I love the band Queen because in a world where bands stick with one sound, and one genre of music Queen never did that. While they may not be in my top ten of greatest bands of all time I will admit that they are pretty damn awesome. Freddie. That voice, and then there’s the rest of the band. Every record was always interesting because they sounded so good together. Every record tried something new and usually it worked. As shitty as Another One Bites The Dust is you can’t really hate it because it’s a perfect pop song. Queen wrote a perfect pop song and you know you want to hate it, but you’re too busy shaking your ass to it. It took me a long time to respect the band because of who they were. They were fucking Queen. They couldn’t be called anything other than Queen. They were metal, they were pop. It was always something different and that was the appeal. and what made them so damn successful. That was what I realized much later when I could appreciate everything the band had to offer.
In my teens I wasn’t a huge fan because they bored me. I didn’t really appreciate them until I was in my late twenties. The first record I really actually fell in love with was The Miracle. That was the moment where it all clicked and the brilliance of what Queen was and is, fell into place. It has those shitty pop moments, but it’s lyrically brilliant. That was moment I realized that I had missed out on what other people already knew about Queen.
The one album that I haven’t listened is Hot Space. There’s a reason for this. It’s been thirty-one years since I’ve heard it in its entirety. I truly believe we all have that one album that makes us puke a little in our mouth every time we think about it. I have two. Kiss’ Music From The Elder, and Queen’s Hot Space. I used to get a lot of my records from the bargain bin (still do) because there would be times that you would find a true gem among the other pieces of shit that nobody else wanted. It’s where I found The Firm’s debut album (come to think about it I got the second album there as well and on the same day) and many others. You could buy four or five albums for around five bucks which was a pretty good deal for kids that were looking for good music. There were stacks upon stacks of albums in there. You just had to dig a little.
As a fan of metal imagine my delight when I found Hot Space. It was a Queen album and it was in the bargain bin. It had to be a mistake right? This was fucking Queen! As soon as I dropped the needle I was mortified. I knew enough about the band to realize that something was wrong. Who were these impostors? I removed the needle and checked the album to make sure no one fucked up and sure enough it was Queen but what the fuck happened to them? It was Hot Space that turned me off of Queen. I had News Of The World and that was only because a friend of mine hated it so he gave it to me. I loved that record, but Hot Space was fucking clown shoes. I listened to it and then took it off my turntable and carved Kiss into its shitty grooves and put it back in its shitty looking sleeve.
Even the album cover sucks. You only hear about this record because of Under Pressure and that’s not even a good song. It sucks worse than a hooker loose in a trailer park and she has an overbite. Nothing about this album was good. It was one of those experiments that bands have and it seems great on paper, but then you get the finished product and it’s a steaming pile of dog shit. Even the band hates this record and it’s the one album that real Queen fans don’t acknowledge because it’s the one blemish on a stellar career. Wait, we can lump the Flash Gordon soundtrack in with Hot Space can’t we? I swore that I would never listen to this shitnado again, but I lied. My girlfriend swears this album isn’t as bad as I remember so I’m going to listen to it one more time. Fuck, just the thought of it made me throw up in my mouth a little.
Staying Power has fucking horns which isn’t bad, but the lyrics are terrible and where are Roger Taylor’s drums?? This just a terrible album opener that shows a band trying to move in a new direction but seem confused. I like Dancer. It’s still got those shitty drum machines but it has a bit of swagger to it. This should have opened the record. It sounds like Queen while sounding different if that makes any sense. You can tell that this is Queen and if the rest of the record sounded like this I wouldn’t be puking after this song ends. I can see myself booty dancing to this.
So far, this isn’t as bad I remember. There are elements that still feel like Queen. Oh shit, it’s Back Chat. This is just an awful song and reminds me of why I hate this album so much. I hate shitty pop/nu wave and this is what Queen was trying to emulate. The lyrics are vapid and where the fuck is Roger Taylor? Who brought in a goddamned drum machine? I’m starting to agree with the band on this one. Body Language. Fuck. What the hell? This was the best they could write? This is actually beats Staying Power for worse song on the record and we’re only four songs in? Skip this one.
Now that I’ve escaped the shit that was Body Language I hit Action This Day. I like this. It has that Nu Wave vibe and the shitty drum machine, but it still sounds like Queen. It’s pretty bad lyrically but if you’re listening to this record you know that it could be worse. I could see this on another Queen album and it would fit. Maybe Works, or Innuendo. I like two out of four songs. I think my overall opinion of thirty one years ago isn’t going to change much but goddamn Put Out The Fire gives me hope. This is classic Queen! There’s hope right??
Life Is Real ( A Song For John Lennon) is yet another one you can skip. They really scraped the bottom of the barrel in terms of lyrics. I threw up a little just trying to get through this. Calling all Girls. Fuck I can’t even begin to describe the train wreck that this song is. It’s simple. which is fine, but only the chorus is any good and that’s saying a lot. The rest of the song is just as bad as everything else on this album. This can’t be Queen. Sadly it is and they’re on autopilot. The Words Of Love sounds like Save Me but not as good. Close to being good, but it just feels like the band are finally realizing just how badly they fucked up. The Words Of Love is a pretty decent by the numbers Queen ballad that has a whole band again.
That’s been the problem with this album. They took everything great about Queen and replaced it with synths, and drum machines. Queen isn’t a mindless pop band and when you listen to Freddie’s falsetto on Cool Cat you begin to see just how bad this experiment was. When you try and dumb yourself down to try and reinvent yourself you better make sure you can pull it off. It’s a song that just doesn’t make a Queen fan happy. There’s nothing here that’s memorable at all. Under Pressure is the most well known song on the album and its death knell. It’s a terrible song that once again misses the mark because it’s Queen trying to sound like Queen, but the album is so bad you’re too exhausted to care. Is it heavy? Yep, is it a cool Queen anthem? To some it’s like the second coming of Christ. Problem is that it’s just mediocre at best. There are better songs and there are far better records.
I struggled through it and skipped half because it’s just as unremarkable as I remember. No matter how you approach it or remaster it, it still sounds dated. It sounds like a band that has run out of ideas so they chased a few trends and come up with an uneven album that fails on a variety of fronts. No one member can be blamed for this. They all had to agree on the material but if you look at the interviews from this record they knew they fucked up, and there was no going back. They had to sell the fucking thing, but how? You couldn’t. It’s a moment that no one thought could happen. Queen wasn’t supposed to suck, but suddenly they did. Hot Mess, I mean Hot Space is proof that no one is perfect. Not even Queen. Now do I really want to listen to its follow up The Works? I can barely remember it so maybe that’s a sign. Shit, where’s my vinyl collection. Let me put on the debut record and try and forget I listened to this.