Forever in Our Hearts
“Love won’t leave you alone.” As the late Freddie Mercury howls this phrase in a painful crescendo during “Love Kills”, even the most cursory Queen fan can’t help but feel the sting. It’s been nearly 20 years since the band’s last studio album (Made In Heaven) and 24 since its last album with Mercury (Innuendo). Guitarist Brian May and drummer Roger Taylor pulled together the long anticipated Queen Forever, and what we find is a classy, careful compilation of love.
Alongside three never before heard tracks, 17 classics and hits like “You’re My Best Friend” and “Crazy Little Thing Called Love” are revisited and given a bit more color. In the new and improved version of “Somebody to Love,” the song fades out, and the two ending notes are cut. “Lily of the Valley” begins with Mercury’s piano melody, omitting the reverse guitar and the sung line “Baby, you’ve been had.” Loose ends are tied up and sounds are polished, vibrant and crisp.
Forever‘s third track, from Mercury’s 1985 album Mr. Bad Guy, is called “There Must Be More to Life Than This.” On this new take, Mercury is joined by fellow, late legend Michael Jackson. Simple and to the point, the song is a musical PSA on the human condition. As sweet and chilling as it is to hear Mercury and Jackson together, one is left wanting something more from this song.
“Let Me In Your Heart Again,” the album’s opening track, is a mid-tempo number recorded during sessions for The Works album in 1984. Mercury’s got one of the best voices in the history of rock and roll, there’s no disputing it. As he sings “But when I look away” in the opening line of the song’s bridge, you can almost see the wild ascension of the words crawl from the depths of his stomach, up through his throat, out of his mouth and into the air as if they meant to escape with all of his soul.
“Love Kills” was originally recorded in 1984 as Mercury’s first solo song and was produced with the help of Giorgio Moroder. The song originated as more of a disco number, but appears on the album as a larger-than-life ballad. It is an honest comment on heartbreak, with Mercury lamenting from the prison cell of love. As cheesy as some bitter love songs can be, this one is forthright without hitting those over-indulgent notes. As Mercury sings, “It [love] won’t let go,” May slips in with a stutter-stepping solo that begins to run away with your emotions. It doesn’t get far, though, before a simple, seven-note, sunset-on-a-Sunday melody chimes in to really puncture the ole bawl-bag. This song is pure magic.
The album is a total treat for Queen fans. There’s a feel of purpose to the compilation that can’t be ignored. Queen, forever and ever. Amen.