Monday, October 06, 2008

The Cosmos Rocks

I bought the new 'Queen + Paul Rodgers' CD on CD-WOW a couple of weeks ago. It still hasn't arrived. So the other day I got fed up and a copy from someone else...

Circumstances have contrived to make it very hard for me to listen to this album. The first issue was my wife, who actively dislikes Queen, so I didn't get to listen to it in the house. Then my car stereo decided to stop talking to my iPod. Hmph. But I have now managed to listen to it a few times. And I have formed an opinion:

Its quite good.

Considered as a Queen album its clearly not one of the greats. But maybe that's not a fair comparison. As a Paul Rodgers solo album featuring Brian May and Roger Taylor its pretty good. It ranks as generally better - and more consistent - than the rest of Brian May's solo output and is head and shoulders above almost everything Roger Taylor has done as a solo artist (or with 'The Cross'). So I'm happy with it.

  1. Cosmos Rockin'
    What's with the 'scary' voice at the start? It was off-putting the first few times I listened, and then I realised it actually is quite Queen-ish. They're clearly trying to sound like Queen here. Basically this is old-fashioned rock 'n' roll. And absolutely fine for all that. The title is a bit contrived, I get the feeling that the title and the song evolved independently and were tagged together, but I could be wrong. Sounds to me (haven't seen the writing credits yet) like a Brian May tune with Paul Rodgers lyrics.
  2. Time to Shine
    Nice. Another May/Rodgers composition, I guess.
  3. Still Burnin'
    This is a 'we're not dead yet...' song. I'm guessing its originally a Roger Taylor song with input from the other two. Album filler, but not too bad. Good backing vocals from Roger and the WWRY bit is good and appropriate.
  4. Small
    Lighters in the air. Quietly strummed ballad with anthemic sounding chorus. Good. But I'm sure we've heard the guitar solo somewhere before.
  5. Warboys
    This is what I feared the whole album would sound like. Uninspired Roger Taylor lyrics, OTT Brian May guitar and Paul Rodgers grunting about in the middle. Thankfully it only lasts for one song. I'm sure we've heard that guitar stuff somewhere before too. Not bad but far from great.
  6. We Believe
    Lighters back in the air. Yes, this world can be made a better place if only we all join together, grow our hair long and curly and wear clogs. Musically its a quite good album track, lyrically its a bit much. I suppose you can't have everything. This would have fitted quite nicely on 'Back to the Light' or 'Made in heaven', if you like those albums, you'll like this.
  7. Call Me
    This has to be the most chauvinist, egotistical sentiment on the album - "Call me if you need my love". Truly awful. Only a 70s rock star could write or song this. But musically its perfectly fine, really quite good actually. Sounds like a pure Brian May song.
  8. Voodoo
    Bluesy. One of the best songs on the album. I can't really imagine Freddie singing this one.
  9. Some Things That Glitter
    Surely the most nonsensical opening line on the album: "Once I loved a butterfly, don't wonder how, don't ask me why...". Yet another ballad. Yet another perfectly serviceable song, neither great not bad. Guitar work kind of reminiscent of the late 70s Queen stuff.
  10. C-Lebrity
    Another Roger lyric. Rock song by numbers. Scores a 'C-' try harder next time.
  11. Through the Night
    Guitar ballad. Something annoys me about the way that PR sings the word 'through' every time. And as it occurs many times in this song its hard to get past it. "Throooeoeoooough". But there's lots of nice guitar bits in there too. A bit like 'Nothin but blue', in a good way.
  12. Say It's Not True
    Well, we've heard this before. In this version it comes across more like "Foreign Sand" than I'd noticed before. But as Foreign Sand is Roger's best solo track since Freddie died, that's not necessarily a bad thing. Its a small song, more suited to Roger's and Brian's voices and kind of loses its 'smallness' when PR's big voice takes over.
  13. Surf's Up... School's Out!
    A jam session that should really be a single b-side, not on the album. Quite a lot of cliche rolled into one song.
  14. Small Reprise
    The guitar ballad style reprise to 'Small' (track 4). Not really a track in its own right.
So. If you like Brian May's solo work, you'll almost certainly like this. If you like Paul Rodgers stuff, you'll probably like this. If you're a Queen fan, you might like this. But its not really Queen.

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