Friday, March 23, 2007

Electric Fire

Radio ga-ga, A kind of magic, I'm in love with my car, Tenement Funster, Ride the wild wind - five fantastic songs performed by Queen and written by Roger Taylor, the drummer out of Queen. And he wrote several other pretty good songs for Queen too.

But if you total them up, he wrote less than ten good songs in 20 years of being in Queen. This probably goes a long way to explaining why his solo albums are, erm, of variable quality.

Yesterday I listened to his 1998 solo album 'Electric Fire' for the first time since, well, 1998. Its really not that good. In fact, I'd go as far as to say its a bad album. It has few redeeming features.

In his solo career, Roger has managed to produce some good stuff - the title track of the Strange Frontier album is fantastic, Foreign Sand from 'Happiness?' (1994) is outstanding and Heaven for Everyone from 'Shove it' by 'The Cross' (a side project he had from 1987 to 1991) is great and was even re-made into a Queen song (using Freddie's vocals from 1988) in 1995.

But he suffers the same problem as many solo artists - a complete lack of quality control. I assume that when he was working on songs for Queen, one of the other members of the band would encourage him to work on the weaker parts of a song, etc. so that a masterpiece like Radio ga-ga could be crafted.

On his 1994 album, Happiness?, the music on most of the songs is great, but each song is generally let down by pretty bad lyrics. Even the best song, Foreign Sand, is let down by suggesting that the solution to all the world's problems is simply to 'say hello'...

But his 1998 album, Electric Fire, is bad both musically and lyrically. I have tried to find redeeming features in this album - I actually want to like it - but there aren't any, except for the outstanding backing vocals of Treanna Morris (now lead singer with Wiredaisies [website][myspace]). But backing vocals can't adequately redeem any song. Sorry. The CD goes back on the shelf for another decade...

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