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A Day At The Races

2 Ratings: 1.5
An album by Queen

Both regal and raunchy, Queen was at the height of its powers in the mid-70s, riding the soaring vocals of Freddie Mercury, the ringing guitar crunch of Brian May and the band's shameless theatrical flourishes. Coming so quickly after the band'sA Night … see full wiki

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1 review about A Day At The Races

Queen keep the home fires burning...

  • May 1, 2000
Queen albums are comprised of three sorts of song:

Firstly, those which are so good and are so popular as to form part of the artistic canon by which we will judge the 20th century - in this category consider the entire contents of their first "Greatest Hits" album.

Secondly, there are those songs which never received radio play, but which were in many cases as good as or better than the greatest hits, but which will in all likelihood go down with the band, unless, after a suitable period, a studious young rocker discovers and revives them and becomes a global phenomenon - in this category put "I'm in love with my car"; the truly awesome "It's late" and "Dreamer's Ball", none of which feature on this record.

Lastly there's the filler stuff - usually listenable enough without being essential, but every now and then dropping below the "well and truly execrable" line.

A Day at the Races sails a tack closer to the third then either of the first two categories - it neither has much in the way of greatest hits, nor has it any hidden gems, and at least three of the tracks are out and out clunkers.

"Tie Your Mother Down" and "Somebody to Love" are the bone fide classics, the latter the more successful as, for all his hilarious posturing Freddie didn't really have it in his heart to be a proper rocker. Maybe throw "Good old Fashioned Lover Boy" in there as well, but if these make the twenty greatest hits then they're all in the bottom half of the table.

There are no hidden surprises amongst the rest of the material, and the clunkers abound: the dirge-like "You take my breath away" is an okay idea which Freddie would develop with far greater panache in "My Melancholy Blues", and "Millionaire's Waltz, while amusing enough, is an tired rehash of old ideas which ends up sounding somewhere between "Lazing on a Sunday Afternoon" and "Seaside Rendezvous" but with the appeal of neither.

And then there is the truly awful "Teo torriatte", which represents a depth of sentimental tripe to which Queen wouldn't venture again until the utterly unforgiveable "Is this the World we created?" in 1984.

The upshot of all this - if you want to research the back catalogue of this great band, here is most definitely not the place to start.

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2 Ratings: +1.5
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A Day At The Races
Label: Hollywood Records
Artist: Queen
Release Date: March 5, 1991

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