Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Not So Killer Queen

This 2005 tribute to Queen is no more of a tribute to the band than if I just puked in a bag and handed it to Freddie Mercury. Look at this lineup.

1. We Are the Champions - Gavin DeGraw
2. Tie Your Mother Down - Shinedown
3. Bohemian Rhapsody - Constantine M.
4. Stone Cold Crazy - Eleven, Josh Homme,
5. Good Old-Fashioned Lover Boy - Jason Mraz
6. Under Pressure - Joss Stone
7. Who Wants to Live Forever - Breaking Benjamin
8. Bicycle Race - Be Your Own Pet
9. Crazy Little Thing Called Love - Josh Kelley
10. Sleeping on the Sidewalk - Los Lobos
11. Killer Queen - Sum 41
12. Death on Two Legs - Rooney
13. Play the Game - Jon Brion
14. Bohemian Rhapsody - Flaming Lips
15. '39 - Ingram Hill, Ingram Hill
16. Fat Bottomed Girls - Antigone Rising

The 1971 Padres had more talent. Is there anyone here that has anything to do with the band?

AMG feels differently:

Freddie Mercury, Brian May, John Deacon, and Roger Taylor could make fey sound manly and inject complex melodic lines into straight-ahead megaton rockers -- this is known. Queen are a near impossible act to follow, but tribute after tribute proves that people are still willing to give it a shot. Hollywood Records offers up Killer Queen: A Tribute to Queen and takes as good a stab as any at trying to capture some of Queen's magic. Pagan god of American Idol, Constantine Maroulis' "Bohemian Rhapsody" is a Xerox copy of the original (helped in great part by the cast of the British Queen musical We Will Rock You). He sounds great, no doubt about that, injecting quite a bit of human feeling into the performance of a song that he obviously holds in the highest regard. Well, good for him. (Editor's Note: I love this next line. This was written a mere 5 years ago.) This CD surely will sell a few copies based on his presence alone, and that's precisely why he's on here with Joss Stone and Sum 41 in the first place. (Editor's note: Hilarious.) L.A. rockers Eleven turn down the speed and turn in a girthy version of "Stone Cold Crazy," taking the tune out of the mosh pit and into the back of Monster Magnet's tour bus. Rooney takes an ambitious stab at "Death on Two Legs" and proves that they can play it note for note. They just can't sing it (who can, anyway?). Los Lobos eat up some studio time with "Sleeping on the Sidewalk" and the Flaming Lips decide this whole thing is just too much trouble by giving up and recording another version of "Bohemian Rhapsody," a limp and route take on the tune that makes Constantine's version sound even more reverent than it already does. But none of this is the "real deal." It can't be, not without Freddie, and this brings to mind a quip, related by Led Zeppelin's most revered knob-twiddler, Glyn Johns, where a band he was recording kept begging him for that "Bonham" drum sound. "I'll tell you what," he said. "Here's the phone. Call him up and have him come down here to play the drums, because that's the only way you're going to bloody get it." There can be only one.

That's not a rave, but it certainly shows a little more respect for this compilation than I do. Oddly enough, the only two tracks I thought had any business being heard were Jon Brion's "Play The Game," which gets NO mention at all and Los Lobos" groovy take on Brian May's "Sleeping On The Sidewalk," which J. Scott McClintock of AMG implies was phoned in.

Take a listen to both.

Sleeping On The Sidewalk

Play The Game


steve simels said...

Sal --

Did you ever see Queen live?

Your thoughts?????

Sal Nunziato said...

I know we've had this discussion before and your experience was the absolute worst. I saw them prime, 1976, 1977, 1979 and even 1982. YES, it was difficult at times to recreate what was on record, but the shows were great. Freddie was a performer, Brian could play guitar, and I will go down defending their first 5 albums as classics.

FD13NYC said...

Queen with Paul Rodgers was bad enough. Now they should get more lame artists to do a Beach Boy tribute. See how wonderfully ingratiating that would sound.

Anonymous said...

I have a question for you? Can you sing or perform at all? How do get off saying that none of these tribute by some great artist aren't good and compare them to puking in a bag... really? Get a grip. Maybe the tributes aren't as good as the originals, but didn't they say they were trying to be?
But then again -- everyone is entitled to their own opinion. I just don't agree with you

Sal Nunziato said...

Well ANONYNMOUS, I do sing and play, but that's hardly the point. You're the second person this week to think that somehow you can only voice an opinion on something if you can do that something better. Are you a filmmaker? Have you ever not liked a movie?

My point was, this haphazardly put together "tribute" seems to offer little in the way of actually paying tribute.

And sorry if I offended all the Eleven and Be Your Own Pet fans out there.

Michael said...

Hard to pay tribute to a really bad band.