You Make the Rocking World Go ’round

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 – Jazz (1978)

Tim continues his month of Queen with Jazz.

Except for last week’s II, Jazz follows the trend of every other Queen album we’ve listened to over the last few years: Some great hits, with the rest being solid songs and almost no total strike outs. And plenty of eclectic genre-jumping.

Dead on Time was a bit of a surprise. It reminded me of Stone Cold Crazy, which they wrote four years earlier. And while I appreciate the Metallica cover of Stone Cold Crazy, I feel like Dead on Time would have been a better song choice. While I appreciate a good hard rocker, If You Can’t Beat Them was a better non-single in my opinion. I mean, Fat Bottomed Girls and Don’t Stop Me Now were the best songs on the album, but those others aren’t as well known and are pretty good.

The album opener and In Only Seven Days were different, and that was good, although I feel like Mustapha would have been stronger more in the middle of the album. It could have used it’s uniqueness to break up the album instead of just being an outlier.

Queen always seems to have at least one song that doesn’t really feel like them. On this album, it’s Leaving Home Ain’t Easy. Like a couple of the songs on II, this song just sounds like a generic pop rock song from the late ’70s. Actually, this feels more like the pop of the era.

While Fun It was the song I liked the least, I feel like the weakest song on the album was Dreamer’s Ball. I kept backing up to listen to it, but there was never anything to catch my attention. 3.46/5

Since this is all I had to listen to this week, I also checked out some of the remixes, live tracks, acoustic takes and other bonus material. It was okay, but you’re not really missing a ton if you don’t check them out. And the 1991 Bicycle Race remix can be skipped even if you do check out the bonus tracks.

Circa Zero – Circus Hero (2014)

One of my favorite bands, The Rescues, released a new album last week (or at the end of last year when they say they released it, but it must have just been at their shows because I couldn’t find it anywhere). But come to find out, one of the multi-instrumentalists (who seemed to do most of the drumming) isn’t with them anymore.

Trying to figure out why and what else he might be up to, I remembered this collaboration he did with Andy Summers of The Police I had heard a while ago and decided to share it. Their project was called Circa Zero and the album Circus Hero after someone misheard the name of the project.

And it rocks. The Story Ends Here, Say Goodnight, Gamma Ray and Underwater are all great. The only song I don’t really care for is Summer Lies.

Here’s what my friends had to say:

“This might be my favorite album you’ve shared this year. It was solid throughout, and consistent from track to track. You could hear The Police influence, but it wasn’t overwhelming (which is fine by me because I don’t love The Police).

I honestly loved every track…until the end. That ending was just weak, and the song just didn’t fit the quality of the rest of the album. It was like they realized they needed one more track and didn’t have anything else on hand. But that being said, the rest of the album makes up for it. I really enjoyed it.” 4/5 – Tim

Feel free to share your own thoughts about Circa Zero, The Rescues, The Police, a side project, Queen, or some band you’re going to see soon down in the comments section.

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