Released: Oct 28, 2008
Label: Parlophone, Hollywood Records
Number Of Tracks: 14
The latest musical collaboration from Queen and Paul Rodgers doesn't quite live up the potential of these legendary rock musicians.
The Cosmos RocksFeatured review by: UG Team, on october 28, 2008 2 of 5 people found this review helpful
Sound: Given the fact that Queen and Paul Rodgers - arguably some of the most influential names in the world of classic rock - had combined forces to record a new album, it seemed destined to have stellar results. When Rodgers took on the endeavor as a touring member of the newest version of Queen, some fans might have been leery, but we could at least take solace in knowing that the Bad Company/Free frontman had the vocal chops to take on hits like We Are The Champions. When we talk about writing new material for the new album The Cosmos Rocks, however, the combination of Rodgers and Queen produces lackluster results. I wanted to love this record, but at times it just feels like the band only slightly tweaked traditional blues-rock tracks and called them new. Some of the 14 songs on the playlist are likeable, but coming from the likes of Brian May, Roger Taylor, and Paul Rodgers, you expect to blown away.
The album starts out with Cosmos Rockin, which sounds like it could fit right in with some of the 1950's old school rock and roll tunes - and in many ways, it does. There's a distinct Chuck Berry and Bill Haley vibe to it, and you honestly wouldn't guess that Queen was laying down the music on this one. Musically the band sounds tight and Rodgers' voice is better than ever, but the song itself feels a little unoriginal at the same time. This tends to be the case for quite a few of the tunes on The Cosmos Rocks, and it seems this hybrid band has purposely stayed away from the sounds and styles that made Queen a household name. There are a couple of tracks that lean toward the Bad Company sound (Some Things That Glitter does feel similar to BC's Seagull at times), but they still lack an originality that Rodgers' former band delivered.
When Queen + Paul Rodgers stray from the usual rock formula, things to tend to be more successful. Voodoo in no way resembles Godsmack's song of the same name, but the Queen version still has a laid-back, mysterious vibe. There's a unique time signature to Voodoo, and it features one of the most memorable and likeable choruses on the record. Thanks to a militaristic percussion vibe, Warboys gets off to an intriguing start. There's a distinct Bad Company influence to the rest of the track, and this time it's pulled off successfully. Brian May also allows his solos skills to shine on this one, albeit briefly, but it definitely injects more life into Warboys.May is also a highlight on the distinctly different Call Me, which is more of a soulful, stripped down blues number. There are very nice guitar textures heard in Call Me, and you actually can hear the May style that was so prevalent in the Mercury era of Queen.
Rodgers isn't the only one who steps up to the mic on The Cosmos Rocks. On the track Say It's Not True,Brian May and Roger Taylor take turns laying down vocals along with Rodgers. Musically it's a pretty straightforward ballad, but because the track was written for Nelson Mandela's 46664 Anti-AIDS campaign, there is a bit more of an emotional drive to it. And even with all of the extra vocals, it's Brian May's solo that steals the show. Out of all the tracks on the record, Say It's Not True is the one that makes you nod and say, That's the Queen I remember. // 6
Lyrics: The Cosmos Rocks has 2 polar extremes in terms of the lyrics. You'll get a moving, socially aware message in one moment, and the bare-basic rock formula in the next. It's hard to say which I prefer because, while I admire a band that takes the time to spread a positive message, things can also get a preachy. Brian May penned the track We Believe, which features lyrics such as, We believe there's a better way to fight"
There's a way to make our children safe at night "We believe there's a war we could be winning; But the only way to win it is to give what we need to receive. It's hard to knock a song like this or the Mandela-inspired Say It's Not True, but it feels a little forced when it stands next to songs that deliver the bare minimum lyrically.
