time, and that's because the music doesn't make sense up against Freddie's vocals in some places, and the overall arrangement sounds boring.


In a weak attempt to bridge the gap between Queen's heavy rock sound and Freddy's gay style (I say "gay" meaning "happy"), the mixing engineers have slaughtered these pieces.

There was zero attempt to bridge the gap between Queen's catalog and Freddie's - the Made In Heaven album being an exception. And let's be real - Mr Bad Guy was intended to sound like something you'd hear in a gay club in the 80's, so it's more than a little insulting that they're qualifying their use of "gay" up there. It's okay to say it had a gay sound because IT DID, and this person clearly cannot see that that was a conscious decision. Also, if early 1990s dance remixes don't scream, "gay" to this person, I cannot help them. They are beyond help.


If I want to hear something heavy, I'll pop in "Night at the Opera". I don't need some presumptuous mixing engineer adding heavy reverb on the drums, stupid house-techno beats and distorted guitars.

... So go pop in A Night At The Opera, then..? Since you clearly want Queen's sound and not remixes of Freddie's solo stuff? And that's not the correct use for "presumptuous".

*ETA: Also, comparing any of the band's solo projects to any of their Queen albums is like comparing apples and bobsleds. Queen's music and albums are successful in being variant while also still having an overall signature sound (as in, you know damn well it's a Queen album even though it doesn't sound precisely like every other Queen album), and it's presumptuous to think that the sound Queen went for in 1975 should be expected - even on a subconscious level - to show up in a dance-oriented solo album in 1985, let alone a 1992 remix of a track from 1985. Seriously, what the hell is this person's problem??!!*


The worst is the absolute murder of the song "Mr. Bad Guy", originally a fully orchestrated piece, now reduced to some stupid "star search" sounding tripe with a whiny guitar soloing overtop everything. ... What's next? Will some video engineer edit out all of Freddy's flamboyant concert outfits and digitally superimpose a bunch of tattoos and body piercing?

Yes. That's exactly what they'll do. The Mr Bad Guy remix forever changed the sound and influence of death metal. It won several awards and is widely considered among metal enthusiasts to be the be all-end all of heavy metal. Every release of every Queen and Freddie album since 1992 has Freddie on the cover rocking a mohawk and enough facial piercings and tattoos to make him virtually unrecognizable. This is sarcasm. Because I get sarcastic when people are being stupid on the internet.


C'mon Atlantic (or whatever label was responsible for this travesty), give us some credit. Give FREDDY some credit. He liked it the way it was, and WE liked it the way it was.

Actually, from what I've seen in The Great Pretender documentary, Freddie wasn't as invested in Mr Bad Guy as, say, Barcelona or any Queen album. He never expected it to be a massive commercial success, and when it wasn't, he pretty much just shrugged his shoulders and went on to the next project. Also, this person should remember that they're only speaking for themselves and not anyone else. I don't doubt there are others who share this person's views, but this person doesn't represent the entire Freddie fan base, and as a Freddie fan, I'm tempted to find them and follow them around with a sign, "I'm not with them"...


Now pardon me whilst I throw this rubbish in the can, put on my leotard and listen to "Mr. Bad Guy" the way the artist intended it. Heavy on the gay. Party on.

Again, I cannot help this person with their inability to understand the evolution of gay club music since 1985 and how some of these remixes fall into that category. It's okay to not like this album, but it's really not okay to say that the dance remixes aren't gay when, honey, they are. Super gay.