Retro review: “Queen”

By alicia bhardwaj

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Queen’s eponymous first album released in 1973 is often overlooked in comparison  to their more well known albums, such as a “Night at the Opera”. However, some of my favorite Queen songs of all time are on this album. “Queen” has a very 70s sound and a solid rock base but it still possesses the theatricality that the band would later become known for.

Several songs in particular are standouts on this album. The strong guitar and drum make “Great King Rat” a solid example of early Queen rock, but it manages to stay up-tempo and theatrical as well. It’s also a bit folky, featuring tambourine and narrative lyrics. “Great King Rat” is followed by one of my personal favorites,“My Fairy King”. Freddie Mercury sings “My Fairy King” in a lovely soprano, backed by a perfect combination of piano and electric guitar. The lyrics in “My Fairy King” are creative and quirky, depicting Freddie’s talents and imagination as a songwriter. It is one of Queen’s many theatrical pieces.

“Liar” is another powerhouse rock song on “Queen”. This song in particular truly portrays Freddie’s vocal talents while simultaneously showcasing Brian May’s guitar skills in a strong solo. “The Night Comes Down” is a beautiful and complex piece featuring sitar, drums and guitar.

The mellow 70s sound of this song juxtaposes “Son and Daughter” which is arguably the most dynamic song on the album. Heavy drums and guitar as well as fierce vocals make this a definitive depiction of Queen’s rock and roll side. The sexy and powerful vibe of this song makes it another favorite Queen song of mine. Perhaps the most well known song on the album, “Seven Seas of Rhye” possesses that trademark Queen theatricality. Featuring up-tempo piano and a catchy melody, this is certainly a Queen classic.

In comparison to their more popular albums released in later years, “Queen” was still a triumphant first effort. With lots of impressive songs and a defined sound, Queen was already off to an successful start. I suggest you take the time to listen to the entire album when you get the chance, in order to reintroduce yourself to a little band called Queen and find some new favorites.

Alicia Bhardwaj can be reached at [email protected]