Rocking You to Sleep from the Otherside

For a couple of years some of my friends and I have been sharing music. We’re supposed to review/rate what gets shared with us, and share those reviews with the group, but that doesn’t always happen.

Queen – II (1974)

Tim shared Queen. Again. I’m not complaining. He’s getting himself ready to go see them + Adam Lambert in a couple of weeks.

I tried to pay attention to the lyrics because I knew I’d love most if not all of the music. And I’m kind of glad I did, because I realized that I didn’t really connect with any of their lyrics. They mostly seemed to just tell stories; they were just entertainment. Which is totally fine. They have some great arrangements, but at least these songs didn’t really mean anything to me. Most songs by most bands don’t.

Some Day One Day (and, to a lesser extent, Funny How Love Is) felt the most “mainstream” ’60s/’70s psychedelic jangle pop rock of anything I’ve ever heard from Queen. It just doesn’t feel like them at all; it feels like everyone else. I know they didn’t sell out, but this feels like it.

I think this may be my least favorite Queen album so far. It’s not bad, but it feels just kind of uninspired. Even the single from the album, Seven Seas of Rhye, is weak compared to all their other monster hits. The Fairy Feller’s Master-Stroke and The March of the Black Queen were just as great, although evidently less radio-friendly. And I think Ogre Battle was the best of the bunch, but definitely less radio-friendly than Seven Seas of Rhye. 3.33/5

Here’s what my friends had to say:

“I just gave this a quick listen, but every queen album I listen too I realize I don’t know any of their deeper album stuff (I guess thats what happens when you only have their greatest hits). I really liked this and would probably say that I like it more than Made in Heaven or A Kind of Magic. I think I just like their older stuff more. I never cared much for the 7 Seas of Rhye on their greatest hits, but it fits a lot better here in the context of the album I think.” 4.2/5 – Spencer

Perfume Genius – No Shape (2017)

I didn’t love his voice. I didn’t hate it either, but I don’t think I could listen to it a ton. The wordless, last half of Wreath bothered me a little.

But I did like the general feel of most of the songs. It wasn’t what I was expecting. I mean, Sides kind of was. I was expecting a modern tribute to ’80s pop (as opposed to the modern bubble gum pop, which I think is trashy), which I feel like I got with Sides, although I’m not sure if I heard it because I was wanting it, you know? Go Ahead, too, to an extent. I heard some Michael Jackson influence in it.

I didn’t really care for Die 4 You, which felt like a sex scene in a movie soundtrack. I also didn’t really like Run Me Through. It’s just not my thing. Not that I don’t like some of the more subdued stuff. Every Night was good without being sensual. I think it and Slip Away ended too soon. Not that they wasn’t complete. I just wanted more of them. My favorite, though, was the album opener, Otherside. It was almost a spiritual experience. It reminded me of Arcade Fire’s Intervention. And that’s a compliment. Those three songs were the ones I immediately wanted to go back and listen to this week.

Choir was just interesting. I really liked it. It was creepy, but it had more emotion than just dread or whatever.

I was really surprised at how much I liked this album. More than I liked Queen II. 3.38/5

From my friends:

“I really tried to like this one, but I found it kind of boring. I don’t think he is anyway close to Freddy. Well I take that back, he hits they same high notes, but I kind of leave it at that.

There were some interesting songs. But overall I feel like the music gets in the way of his poetry. I mean he seems to be a real genius with words, and telling a story he wants to tell, but the music seems to take away from that. Honestly, I think he could be a first class poet, but as a musician he kind of is mediocre parading as spectacular.

I can see why you like it Chris, I really can. It just seems to me a little below average compared to other albums you have shared. I think it takes a certain state of mind to connect to his words and music, and I guess this week my mind wasn’t there.” 2/5 – Tim

The Struts – Everybody Wants (2014)

Since Tim shared Queen, so I’m responding with a modern glam metal band that’s more Queen and Panic! at the Disco than The Darkness, although there’s certainly some of them in there as well. They released the album in 2014, and then re-released it in 2016 with a couple of different tracks. And then re-released again this year in Japan with some more bonus tracks, including a Queen cover.

That pretty much gives you everything you need to know.

Here’s what my friends had to say:

“I really liked this one, and see your Queen homage here much more than I did with Chris’s. It was a good album, and very fun to listen to overall. I actually went back to it twice during the week last week. I feel like they had their harmonies, both vocal and musical, down pat. If I had one complaint it was that the song placement on the album didn’t seem to flow well. If I had a second complaint, it is that the lyrics at times felt dialed in, but not enough to distract from the rest of the album.” 4/5 – Tim

“I did finally get this one listened to. I liked it better than the Darkness, it seemed a little less like a parody of glam rock, but I can’t really defend those impressions. There were quite a few catchy songs, and (like the darkness) I really like the vocal and guitar harmonies. The only thing I don’t like is the rather sexual lyrics and themes which I think is a signature of glam rock but I’d really like a glam rock band like one of these that had more “family friendly” words.” 3.9/5 – Spencer

Please leave your own comments about Queen, Perfume Genius, The Struts, or some other band that reminds you of Queen in the comments section below.

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