Concept albums today often target very real or specific scenarios. In recent years, Linkin Park warned us of looming nuclear destruction in 2010's A Thousand Suns, while Muse sang about the loss of empathy in warfare in Drones. Concept albums back in the day didn't have as much fire to use to create such vivid examples of a real-life scenario, so artists would have to create their own worlds.
There are few bands that can boast about being as iconic as Queen. A band with a formidable legacy and unstoppable grandiose, Queen have always been at the forefront of rock, giving many of the genre's more robust acts (looking at The Resistance by Muse here) the means to do so. Their talent as a band was shown from the very first moments of their career. Queen's self-titled debut Queen was an enchanting masterpiece that brought fantasy to life in a operatic rock n' roll fashion.
In 1971, rock n' roll was only just reaching a new stage. Led Zeppelin had begun crafting their own, more aggressive and out-there rock sound a few years earlier, with bands like AC/DC soon to burst into the scene as well. Queen opened their career with the galloping guitar intro of 'Keep Yourself Alive,' a big, upbeat song with a dramatic start and a big drive to lead the record in on a rolling start. 'Modern Times Rock N' Roll' later on in the record perhaps more accurately describes the state of the genre then, the quick and punchy delivery under drummer Roger Taylor taking over for Queen's claim-to-fame Freddie Mercury as grand vocals sing high above the jagged guitars.
What makes Queen such an enchanting album is the characters it builds. Beginning with 'Great King Rat,' Mercury began writing in characters of some fantastic world. The awesome intro to song leads into a description of the character as the song begins to create a world as it goes through the life of the King Rat. It feels like a full story about him, the parts of the songs separating the action into major points of the arc. 'My Fairy King' follows with a more mysterious and dark sound, the atmosphere beautiful and even more fantastical as Mercury hits some awesome notes and dynamics, leading to an epic build at the end of the song.
All of Queen has a pretty enchanting tale to tell, even if songs don't necessarily relate to the world Mercury began to build. 'Liar,' for example, tells the tale of someone who is looking down upon by the whole world but still trudges forward with the belief in himself (the song's epic atmosphere helps give it a sort of uplifting vibe). The riff of 'The Night Comes Down' is another very capturing moment, sounding very adventurous and uncertain. It grabs you and paints a very interesting image in your mind. The grooviness of 'Son and Daughter' helps keep the album's drive on before the amazing melodies and lyrics of 'Jesus' begin to close out the album, the tale ending off as you sail into the sunset on the 'Seven Seas Of Rhye...'
Queen's self-titled debut was an enchanting masterpiece, to say the least. Freddie Mercury built a beautiful and unknown world, every note on the album telling the tale of a hero and of a world that can only be formed by imagination. Queen's legacy will never be forgotten and will forever stand as one of the supporting pillars of the grand temple of rock n' roll, the foundations of which were quickly building from their very first effort.
Favorite Tracks: The Night Comes Down, Great King Rat, Liar
Least Favorite Track: Modern Times Rock N' Roll
Rating: 95 / 100
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