REVIEW: Queen – Bohemian Rhapsody – The Original Soundtrack (2018)

QUEEN – Bohemian Rhapsody – The Original Soundtrack (2018 Hollywood Records)

“Best Queen greatest hits yet,” said a trusted fellow Rock Connoisseur.  “Nahh”, I thought, remembering the red and blue CDs I grew old with.  But his theory might just hold water.  For fans new and old, listening to the Bohemian Rhapsody soundtrack from start to finish is very satisfying.

The movie’s getting torn to shreds by the critics.  Don’t let that scare you away from the album.  Worth the price of admission for die hard fans is the new Queen version of the “20th Century Fox Fanfare”.  Who needs an orchestra when you have a Brian May?  Then it’s “Somebody to Love”, which you can imagine playing over the opening credits, can’t you?

“Doing All Right…revisited” is a pre-Freddie version of the Queen song, by the pre-Freddie version of the band, called Smile.  This is a first for collectors, and is hopefully a taste of more Smile music to come.  Moving on chronologically, it’s the scorching classic “Keep Yourself Alive” from the legendary Live at the Rainbow ’74.  Because Queen was one of the greatest live bands of all time, having live tracks mixed in with hits won’t phase the old fans.  Folks out there who hate live versions (yes they exist) will whine that the originals aren’t included.  That’s OK because sometimes Queen live was actually as good or better than Queen in the studio.  “Keep Yourself Alive” is one such track.

One can’t fault the song selection.  “Killer Queen”, “Crazy Little Thing Called Love”, “Under Pressure”, “Another One Bites the Dust” and “We Will Rock You (in a movie remix) represent the radio perennials.   Other favourite Queen songs are present in a mini-set from Live Aid.  It’s not the whole set, unfortunately, but a large slice:  “Bohemian Rhapsody” (also present earlier on the CD in its studio version), “Radio Ga-Ga” “Hammer to Fall” and “We Are the Champions” are stellar performances from an historic concert.  No one is poorer for having these.

You may question your need to own a remix of “Don’t Stop Me Now” with too much guitar, or a live “Now I’m Here” from the Night at the Odeon album.  Well, you’d do it to get “Fat Bottomed Girls”, which was chopped from the Live Killers album, or “Love of My Life” from Rock In Rio in front of 500,000 people.  It’s a trade-off with you as the winner.

4.5/5 stars

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42 comments

  1. My favorite soundtrack of theirs is still and probably always will be A Kind of Magic for The Highlander. I know most people don’t like that album, but it’s pretty solid. Mentioning them being better live, I think Live at Wembley ’86 is a better Greatest Hits set than anything else they’ve ever released.

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    1. They don’t like that album? Seriously? When I was at the Store, it was always on hold for somebody. It rarely hit the shelves. We had waiting lists 3 or 4 people deep.

      Wembley is great too. I went for the expanded edition. It’s a longer listen than most people are willing to sit for.

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      1. Not here in America, people usually takes swipes at A Kind of Magic for being too pop. I think that’s dumb, lots of great John Deacon songs. Really ballad heavy, but stops just short of being overbearing. “Who Wants to Live Forever?” is one of their best.

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  2. I’m not too optimistic about the movie either since the band wanted Freddie’s death to happen halfway through the film so they could focus on the band “persevering” and finding Lambert. I think that’s why Sacha Baron Cohen decided not to do it. I’m sure it will be overly romanticized bullshit just like almost every band biopic, treating the creation of music like it’s some kind of Olympic epic battle between good and evil.

    I’d argue that most all biopics are terrible for that reason though. My favorite is Ed Wood. That’s Tim Burton’s best movie by far, and it’s a movie where the director and writers understand their material on a personal level, establishing a human connection instead of elevating the subject up to pretentious God status. I’m sure Bohemian Rhapsody is going to portray Freddie as the true second coming of Christ. If SBC had stayed on, I bet it would have been better because he wanted to capture it all, the burnout and the reckless behavior that lead to his death, going so far as to talk to his friend’s and family. The band got all pissy, because they were too afraid for anything to stain their legacy. Ugh. I hate art!

