Release Date: Nov 10, 2014
Record label: Hollywood
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Contemporary Pop/Rock, Album Rock, Heavy Metal, Hard Rock, Art Rock, Arena Rock, Dance-Rock, British Metal, Glam Rock
Queen has been compiled many times over; in fact, the amount of these compilation discs is a little ridiculous. For every Deep Cuts release, a series that tries to shine a light on Queen’s criminally forgotten album tracks, there have been maybe another half-dozen greatest hits/singles collections waiting to pounce and steal the attention. But guitarist Brian May and drummer Roger Taylor, the two members currently keeping the glam juggernaut somewhat alive, have found a way to bring these non-hits some greater attention.
“Queen bring back Freddie,” announces the Forever blurb. Medical science may be unable to raise the dead. But this latest compilation unearths three tracks that Queen recorded with the late frontman, which now jostle with a career-spanning selection of heart-tugging ballads to “bring back Freddie” to the Christmas market. A consummate Freddie Mercury is at his most confident in opener Let Me in Your Heart Again, a huge piano- and guitar-driven power ballad from the sessions that produced Radio Ga Ga.
Sold upon its November 2014 release as a compilation containing some unearthed, even "forgotten," material, Queen Forever doesn't contain much new in either its standard or deluxe versions. Just three songs, actually: a finished version of the Works outtake "Let Me in Your Heart Again," a reworked version of Freddie Mercury's solo "Love Kills" from the soundtrack to Giorgio Moroder's Metropolis, and a completed version of "There Must Be More to Life Than This," a Freddie duet with Michael Jackson from the early '80s. Relatively interesting selections all, the best is "Let Me in Your Heart Again," which approximates much of the band's peak majesty (an alternate version slathered in synths by William Orbit is not so successful), but "There Must Be More to Life Than This" is a cheery bit of showbiz schmaltz hampered only by a production that makes its piecemeal origins too clear ("Love Kills," now a ballad, is merely OK).
Three things the world doesn’t need: 1) Dapper Laughs. 2) Ebola. 3) Another Queen compilation album. When the world already has Greatest Hits Vol 1 (amazing), Greatest Hits Vol 2 (amazing), Greatest Hits Vol 3 (amazi...alright it’s actually a bit surplus, but it does have ‘Thank God It’s Christmas’ on it) plus a myriad of other random shuffles of the same songs, the casual Queen fan surely has had their fill? Queen are one of those rare bands, like Abba and the Beatles, whose greatest hits come pre-loaded into all of us.
Queen operates within a very odd and unique space in rock history, as it is simultaneously incredibly overrated and grossly underrated. The group is music’s equivalent to the ‘90s Atlanta Braves: amazing talents and accomplishments, but not quite in the pantheon of the all-time greats. Even though Queen had transcendent moments, like its performance at Live Aid, it was never a band that got the attention that Led Zeppelin or The Who did, despite the fact that every positive comment ever spoken about the band has been in the most extreme superlative.