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Some people may disagree, but A Day at the Races is possibly Queen's best album. A little more mainstream and a little less quirky than a Night at the Opera, it carefully balances a range of song styles and moods, effortlessly mixing commercial tracks with more experimental ones. The end result is a cracking album which contains only a couple of songs that might be regarded as "filler"
The range of different musical styles offered up by the album means that no two tracks are alike. This in turn means there should be something to appeal to all tastes. Whilst arguments may rage over which is the album's best song, the overall quality can't be denied.
Once again, the musical ability of the group shines through. For me, the trio of Queen II, A Night at the Opera and A Day at the Races showcase the band at their musical and creative best. Later albums might be better known by non-Queen fans, but it was this golden period in the early-late 70s when the band reached their prime. Freddie Mercury's vocals are incredible, some of Brain May's guitar playing stunning, whilst Roger Taylor and John Taylor provide an excellent foundation on drums and bass guitar respectively. Each group member provides back-up vocals and occasionally take over lead vocals from Mercury which helps with the album's sense of variety. All have very different vocal styles and strengths, but they all blend together to create a fantastic aural experience
Tie Your Mother Down
I know this highly regarded by a lot of fans and there's no denying it has a great rock beat that gets you tapping your toes. Despite this, I always feel slightly disappointed by this track. The vocals feel a little raw, the melody slightly aimless and somehow the whole thing just feels a little unfinished. Just my opinion but (as with A Night at the Opera) this is a slightly weak opening track.
You Take My Breath Away
Not to be confused with the Sting song of the same name, this is a wonderful little ballad which shows off the vocal ability of all the band members. Large parts of it are done without instruments, yet the harmonies achieved through the blending of the different voices is fantastic. Mercury may have opened the album with big, brash vocals, but here he shows he can do quiet and sensitive too. Slightly let down by an unnecessary double ending.
Brian May takes over vocals on this one and whilst his voice might lack the sheer raw power of Mercury's, it is well-suited to this wistful, slightly mournful song. A cracking paced light ballad style belies some powerful words.
The Millionaire Waltz
I always feel this song actually belongs on A Night at the Opera, as it has that same quirky edge. There are very few bands that could take the basic structure of the Waltz and turn it into something like this. Some great vocals and lovely interplay between piano and lead guitar make this a great song. It's a really fun song to listen to and will have you smiling at the slightly daft lyrics and singing along with the great tune.
You and I
This is a great little song which once again manages to capture a sense of yearning and nostalgia. Some simple, but evocative lyrics combine with a strong tune, full of contrasts. The difference in tone between the heavier, middle section and the rest of the song provides a sharp contrast that fits in well, but will the sudden shift will surprise you the first time you hear it. The only real let-down is the ending, as the song seems to fizzle out a little bit into nothing.
Somebody to Love
One of Queen's best known songs and it's easy to see why. A fantastic song that starts quietly and gradually builds throughout to an incredibly powerful climax. The words are actually meaningful, whilst Freddie Mercury's vocals are just incredible. The range of notes vocal power needed for this song is incredibly challenging and Freddie nails it. This is so challenging vocally that few people have succeeded in singing it properly, nor should they try. George Michael gave it a fair stab at the Freddie Mercury Tribute concert, but all it proved is that was only one man who could do this track justice. This is the original and the best.
Changing tack slightly, this is Queen's political song, looking at the treatment of Native Americans at the hands of the migrating Europeans. The words tend to get rather lost (limiting their impact), whilst the tune is not at all memorable. Roger Taylor gets to do some nice drum work, particularly right at the end of the song, but this can't disguise the fact that this is the weakest song on the album.
Good Old Fashioned Lover Boy
Another Queen classic which gets a lot of airtime, but that's no bad thing. Once again, the tune has a slightly quirky edge to it and the blending of voices and instruments is perfect. A great guitar solo in the middle is the icing on the cake for this great sing-along song.
