Queen - "News of the World" (40th Anniversary Edition) [Album Review]

- Nov 13, 2017 at 09:45PM
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Rating: 10 out of 10
When you think about the most popular band of all time, I would assume that for many, The Beatles is the first band that comes to mind. It is debatable who that second most popular band is. Is it The Rolling Stones? The Eagles? Led Zeppelin? Pink Floyd? AC/DC? I would argue that the second most popular rock band of all time is Queen. Going beyond total records sold, and the fact that an incarnation of Queen is still playing arenas and stadiums, the Queen catalog is inescapable. Can you go to a major sporting event without hearing "We Will Rock You?" Can you go to a karaoke night where "Bohemian Rhapsody" isn't being attempted? Can you listen to an old-school hip-hop playlist that doesn't have "Ice Ice Baby" (a.k.a. "Under Pressure") on it? The influence is everywhere, not just on classic rock radio stations.

Released in October 1977, News of the World is one of Queen's top-selling studio albums. It opens with the aforementioned "We Will Rock You," then goes into another anthem, "We Are The Champions." News features songwriting contributions from all four members of Queen -- not just frontman Freddie Mercury and guitarist Brian May -- like the melodic punk staple "Sheer Heart Attack" from drummer Roger Taylor and the John Deacon-penned single "Spread Your Wings." The 11 songs of News go across all sorts of tempos and rock genres, as the reggae-tinged "Get Down, Make Love" sounds little like the blues-rock of "Sleeping On The Sidewalk" or the theatrical piano balladry of "My Melancholy Blues." Simply put, News still flows like well from start to finish 40 years later.

What makes this new 40th anniversary deluxe edition of News of the World special isn't just the original disc being remastered, however. A three-disc package, this set is full of interesting extras. Disc two is full of never-before-heard alternate versions of each of the 11 songs. Dubbed the Raw Sessions, this CD offers different vocal and instrumental tracks from you are used to hearing. Disc three, aptly titled Bonus Tracks, is a collection of rarities. It includes instrumentals and Queen's five-song BBC Radio session from 1977. There is also a special edition of the set including a DVD and an option for the remastered album on LP, which this reviewer did not have the opportunity to check out.

While some classic rock bands have already released all of the greatness from their vaults, this box set gives hope that Queen may still have some unreleased greatness to unveil. Either way, Queen can respectfully rest on its laurels knowing that its existing recordings stand the test of time, critically and commercially. News of the World showcases a top band in peak form, and this new release from Hollywood Records ought to appeal to new fans and Queen die-hards alike.

News of the World (40th Anniversary Edition) Track Listing:
CD 1: The Original Album (Bob Ludwig 2011 master)

01. We Will Rock You (May) 2:01
02. We Are The Champions (Mercury) 2:59
03. Sheer Heart Attack (Taylor) 3:26
04. All Dead, All Dead (May) 3:10
05. Spread Your Wings (Deacon) 4:34
06. Fight From The Inside (Taylor) 3:03
07. Get Down, Make Love (Mercury) 3:51
08. Sleeping On The Sidewalk (May) 3:06
09. Who Needs You (Deacon) 3:05
10. It's Late (May) 6.26
11. My Melancholy Blues (Mercury) 3:29

CD 2: Raw Sessions:

01. We Will Rock You (Alternative Version) 2:29
02. We Are The Champions (Alternative Version) 4:33
03. Sheer Heart Attack (Original Rough Mix) 4:17
04. All Dead, All Dead (Original Rough Mix) 3:08
05. Spread Your Wings (Alternative Take) 4:56
06. Fight From The Inside (Demo Vocal Version) 3:08
07. Get Down, Make Love (Early Take) 4:02
08. Sleeping On The Sidewalk (Live in the USA, 1977) 3:49
09. Who Needs You (Acoustic Take) 2:46
10. It's Late (Alternative Version) 6:44
11. My Melancholy Blues (Original Rough Mix) 3:36

CD 3: Bonus Tracks:

01. Feelings Feelings (Take 10, July 1977) 1:55
02. We Will Rock You (BBC Session) 1:36
03. We Will Rock You (Fast) (BBC Session) 2:52
04. Spread Your Wings (BBC Session) 5:33
05. It's Late (BBC Session) 6:39
06. My Melancholy Blues (BBC Session) 3:13
07. We Will Rock You (Backing Track) 2:03
08. We Are The Champions (Backing Track) 2:59
09. Spread Your Wings (Instrumental) 4:23
10. Fight From The Inside (Instrumental) 3:02
11. Get Down, Make Love (Instrumental) 3:49
12. It's Late (USA Radio Edit 1978) 3:52
13. Sheer Heart Attack (Live in Paris 1979) 3:35
14. We Will Rock You (Live in Tokyo 1982) 2:55
15. My Melancholy Blues (Live in Houston 1977) 3:48
16. Get Down, Make Love (Live in Montreal 1981) 4:35
17. Spread Your Wings (Live in Europe 1979) 5:20
18. We Will Rock You (Live at the MK Bowl 1982) 2:08
19. We Are The Champions (Live at the MK Bowl 1982) 3:32

Release Date: November 17, 2017

Check out the video for the hit single "We Will Rock You"!

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