Sound — 10
Queen had just slammed into the #1 slot with the single Bohemian Rhapsody from their last album, the epic A Night At The Opera. Here, they were pressed to top themselves, and so, out of innovation, they made a "sister" album to Anato. There are songs that can be coupled from both albums, and the titles are similar however, most similarities end there. This is, basically, A Night At The Opera quality music with very good, almost 80's style studio production. The sound for every song matches it perfectly, from the rough hard-rock of Tie Your Mother Down, to the playful, clean guitar sound on The Millionaire Waltz, and back again for a guitar sound imitating an orchestra in Teo Torriatte. If you feel that A Night At The Opera had a little rough production, this album is a bushel of candy. However, it's not one of their more "meaty" albums. They cover a diverse palette of styles here, as was their way of doing things in the 70's. Here, you'll find piano ballads, gospel-falvored rock, hard rock, and yes even a strauss waltz put to axework. If you like rock that's fun, Queen, and especially A Day At The Races, is for you.
Lyrics — 8
An interesting thing to note on this album is that quite a few of the songs here are about love, more so than their usual rate. However, the production of each song matches the lyrics very well. Tie Your Mother Down, a song about young lust and restlessness (the speaker wants his girlfriend to "Tie Her Mother Down" and get her daddy out of doors so he can have his way with his girlfriend) is matched with a very hard crunch in the thumping riff. White Man is also a rocker with rough production and nice guitarwork. You Take My Breath Away, about utter devotion to a lover, has a piano sound that gives the feeling of eerie hopelessness. Good Old Fashioned Lover Boy has the vaudeville piano, thumping bassline, and a great, Killer Queen-esque solo. Freddie's singing here is at its peak. Somebody to Love attests to his amazing vocal range. He also proves he can sing a hard song with his rough tones in Tie Your Mother Down and White Man. To summarize, vocals here are dazzling.
Overall Impression — 10
My overall impression of this album. When I got it before A Night At The Opera, I was a bit disappointed. And then I listened to this album. It is great, even if lacking in more hard rock than was their usual. Though a handful of songs are about love, they are all quite varied, so it adds a sense of fun to the album without being lyrically monotonous. However, the bottom line here, is that every song is perfectly distinct from each other. Each song has a different guitar tone, different lyrical outlook, and different structure. It suffices to say that it will keep you entertained for a while. This album compares very well with other Queen albums, it is perhaps the last of their "early" records, with the ornate and complex style. Not a single song here can be pointed out as the weakest of the album, and though I love Queen, I have to say, on some of their albums there's always that one song that kinda drags or brings the overall quality down a peg. If this was stolen or lost, I definately would replace it, and soon. (I considered buying another copy when I thought it was scratched). As a final word, and I've said this before, if you like rock that is good while it is fun, A Day At The Races would probably be a good album for you. If you like hard rock, this album has some, but you'll find it more on their other albums (esp. News of the World). And, well, if you just like good music, I suggest this to you.