Aside from “I Want It All,” which is central to the setlists of concerts with Adam Lambert, THE MIRACLE is the widely overlooked ’80s album Queens, caught between radio-pop slingshot A KIND OF MAGIC and drama queen INNUENDO. To put it better, it’s more of an overheard album, which you can’t blame anyone for, thanks to weak yuppie sounds à la “Rain Must Fall” or “My Baby Does Me”. But it is quite often seen in online galleries with failed album covers. In fact, the artwork looks a bit creepy to today’s eyes (for fans of this organ, the back cover offers a real feast for the eyes) – in 1989 it raised eyebrows.
May and Taylor have been digging through archives
The facial amalgam was supposed to symbolize the new policy of showing the whole band for all songwriting credits (this was exceptionally the case with “One Vision”). Far too often the past of the Bombastrockers had been marked by Zasterzoff. Now Mercury had told his colleagues about his HIV infection during a visit to a restaurant and wanted to spend his last years in peace – especially with work. The re-release of THE MIRACLE is evidence of this, during the recording of which not only many songs of INNUENDO, which was released less than two years later, were created, but also so much material that they wanted to release this as an interim album “Another Miracle”. Back then there wasn’t enough time, today the rest of the band, guitarist Brian May and drummer Roger Taylor, have enough time available. They have thoroughly researched their archives and polished and supplemented old demos so that, as with MADE IN HEAVEN (1995) and most recently with the compilation FOREVER (2014), “new” Queen songs can be offered. They are, of course, the focus of interest in this massive eight-disc set.
“Face It Alone” as Mercury’s grim confrontation with his inevitable death
In addition to the original album on LP, which, as originally intended, included both the later May solo track as well as “Too Much Love Will Kill You”, which was then pimped up for MADE IN HEAVEN, in the regular tracklist, as well as a 2011 remaster on CD, we hear for the first time Mercury’s “When Love Breaks Up” – a sketch known in its abbreviated form as “A New Life Is Born” as the intro to Taylor’s “Breakthru”. In addition, there is the sluggish Mercury-Taylor duet “Dog With A Bone”, which has only been performed publicly once before, at the fan club meeting in 1988. The band’s individual greetings, similar to those of the Beatles Christmas singles, were left out out. Possibly to avoid excitement. Because the otherwise pale bass player John Deacon, of all people, teased sexistly towards the fan club leader Jacky Smith: “And Jacky, in return for us doing this musical offering for you, is, after we’ve finished, she’s going to come on and do a strip for you.” His “I Guess We’re Falling Out” is a radio-friendly pop song with ’70s harmony vocals in the chorus. It has been circulating on bootlegs for decades. May’s synth experiment “Water” and the acoustic number “You Belong To Me”, on the other hand, should surprise even hardcore fans. “Face It Alone” was probably chosen as a pre-single single because it could be marketed as Mercury’s dark confrontation with his inevitable death, as could MADE IN HEAVEN, which was badly engineered for that purpose.
For hours we experience small miracles here
In contrast to a clumsily named “Miracu-Mentals” CD with instrumentals (for the karaoke party?), the numerous demos are highly interesting. In addition to sometimes completely different lyrics – “Kashoggi’s Ship”, for example, deviates dramatically from the usual version, “Breakthru” even comes up with a whole alternative verse – it is above all amazing with what determination Mercury sets the tone and his band with detailed advice directs. Furthermore, the box collects consistently entertaining promo interviews from the time with a Mercury in a good mood, all B-sides and extended 12” versions, as well as a DVD and Blu-Ray with the videos of the phase and making-ofs. This box truly leaves nothing to be desired and lives up to the name of the album. For hours we experience small miracles here.
So let’s hope for similar insightful re-releases of albums like THE WORKS and INNUENDO, which also still have a few half-finished songs like the hi-speed instrumental “Back To Storm”, the Aerosmith-esque “Self Made Man” and the Kinks -y “Robbery” lying around. The next Christmas will definitely come… well, let’s just assume that for now.
Brian May :: Another World (Gold Series Reissue)
For more than six years, the rock icon hatched a surprise egg in the 90s.
Queen + Adam Lambert :: Live Around The World
One of the best home tribute rock shows in the world.
Queen :: The Singles Collection – Volume 4
Final and uninspired single farewell.
“Face It Alone”: Queen release video for new song with Freddie Mercury
The song from the sessions for “The Miracle” (1989) now also has a music video.
THE MIRACLE: The 13th Queen album is re-released as a Collector’s Edition
Included are five bonus CDs with alternative versions and previously unreleased songs. Among them is the new track “Face It Alone” with vocals by Freddie Mercury.
Queer pioneers or epic stadium rock: Who needs Queen these days?
“We Will Rock You” can already be recognized by the annoying drumbeat, with “Another One Bites The Dust” you only need to hear the notorious bass line. But what do you get from these and so many other internalized Queen classics? In the new pop column, Linus Volkmann digs behind the scenes of a band that, even dead, is larger than life. Interview with book author, Queen fan and ME editor Stephan Rehm Rozanes included.