Sound — 8
Being a big fan of Queen, when I heard Queen + Paul Rodgers were releasing an album, at first I was a bit skeptic. Freddie was one of, if not the, best rock vocalist ever. Period. The fact they were replacing not just Bassist John Deacon, but were also replacing Freddie has me concerned it wouldn't live up to either half of the band's name. At first when I put the album on, I felt those fears were confirmed. Then I listened to it another time, and a wide grin spread across my face. Though he'll never compare to Freddie, the change in sound with Paul Rodgers wasn't as big as I thought it would be, and Brian's guitar, quite possibly the second-biggest part of Queen's sound, is still as wonderful as even. It's not the Queen we all remember. It's not as good as when it had Freddie. And it's not the same style. But hating it for the last of those is just idiotic; Queen has done so many different styles of music, a style change should be expected with every album in my opinion.
Lyrics — 9
Once more, it takes a hit because, well, it's Queen without Freddie. It doesn't have the man who brought us Bohemian Rhapsody, but it still has Brian's writing, and Paul's a pretty good writer himself, albeit a bit more hard-rock than the other Roger and Brian. Brian and Roger still have the same magic they had back in Queen, and whoever they replaced John with(what is the new bassists name anyway? ) does a good job at filling that hole. Paul comes in right where Freddie did, pulling all of it together with a powerful vocal presentation. It's not as good as Freddie, but it's not that bad, and you have to give him credit for trying. Paul is definitely one of the more skilled vocalists in rock, and while he's just not on the same level Freddie was, he does a good job of filling the hole. Just don't hold the vocals as high as you'd like and you can appreciate it.
Overall Impression — 8
Compared to previous Queen albums, it's really no contest for the old albums. Then again, most bands don't compare after so much time, especially when they've lost a member, particularly one as crucial as a vocalist. Paul Rodgers does an admirable job at trying to follow Freddie's example. It's hard for me to love a Queen album without Freddie. It's also hard for me to dislike a Queen album, so I'd definitely recommend listening before buying it. If you can look past the fact Freddie is sadly gone though, it's a pretty good album, and hopefully Page can do just as good a job finding a similar vocalist to Plant as Brian did with Freddie.