Ohhh lawdy, here it comes, Queen II, their best album (in my opinion). There are so many great songs on this album that almost nobody knows, since this and Queen's eponymous album are the most unknown of their catalog. I think I'll start off by listing songs that most would think I would mention.
Although this is a great song, probably the best on the album, "March of the Black Queen" didn't make the cut. I wanted people to hear a different side of Queen, and whenever this album is brought up everyone obsesses over "Black Queen." Another thing I'd like to point out for the future is that none of my chosen songs will be singles, meaning that they had gotten some airplay at one point. This, in turn, rules out "Seven Seas of Rhye." Yet another great song in its own right, also launching Queen to their first international success.
Heh, after thinking about it, I can't really decide on one song to represent this marvelous album. So I've decided to dedicate one song to the "White" side (side A), and one to the Black side (side B).
Queen II-*White Side*- White Queen (As It Began)
Super Awesome Live Version-
Right off the bat we get a delicious taste of young Brian May's orchestral guitar sorcery. For those of you who haven't listened to the entire album in full, this album uses a technique of blending the songs into each other, making no direct "transition" from each song to the next. This is what you hear with May's guitar coming from the previous track "Father to Son" (yet another great song off this album). The song itself starts off with some nice phaser-filled arpeggios from May, accompanied by lyrics from Mercury (duh). The atmosphere created from the phaser gives a swirling "out-of-this-world" sound to the mix, allowing for Mercury's voice to take you on a journey.
At 1:19 the song starts to take on a new atmosphere, guided by the backing vocals. But this transition isn't such a smooth one, at 1:33 the song takes on a more "hard rock" vibe, noted most by May's dynamically-enhanced guitar and the entire band's syllable accents on Mercury's voice. At around 2:00 the original theme resumes, but the song is still left with a touch of heaviness by May's quintessential guitar feedback.
The bridge of the song occurs around the 2:30 mark with May's guitar setting another mood with the beautiful orchestral arrangement that it is. Part of the chorus' theme is included but is soon overtaken by what i believe to be a nylon-string acoustic, May (pun intended) be a classical guitar as well, at the 2:43 mark. This guitar makes multiple appearances on other Queen albums, most noted by the sound of the nylon "buzzing" sound (most likely to do with the action of the guitar). The guitar is led along by backing vocals and, slowly but surely, a gong (most likely played in reverse based on the similar sound in "Ogre Battle").
The song returns back to the original theme at 3:26, but the solo is not yet over. May's guitar rebuilds the main theme alongside his layered guitar orchestra in the background. Mercury resumes the vocals and the song ends almost the same "As It Began." cwatididther?
Queen II as an album itself is a great work of art, and I highly advise anyone and everyone to give it a listen. If you don't like it, that's fine. But make sure you give each side a listen. IMO the "Black" side is better than the "White." And both are better than "Hot Space" (which I rue the day I do a blog for )
Be back tomorrow (if I'm not lazy) for the "Black" side to Queen II.