After seeing Bohemian Rhapsody, I decided to take a closer look at one of Queen’s best
albums, A Night at the Opera. This album was very ahead of its time in 1975, and it wasn’t cheap. At its release it was the most expensive rock album ever made, estimated cost was £40,000, which today is worth about $350,000. With a peculiar blend of genres all grounded in a rock and roll format, it still makes for an interesting listen today. Let’s get into it.
Freddy Mercury. 10.
The instrumentation on this album is crazy. Some of these tracks use piano and
wild harmonies to create a sound reminiscent of a music hall ballad or Dixieland jazz, but the pounding drums and electric guitar keep it rooted in rock and roll. Brian May has a very distinctive way of playing guitar, he’s just smooth as butter on the frets. Roger Taylor beats the devil out of the drums underneath all the madness already going on, and John Deacon lays down some really complex and grooving bass lines. These three, along with arguably (but not really) the best vocals in rock music are a factory for making catchy songs.
The X-factor here is the production, as well as how the album is arranged as a whole. It really does feel like it could be played all the way through at an opera hall, and you’d be entertained. Curtains open to “Death on Two Legs”, a winding rock ballad featuring some of the sharpest Brian May solos on the album. After this, a brief interlude, as Freddy Mercury sings a hollow sounding vocal on “Lazy Sunday Afternoon” accompanied on a show-tune sounding piano. Then you get up and go to the bathroom or get snacks while Roger Taylor sings “I’m In Love With My Car”, and you make it back just in time for “You’re my Best Friend.” After a tumultuous 30 minutes, you hear “Bohemian Rhapsody”, which is a musical gem that is unlike anything else out there. It’s really worth a play through.
“Bohemian Rhapsody”, “Death on Two Legs”, and “Love of My Life”
A beautiful album.