Sound — 8
Here, we have Queen under fire from the new Punk community of the late seventies. Bands like the Sex Pistols felt that such rock acts as Queen were all that were wrong with rock. So, Queen, being as versatile as they are, met with adversary. Here, you'll find such an abundance of hard rock, it surpasses the amount of any other Queen album. Certainly here Queen is morphing their style yet again in order to keep themselves fresh and on the edge. There is still a variety of genres to be found on this album, just like any of their others. There is all-out super-f--king-hard rock on the song "Sheer Heart Attack," anthemic rock with "We Will Rock You/We Are the Champions," blues with "Sleeping on the Sidewalk," a 40s-ish saloon ballad on "My Melancholy Blues," as well as others. There's a lot less studio tricks on this album then, say, A Night At The Opera, because on this album, they were going for a live, one-take kind of feel. However, production is rather raw the whole way through, if you're a fan of that.
Lyrics — 10
The lyrics on this album are quite varied. In major contrast to A Day At The Races, only two songs on this album is kind of about love, more like breakup songs, "Who Needs You" and "My Melancholy Blues." Otherwise, you've got some cool lyrics going on in this album. For example, everyone knows the words behing We Are The Champions. "Sheer Heart Attack" is about teenage angst in a punkish, full hard rock guitar. "Spread Your Wings," maybe the best song on the album, is about a lonely guy whose job is to sweep up a bar and his dream of faraway happiness. "Fight From the Inside." What can I say. Praise Roger for writing this song, there are not one, not two, but three killer riffs going on in this song, and not to mention the coolest intro of the album. He's talking about how a band's gotta fight from the inside if they're really going to make a mark in the music industry. Mercury's singing skills are good on this album. You won't find any swooping vocals here, because, as stated, this is supposed to be more of a liveish album. However, there's more presence of raw emotion in his vocals now.
Overall Impression — 8
This album stands up fairly well if pitted against Queen's other albums. It is also solid by today's standards. The two most impressive songs from this album are probably "Spread Your Wings" for its ability to invoke emotion in the listener, and "It's Late" for the nice riff, awesome instrumental, and being over 6 minutes long. The best and most prevelent quality of this album is its hard rock. This, with The Game, is their most popular album in the United States, and it's not hard to see why, since Led Zeppelin fans and other rock fans would universally enjoy it. The only thing that I can really complain about this album is the song "Get Down, Make Love." They lyrics are... well, you can guess what they are... and the instrumental--dear Lord, the instrumental sounds so dated, I laugh every time I hear it. However, if Nine Inch Nails covered it... It is worth buying, especially for fans of good guitar work and smart rock. Queen are departing a bit from their norm here. Good album, check it out!