Stone Cold Classics
REVIEW BY: Melanie Love
ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 05/09/2006
If there's anything Queen doesn't need, it's another hits release. With Greatest Hits I, II, III, Classic Queen, Queen Rocks and last year's reissued Greatest Hits with a few new live tracks tacked on and no sign of promised box sets, it's enough to drive the band's loyal fanbase crazy. But, of course, this latest incarnation coincides with the band's April 11 appearance on American Idol. And, so I don't get flooded with any hate mail, I'm going to keep quiet on that venture…!
This limited release, Stone Cold Classics, features most of the usual suspects -- Freddie Mercury's masterpiece "Bohemian Rhapsody," the ever-present arena staple "We Will Rock You" and the blistering opener to Queen + Paul Rodgers' latest tour, "Tie Your Mother Down." Also appearing is the lesser known "Stone Cold Crazy," the frantic blues-rocker from 1974's Sheer Heart Attack later covered by Metallica.
And to counter the rock feel most of the album contains, there's also "These Are The Days Of Our Lives," drummer Roger Taylor's quietly introspective look back on life from days long past and "The Show Must Go On," Mercury's triumphant epic from the band's final album before his death, Innuendo.
The other bonus of purchasing Queen's latest cash cow? Two songs from Return Of The Champions, Paul Rodgers and his Free hit, "All Right Now" and Bad Company's "Feel Like Making Love." Both are standouts of the Queen + Paul Rodgers tour, with Brian May sounding more fantastic than ever with his Red Special and Rodgers in top form, even more so when it comes to his own material.
So while I'm trying to be objective, even the diehard Queen fan in me can't help but wonder what Richard Gray was thinking when he designed this cover. It seems like something anyone could have thrown together in a five-minute, slapdash Photoshop effort. The attempt to harken back to the iconic Queen II cover/"Bohemian Rhapsody" video looks lazy, especially when compared to Gray's work on 1995's Made In Heaven.
Of course, this is marketed towards casual fans through American Idol's enormous audience, but its selection of songs is inferior to Classic Queen or any other of the 513 incarnations of Greatest Hits. Then again, Stone Cold Classics seems to be doing what it intended, giving Queen its greatest chart success since 1992 when it entered the Billboard 200 at 45 earlier this week.
But then, I suppose us fans deserve to see our band triumph again, especially after sitting through Kellie Picker chopping up "Bohemian Rhapsody" or Ace Young trying to remove the drumbeat from "We Will Rock You" and turn it into a hip-hop song.