Queen – Queen (1973)

Max Collet

Student, aged 19

‘Queen’ – the debut album by the band of the same name was released in 1973 and you can immediately hear the influences from bands like Led Zeppelin. Great vocal harmonies feature throughout this album as well as great guitar work from Brian May. ‘Keep Yourself Alive’ begins the album and immediately sets the tone with rocking guitars. Unfortunately, a theme that repeats throughout this album, are the awful sounding drums which would be fixed for the second album. 

The second track ‘Doing Alright’ is a great ballad leading into a rocking middle section to then ease down again at the end. Great King Rat demonstrates Mercury’s incredible way of words through his lyrics and his insane vocal control and range. ‘My Fairy King’ has great instrumentation but that is all that really stuck out for me. 

‘Liar’ is by far my favourite on the album. Insane guitar work from Brian May yet again and even the bassist John Deacon delivering an amazing bass solo throughout the extended instrumental section. ‘The Night Comes Down’ has an extremely intricate acoustic guitar part but nothing else really stood out for me. ‘Modern Times Rock N Roll’ has Roger Taylor on lead vocals which really makes the listener realise how amazing Freddie Mercury’s vocals are on this album. 

Another steady rocking song. ‘Son And Daughter’ is another favourite of mine with great high vocal harmonies and interesting lyrics. A lot of the themes on this album are quite fantastical and religious. ‘Jesus’ is a clear example of this lyrical writing from Mercury again. ‘Seven Seas Of Rhye’ would be the band’s first top 10 hit from their next album in 1974 and here is merely just an instrumental to close the album. It is quite an odd ending to the album and left me quite confused. However, this was still a highly enjoyable listen, and I would rate this album 7/10. A strong debut album and showed the band’s potential of what was to come.

Jason Piper

Business Psychologist, Associate Professor

From the outset this album has a relentless drive, proper lyrics, sung from the heart and oodles of sonic-surprises. The first of Queen’s many albums, the DNA of Queen’s decades-long quest for sonic innovation all starts here. Close harmonies, Brian May’s Red Special guitar, doctorate-level time signatures that make nuclear physics look like light-reading…oh and Freddie’s vocals. Any band starting out now would be blessed to have one of those attributes but to have all of them under one roof on your first album come on!!

When this album was released in 1973, you could still insist on having a drum solo and Queen’s democratic nature rings out as Roger Taylor not only gets a few bars to bang away on his own but gets to start a few songs too. In fact, on Liar he keeps Brian May at bay for a full 22 seconds but when, as on so many Queen tracks, that guitar kicks in…well there are no words. 50 years later we still worship at the altar of that man’s outrageous talent.

Is every song a classic? Er…no. Are any of them bad? Heck no. Freddie could sing out the small print on an Apple iPhone contract and make it sound good. Although on ‘Mad the Swine’ even the immortal Mercury is pushing his luck making the lyric ‘but this time I wear no sandals’ sound good but it’s bonkers enough to make you wonder what was in his tea that morning.

Songs are only as long as they need to be and many are a musical adventure rivalled only by the madness of their musical cousins ELO. In many respects, they also share ELO’s penchant for sticking two fingers up at the establishment and

This was a golden era for song writing and pushing the boundaries of rock and roll. I can’t help but mourn that loss of bravery in our mainstream music ‘these days’. Perhaps this kind of boundary-stretching music is still being made…somewhere on the Seven Seas of Rhye..see what I did there?

Kingston link:

Queen supported Yes at their Kingston Polytechnic show of February 1971.

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