Sound — 8
My first impression of this band was from an AIDS Day Charity Single released last year, which was the single "Say It's Not True," a Roger Taylor penned anthem about the HIV/AIDS pandemic. It seemed that Queen could retain all of their respective musical trademarks, w/ the great Paul Rodgers at the helm of the microphone; he seemed very comfortable at his post in this new group. I couldn't wait for October 28 to get my hands on the first NEW Queen record in 13 years! So, I quickly ordered the 'Album Club' version off of their Online Store. 'The Cosmos Rocks' I would fairly state is a modern pop-rock album with flavors and tints of country, blues, hard-rock, and of course a ballad. Would you expect there to be an album with these guys and not have a ballad?! There weren't a whole lot of innovations on this album, different ideas re-hashed and cleverly thrown together from their respective storied careers. Brian May, Paul Rodgers, and Roger Taylor are responsible for all of the work on this album. You can clearly tell that they are interacting with one another on this. Sadly it is a diamond in the rough to find an organic rock record like this in the 21st Century world of ProTools, and pre-fabricated acts. The three of them also share songwriting and executive producer credits. From the sound of the album, it sounds like they had a great time at Roger's studio making this.
Lyrics — 9
The lyrics kind of drift between socio-political commentary, and light-hearted fun, and storytelling. I would say that there is a fairly healthy balance with these lyrical themes; with a leaning towards light-heartedness that you'll find on "Call Me," "Cosmos Rockin'," "Surf's Up School's Out," & "Still Burnin'." Honestly I was expecting "Surf's Up, School's Out" to be horrible based on the title alone... but I was happily mistaken. I would say you can hear their maturity and contentment with keeping the arrangements and music pretty simplified (I would assume to keep the record more 'organic') and it worked. But the more basic arrangements are kind of hard to get used to considering Queen's reputation for always "taking a left turn, when you think it's going right." I have to say that Paul Rodgers' voice is truly like a fine wine... I've heard all of his best albums, and I have to say on this album his voice is in the best form I've ever heard. True power, soul, and such range. And as an added bonus; it's wonderful to hear Rodgers' voice blend with May's and Taylor's voices in the signature Queen vocal harmonies.
Overall Impression — 8
This honestly is a fairly different record compared to a lot of the music that has come out this year. This is the first album where Queen has songs that have a pop-country flavour to them ("Call Me," "Small"). This album probably features the most bluesy Queen song ("Voodoo") since, "Sleeping On The Sidewalk." (News Of The World 1977) One of their songs even has kind of a U2 like feel to it ("Time To Shine"). "C-lebrity" & "Warboys" are without question the heavy songs on the album. Very cool work on the wah by Dr. May on "Warboys." You can clearly tell that they are feeling each other out musically on this record. You can hear certain slight Free/Firm/Bad Company trademarks on the record as well as the Queen trademarks. I really hope they record a follow-up record where they write collaboratively with limited pre-arranged material. I love that these three legends are collaborating together on this album, and that they've ventured forth in this new band!! The only qualm that I have about this record is that it isn't heavy enough. I would've liked to hear some progressive elements in this as well. As I final thought I love this album, and it will forever be a part of my collection! I encourage all of you to go and check it out! 'The Cosmos Rocks' is clearly a healthy alternative to the status quo of crap circulating the radio today.