Freddie Mercury makes way for Roger Taylor on this track. I don't normally like Taylor-penned or sung songs, as I find his style dull and repetitive and his lyrics strained. This one, though, is a cracker. Taylor's husky voice perfectly suits the wistful nature of the song and the lyrics always send a shiver down my spine, perfectly summing up the regret of missed opportunities and a wasted life ("Never wanted to be the boy next door/Always thought I'd be something more/It ain't easy for a small town boy/It ain't easy at all).
Teo Torriate (Let Us Cling Together)
And so we save the best till last. A breath-takingly powerful song about love separated. The lyrics are hugely evocative and emotional, whilst the tune contrasts a quiet verse with a stronger chorus and an almost palpably angry middle section. By the time a group of children's voices join in with the final chorus, the song has built to a real emotional crescendo that leaves you wanting to listen to the whole thing again. Overall: 9/10
I always have problems whether A Night at the Opera and A Day at the Races is my favourite Queen album. Opera probably has more individual stand-out, quirky songs, but Races is more consistent in terms of the overall quality. Which one I prefer at any point tends to depend on what mood I'm in. If I'm feeling quirky or fancy the sheer preposterous power of The Prophet's Song or Bohemian Rhapsody, I tend to go for Opera, if I'm in the mood for something slightly more mainstream things, then Races goes into the CD player. If pushed, I'd probably say Races just edges it overall, but it's a damn close run thing.
The album can be bought new for around a tenner on CD or tracks downloaded individually for around 69p each. Personally, I still prefer to possess the physical item, but whichever method you choose, it's great value for money.
© Copyright SWSt 2010
A Day at the Races is an album by the band Queen. It is the fifth album and was released in December 1976. The album was the bands first completely self-produced album. It was recorded at Sarm East, The Manor and Wessex Studios in England. The album title was picked as a follow on from the previous album A Night at the Opera. The album reached number one in the Uk and several other countries.
Sadly the album I think was not as good as its predecessor but that was going to be hard as it was one of the best albums Queen ever recorded. It still produced 3 classic tracks. Tie Your Mother Down a fast rock song, Somebody to Love which features Freddie at his best and Good Old-Fashioned Lover Boy. Another track that I love on this album but other may not agree is You Take My Breath Away. A very slow song with Freddie and the piano.
The album was known as a good album but not a great album and I agree with them. But it still produced some gems and still sold records. I would still recommend this album to anyone but its best to go it with an open mind but if you want a hard rocking album all the way through. This is not for you.
A Day At The Races by Queen was first released in 1976. I didn't care for it much then and I still don't think it's great now. That's not because it's a bad album or anything, just because a lot of the songs on here don't appeal to me personally.
Some of the songs are here are classic rock and roll songs. For example "Tie Your Mother Down", the first song on the album, is very 'get up and go'. It's a great song and one that I like on its own. There are far too many floaty songs on here though. This includes "You Take My Breath Away" which just drones on to be honest and "Teo Torriatte" (showing off with a Japanese name).
"Somebody to Love" is one I've never been quite sure about it. I didn't like it start with, then I did, now I'm sick of it to be honest. It's a bit like "Bohemian Rhapsody" I suppose (Queen's biggest hit to date) - it just wears thin when you keep on hearing the same song over and again.
Instrumentally the band haven't progressed much since their early 70s albums by this stage and their vocal performances have actually gone back a step on this album. It's all a bit simple and was possibly more of a money-spinning venture than any great work the band poured hours of heart and soul into.
I have to give this three stars as some classic songs came from this album but I'd recommend spending your money on a greatest hit album that has the hit songs on and forgetting about the fillers.
1. Tie Your Mother Down
2. You Take My Breath Away
3. Long Away
4. The Millionaire Waltz
5. You and I
6. Somebody to Love
7. White Man
8. Good Old-Fashioned Lover Boy
10. Teo Torriatte (Let Us Cling Together
Queen showed that they are a group that can produce more than the one or two good albums when they release this album. Looking at this album, Queen show light rock and heavy rock, and they sound great when playing both. This album is on par With A Night At the Opera, although there isn't a song on it that is quite as good as "Bohemian Rhapsody".