    The Elephant Man is awesome too. I’d love to see what David Lynch would have done to this film, it would have been so surreal and awesome, but it would include all that turmoil underneath the surface to undercut Freddie’s supposed larger than life status. I can’t believe they wanted Lynch to direct Return of the Jedi. That would have made for a weird Star Wars movie.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I read that Sacha left because he wanted to portray Freddie as the troubled, flamboyqnt, risk-taking gay man that he was. I assume there were objections to exposing his true side.
      I would have rather the movie have included Sacha and the true side of Freddie. It would have made for a real insight.
      I will still see the movie, but I can almost bet I will leave the theatre with a sense of “what if…”

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  3. I agre, as good as Don’t Stop Me Now sounds with a little extra oomph, the rhythm guitar does clutter it up a bit. I do prefer the sparser original arrangement

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    1. I look at it this way: They chose to release the original mix for a reason! And it’s the one we grew to love, and then a new generation grew to love it too, because of Shaun of the Dead.

      For guys like us though, we don’t mind a different version every once in a while.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Pretty much my thoughts on all of this. Hearing the 20th Century Fox done Queen-style was enough to sell me on it. Don’t know about “greatest comp” but I don’t think any Queen fans would be disappointed in this. It kinda tells the story in the music too which is fun. I’ll avoid the film like the plague though. Say no to anachronistic ‘taches!

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    1. Well I didn’t say “greatest comp”. Somebody named “Derek” or “William” or something like that said it.

      True about the anachronistic lip hair.

      I have caught shit for this before, but I generally do not like biopics. I can get by, if it’s something (for example) like Ed Wood which Dillon named earlier. I knew nothing about Ed Wood, I still don’t know what he looked like. With Queen, I know every line on their faces, I know their voices, and I know a biopic will look weird to me. I didn’t even like (or finish) the Hawking biopic. And you know I’m a big fan of Hawking.

      Anyway that’s just how my brain works.

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      1. I feel the same about bipoics and… in regards to Ed Wood… the Bela Lugosi family had a big problem with his portrayal in that. Not factual at all and offensive to their memory of him. It is a great film but goes to show the whole problem with bipoics. Finding that out soured me on that film.

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  5. It’s no secret that I’m not a fan of Greatest Hits sets but this one for myself is one of the best I have ever heard! The live stuff I don’t have so thats a total win….
    I avoided all those other Queen comps but Scott sold me on this one and I’m glad he did!

    Liked by 2 people

      1. yeah that ‘Derek’ guy did say that and he stands by that comment!
        Coming from the same ‘Derek’ who thinks the new Frehley is quite excellent by the way!
        Frigg Canada legalizes Weed and Dekes loses whats left of his marbles!
        haha

        Liked by 1 person

        1. I am sure that is just a coincidence!

          Well you know, I keep listening to the new Queen, and I’ll be damned, but you really could be right. It’s well balanced, it’s got some rarities for us old guys, it has a lot of favourites. It plays really well.

          Liked by 1 person

        2. Yeah thats the thing Mikey is its an excellent retrospective of the bands music for me! I Love the mix of studio stuff and live material! Real selling featuring was Scott telling me he loved the sequencing of it and once he told me that I was onboard.
          Who better than HMO or yourself when it comes to Queen!

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  6. I will see the film first, then probably grab this comp after. I have not read any reviews of the film. I want to judge for myself.
    4.5/5 from Lebrain for a greatest hits style comp really says something.

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  7. This all sounds very interesting. I’ll probably give it a listen at the very least. Maybe even pick it up when the CD is cheap. Is it wrong that I’m thinking this sounds like pretty much the only Queen release I need to compliment the Day / Night albums and Innuendo (I also have that live album kicking around somewhere).

    Liked by 2 people

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