Queen still reigns
SOUNDS FAMILIAR - Baby A. Gil (The Philippine Star) - October 27, 2014 - 12:00am

Deep Cuts, the new series of albums from the great rock band Queen, was born from a most interesting concept. Deep Cuts means to go deep into and in this case, it is deep into the Queen catalogue to unearth hidden gems. And that is just what the members of Queen and the producers, who put these albums together, did. They wanted something new and different. So instead of the hits or the singles, they chose rarely heard album cuts or the largely unheard B-Sides of the singles. 

This is why instead of Bohemian Rhapsody or Love Of My Life, Deep Cuts has The March Of The Black Queen, I’m In Love With My Car, Mustapha and Made In Heaven. This is why Dragon Attack, Lily Of The Valley, Is This The World We Created… and Ogre Battle, are here. So are Stone Cold Crazy, My Fairy King, Machines (Or Back To Humans), It’s A Beautiful Day, Ride the Wild Wind, Spread Your Wings, Staying Power, In The Lap Of The Gods…Revisited and many others. 

So for the Queen collector, Deep Cuts, Volumes 1, 2 and 3 make for an excellent way to complete your set without busting your budget. Get the three volumes of Deep Cuts and you will have nearly all of the songs Queen ever recorded. As for the non-Queen-fan, here is a great way to go beyond We Are The Champions and It’s Still Rock And Roll To Me and know more about the unique sort of music of this legendary rock band. And please note, I also love the black and white photographs used in the covers of these albums and the liner notes about how the songs were written.

But of course, a concept like Deep Cuts only works well in the case of Queen because even the band’s singles and album tracks are very well-made. Not as strong as the hits perhaps but still very strong when measured by the very exacting Queen standard.

Queen was born in London in the early ’70s. Its members were Freddie Mercury on vocals and piano; Brian May on vocals and guitar; John Deacon on bass; and Roger Taylor on drums and vocals. Big-selling albums like Sheer Heart Attack and A Night At The Opera and sold-out arena shows earned Queen the greatest rock band tag. The group often experimented with music, blending fantasy-themed songs with epic arrangements that Mercury’s incredible vocals and May’s virtuoso playing showed off to great advantage.  

Mercury died in 1991 while Deacon retired a short while later. May and Taylor continue to perform as Queen. The last tour featured American Idol finalist Adam Lambert singing the Mercury solos. Word has it that a new Queen album is set for release before the end of this year. Thanks to modern technology, it will feature vocals by the departed Mercury.

Still on Queen. Now also available is Queen Live at the Rainbow ’74. It is the 40th anniversary release of a live recording of the band’s first major concert at the Rainbow Theater in London in March and November, 1974. The concert was in celebration of the massive success of Sheer Heart Attack and features cuts from the album and Queen’s two earlier releases, Queen and Queen 2. The band gave the performance of a lifetime and it will be heard and seen again after 40 years in the DVD and Blu-Ray combo.

More Queen. In-keeping with what usually happens when putting together music for competitions, Queen’s call to war, We Will Rock You and paean to victory, We Are The Champions always make it to the line-up. This happened again in the soundtrack album of the recent 17th Asian Games held in Incheon. Take a look at the selections and up there, the No. 1 cut is no other but We Are The Champions by Queen.

The double CD and DVD set features western pop hits in one disc like Moves Like Jagger by Maroon 5; Applause by Lady Gaga; Roar by Katy Perry; Spectrum by Zedd. There are also more of the usual champion songs like Chariots Of Fire by Vangelis; The Winner Takes It All by ABBA; We Are Golden by Mika and I Gotta Feeling by The Black Eyed Peas.

What is really interesting about the compilation though is CD 2. It includes not only the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) Hymn but also songs of artists from all the participating countries. Foremost among them is JYJ from Korea which, as the act from the host country, gets to perform Only One (The Incheon Asiad Song). The K-Pop band also appears in the bonus DVD in the music video of Only One.

The other featured acts in the CD are Sa Dingding from China; Kary Ng from Hong Kong; Apache Indian feat. Raghav from India; Andra & The Backbone from Indonesia; Perfume from Japan; Ella from Malaysia; Sodagreen from Taiwan; King Pichet from Thailand; and from the Philippines, the sweet-voiced Sabrina with Paradise.

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