"Tie Your Mother Down" is a great rock song which is many fans favourite, Queen play this song very well live too, in fact in most of their live concerts this song was featured, which is why most Queen fans will recognise this title. Brian May again demonstrates why he is regarded as one of the best guitar players of all time.
The album slows down with "You Take My Breath Away" and "Long Away", I find these songs are o.k. but "You Take My Breath Away" seems a bit depressing. These are not theuir best songs, and for me are songs that are easily forgotten.
The album hits it's peak with "The Millionaire Waltz" and "You And I", two very good songs, which other than "White man" and "Tie Your Mother Down" are the best songs on this album. There are two Greatest Hit songs featured on this album, "Somebody To Love" and "Good Old Fashioned Lover Boy", in my view these are two very average songs.
"White Man" goes back to the Heavy Queen and this is probably on par with "Tie Your Mother Down". Queen finish the album, in style with "Teo Torriatte", where Freddie sings in two different languages, a very enjoyably song and a very enjoyable album to listen to. I think this album is worth giving 8 out of 10, just about as good as their previous album and still worth buying.
Queen - 'A Day at the Races ' - released 1976 . Following on from the hugely successful 'Night at the Opera' , what better than the title 'A Day at the Races' ? So this time around , what do you get for your money , and could he album live up to the standards set by 'A Night at the Opera' ? Well , for starters you get 10 great tracks , again encompassing a wide range of musical styles , although it should be said that this could have almost been called 'The Love Album' , however such a title would not befit a rock group ! And yes , is does live up to the high standards set by the last album The track listing is as follows : ( track title , views) 'A Day At The Races' 1) Tie Your Mother Down The Times Newspaper actually summed this record up as ' Sheer Bloody Poetry ' . Starting off sound almost like a Japanese opera ( performed by Brian May ) , the symbols crash then the rock begins . An unforgettable pice of rock genius . A must for live performaces , and true rock classic . Well suited to Brian1s guitar playing , and Freddie1s superb vocals . Queen at the richest . 2) You Take My Breath Away Chilling love ballad that oozes class . Freddies vocal expression could bring a tear to any hard rockers eyes . Brilliant. 3) Long Away A great guitar intro that leads to a traditional Queen song. A rock love song of distinction. 4) The Millionaire Waltz Could so easily have come from the Opera album . Slight 30's feel , all about lost love . Watch out at about 2 mins 30 secs , for the true rock section - most unexpecting , but very clever . And after that rock section what would you expect , well Queen give you something almost caberet in style , and end in traditional Queen style . 5) You and I Rock 'n' Roll flavour Queen style that is , and written by no other
than John Deacon . If only relationships were a fun as this . 6) Somebody To Love A true classic . An operatic/gospel rock ballad in the vein of 'Bo Rhap' . At this time Queen had fully mastered and cornered the market in vocal overdubs. A spine chilling piece of Queen history . Should have been a no. 1. 7) White Man Moody , eastern feel to this piece of rock , which takes a full minute to kick in . Head banging greatness . 8) Good Old Fashioned Lover Boy Back to ballads . Written by Freddie , no doubt for a then boyfriend , such was his sexuality . A varied musical masterpiece , brought to the fore by Brains guitar. 9) Drowse Roger Taylor wrote this slow mild rock ditty , that does seem a little out of place on the record . That is not to say that it isn't any good , just different . 10) Teo Torriatte ( Let Us Cling Together ) The ultimate Queen ballad . Written by Brian May during or just after a Japanese tour , this just shrieks of spine tingling quality . My choice tracks : Somebody To Love , Teo Torriate , Tie your mother down As for the album sleeve , a direct oposit to the previous album , with the Queen crest shown against a pure black background. Really eye catching. As per 'Opera' , you get some great group photographs ( the individual ones really show the 70's for what fashion really was ) , along with track listing and track lyrics .
Disc #1 Tracklisting
1 Long Away
2 Millionaire Waltz
3 You And I
4 Somebody To Love
5 White Man
6 Good Old Fashioned Lover Boy
8 Teo Torriate (Let Us Cling Together)
9 Tie Your Mother Down
10 You Take My Breath Away