Found classic is a new series where I review an older album of some kind. Sometimes the albums will be well known. Other times the albums will be overlooked gems. It is all in the name of giving you a well rounded musical education.
I recently got back into collecting vinyl. I say got back because I was alive when vinyl was the primary medium for music distribution. As a fan of music I’ve adapted with the distribution over the years, first with compact discs, and now with digital. I’ll fully admit loving to be able to hear whatever song I feel like listening to, whenever I feel like listening to it.
Still it’s nice to put a full album on and let it play the way the artist envisioned it. So I picked up a used turntable, dusted off the vinyl records I had from my youth, and started listening to full albums. I’ve also picked up new vinyl in the form of newly released albums and in the form of used classics. One of those purchases was Queen’s A Night At The Opera. It’s the classic album that brought the hits “Best Friend” and, more notably, “Bohemian Rhapsody” to our pop cultural world.
Queen is one of those bands that always has a place in the background music of our lives. They were groundbreaking bringing a collage of styles to each album and transforming the face of rock and roll in their own way. From the anthemic “We Will Rock You/We Are the Champions” played at virtually every sporting event, to the resurgence of “Bohemian Rhapsody” in the 90’s courtesy of Wayne’s World, to their ever present play on rock radio Queen has always just been there. I’m well acquainted with their hits, but I’ve never really delved past that.
I’ve been missing out.
The album begins and ends in much the same way. The first cut, “Death on Two Legs(Dedicated To…),” starts with piano, adds in some driving guitar, and fills out with masterful vocal work with harmonies and faux operatic moments. It isn’t as stylistically diverse as the next to final cut, “Bohemian Rhapsody,” but it shares the same artistic adventure. Really this album shares that same ethos of artistic adventure. From the old timey sounds of “Sunday Afternoon” and “Seaside Rendezvous” to the futuristic sounds of “The Prophet’s Song” and the ballad-like quality of “‘39” this album has everything.
You would think that the amount of diversity in sound would end in a tragic mess of unlistenable sounds. It’s Queen, they’ve kind of made living of taking absurd theatrics and making them work. This was their fourth studio album and they were progressing nicely from their hard rock beginnings. It is widely regarded as one of their best albums with good reason.
In this day and age of digital singles and music on demand, it’s good to pull out a classic and give it a full listen. This album is available on Spotify, iTunes, and Amazon Digital as well as CD and vinyl editions. If you haven’t already heard it, I would highly recommend you put this on your ‘to listen’ list.
Agree? Disagree? Have an album you think I should review next? Leave a comment or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.