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Queen - Hot Space CD (album) cover

HOT SPACE

Queen

 

Prog Related

1.87 | 331 ratings

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Tarcisio Moura
Prog Reviewer
3 stars I had never heard Hot Space on its entirely until recently. See, I always liked Queen, but Queen was never a favorite band. Hot Space got such bad reception when it was released I never bothered to listen to it at the time. Besides, the video Body Language did get showed on TV and I didnt┬┤like it at all, so why bother? However, upon reading Queen┬┤s biography. Mark Blake┬┤s Is This The Real Life, the Untold Story of..., I got curious. When I heard it I was surprised of how different it was and at the same how good some of the tracks really were. I can understand the hatred it caused on several fans, even today. That was not the same band their audience was expecting to find. The opener Straying Power, with its disco beats and funk brass arrangements sounds almost like the band was really provoking their fans. However, as much as you can criticize the style they embraced, there is some good stuff to find here (if you┬┤re open minded, of course).

Actually Hot Space was ahead of its time. The mixture of rock, funk and disco was something rarely, if ever, heard of until then. It┬┤s little surprise that Michael Jackson, a big fan of Queen, always credit HS as a major influence on his classic Thriller album he released almost an year later. In a way, this is Queen┬┤s most experimental and bold move ever, and, in a way, quite progressive on its own. If the move was a good one it┬┤s another story entirely. But in hindsight I can enjoy much of the tracks here: Back Chat is a fine funk tune with great guitar lines, the more traditional Las Palabras de Amor is a good homage to their latin american fans, while Life Is Real is one of the best tributes to John Lennon. Hot Space was remarkable also in terms of instrumentation: the first when all for members played synthesizers and the first to feature electronic drums on some tracks. In fact I found something to enjoy in almost every song here. Of course, this was a safe listening because I knew they would eventually drop the disco/funk bits from the next album on. They even give some nods to the new wave movement in Europe (Roger Taylors Action This Day is the obvious example).

So, in the end, Hot Space is an interesting experiment. And, as much as it got their worst reviews and sales in a long time, it has its good side. I the words of Brian May (who was the least appreciative of the new direction) : Hot Space wasn┬┤t easy, but I┬┤ll stand by it. It got us out of a rut and into a new place".

Definitely HS is mot one of Queen┬┤s best works, but it has its merits. It┬┤s an interesting and daring move. Few band would risk as much. And fewer still would come back as gloriously as they did on their follow up. You have to accept it: Queen was talented and unique. Love them or hate them. And Hot Space, with all its faults still shines in places after all those years. My remastered edition has a couple of bonus live version tracks recorded during the tour promoting the album. They sound much heavier and powerful than on record. Nice addition. Rating: good, but non-essential. Three stars.

Tarcisio Moura | 3/5 |

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