At the other end of the spectrum are songs like Cosmos Rockin, which although done in good fun, tends to be pretty hollow. Rodgers sings, We dance out of the door, dance into the street; And all the people are swaying to the musical beat; We rock down the road and down to the town; And all the people stare and smile and they get down. This pays homage to the roots of rock obviously, but as the first track on the record it's somewhat of a letdown. // 7
Overall Impression: If Queen + Paul Rodgers continue to make records, perhaps they'll find a perfect little niche in the rock world. Currently the album just feels like it's straightforward, old school rock and roll, with only a few standout gems in the bunch. This group includes some of the best musicians in the rock world, and we're only allowed to see that talent shine here and there. While Rodgers sounds impeccable on every track, the core songwriting still needs some work. I have no doubt that Queen and Rodgers will be able to work out any musical // 6
The Cosmos Rocks
Mikeyw1233, on october 28, 2008 1 of 1 people found this review helpful
Sound: This is Queen's first studio album with new singer Paul Rodgers and is quite different from other Queen albums. The first thing you notice about this album is that it is heavier and bluseyer (made up word) than other Queen records which can be attributed to Paul Rodgers' singing style. He does not try to copy Freddie but instead sings how he does, which works very well with the rest of Queen albeit only two members- there was no bass player on the album, Brian May played most of it and I think Paul did some too, the lack of bass player is noticeable because John Deacon bass lines were very prominent and catchy but there is none of that on this album. The opening track, 'Cosmos Rockin'' is a rock and roll, upbeat and lively song and some of the other songs are similar to this. You will not find the Queen of old on this, there almost no operatic backing vocals and many more hard riffs such as 'C-lebrity'. Most of the tracks are rather plain and forgettable and there are no tracks that will really stay around as classic Queen such as 'Bohemian Rhapsody' 'We Will Rock' etc. But then again this is not the old Queen. The standout tracks for me are 'Cosmos Rockin'', 'Small', 'C-lebrity' and 'Say it's not true. Overall the songs are pretty average with nothing particularly special. // 7
Lyrics: The lyrics are full of Cliches: 'Rock and Roll will never die' and schools out' etc and most of the lyrics aren't great but Paul Rodgers sings them well so they can become quite strong with his voice combined with Brian's riffs. The lyrics are often fairly catchy though but they are not catchy enough for Queen. Paul Rodgers is no Freddie Mercury so he doesn't try to be and brings his own unique style to the band, which works well. It is much more of a rockier album than old Queen mainly because of the changes to suit Paul's voice. He sings with passion too and from the footage of seen of him live he has good stage presence so I think he is quite a good match for Queen. In 'Say It's not true' the whole band sing which works very well and contrasts with the rest of the album but is one of my favourite tracks because of the singing. I rate the lyrics 8 for good delivery and voice but not higher because of the cheesiness. // 8
Overall Impression: This is defiantly not a Queen album but a Queen+Paul Rodgers album- there is nothing like 'Bicycle Race' or 'Radio GaGa' but more along the lines of 'Fat Bottomed Girls and 'Tie Your Mother Down' which luckily two of my favourite Queen songs. I really like the rhythm of 'Cosmos Rockin''- it really gets your foot tapping and I love the riff of 'C-lebrity'. It is a blend of Paul Rodgers' bands (Free, Bad Company etc) and Queen. I really like some of the artwork on this album, it is all stars and planets and space- which could be down to Brian May's interest in Astronomy, which could also be where the name of the album came from. The only thing I really dislike is the lack of really memorable songs and more just 'nothing' tracks but that said I feel Paul Rodgers could be right for Queen. If it was stolen or lost I would not buy it again because I have it saved on iTunes and because I know all the good songs anyway. Overall I would say the album is good but not great. // 8
The Cosmos Rocks
bluesman6885, on october 30, 2008 0 of 0 people found this review helpful
Sound: 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. // 8
Lyrics: 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. // 9
Overall Impression: 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. // 8
The Cosmos Rocks
necrosis1193, on january 09, 2009 0 of 1 people found this review helpful
Sound: 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. // 8
Lyrics: 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. // 9
Overall Impression: 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. // 8