Queen ‘Forever’

Layout 1Queen
Forever
Hollywood Records
by David Chiu

The name of this latest Queen compilation is Forever, but it could also be called Ballads if you really listen hard. In a way, Forever could be considered the unofficial companion to Rocks, the 1997 collection that focused on the band’s hard rock songs. With the exception of “You’re My Best Friend” and “Crazy Little Thing Called Love,” the songs on Forever aren’t necessarily the famous hits, but rather the romantic deep cuts that the larger public might know about. And the selections are very impressive and inspired: “ Bijou” and “Don’t Try So Hard,” two breathlessly magnificent tracks off the Innuendo album; “Love of My Life,” the love song from A Night at the Opera, which had been a standard at Queen shows with Freddie Mercury and Brian May doing an acoustic version of it; “Long Away” and “Drowse” from A Day at the Races; and the dreamy “A Winter’s Tale,” one of the last songs Mercury recorded his vocals for prior to his death in 1991. However, those choices aren’t real story here on Forever: rather, it’s the inclusion of three previously unreleased tracks featuring Mercury’s vocals that had now been posthumously completed or reworked similar to the approach taken on the 1995 Made in Heaven album: the soaring “Let Me In Your Heart Again,” first recorded during The Works session, is a revelation; “Love Kills,” which was originally a Giorgio Moroder co-written and co-produced dance track from the Metropolis soundtrack, is rendered here as a stripped-down rock version – Queen and Adam Lambert had done the song in that manner live during the recent U.S. tour; and finally, the long-awaited duet between Mercury and Michael Jackson on “There Must Be More Than Life to This,” which later ended up on Mercury’s Mr. Bad Guy record with just him on vocals. Even though this is obviously drawn from archival recordings, it’s still so nice to finally hear some new ‘old’ Queen material and Mercury’s vocals once more since Made in Heaven. They all add up to a satisfying collection showing Queen’s tender yet still dramatic side. One can only now hope the vaults to some more previously unreleased material will see the light of day.

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