Spin #80 : Hot Space : Queen
SUNDAY DROP - SPIN #80
Welcome to our 80th Sunday drop from the R'nR with Rylo collection! I don't mind if anyone actually reads this on a weekly basis or if I get hundreds of people read it. I'm proud to have reached Spin #80, because that means I've written about spinning music and having fun with my family that many times. Writing about something that I love on a weekly basis is both enjoyable and rewarding as I read them back occasionally. Sometimes I have a bit of time to wait around while travelling and I read them back to reminisce. It will be a good way to capture moments other than photographs, because the children do something memorable so often that I don't want to forget any of it. Right now our daughter is sitting in her high chair playing with her toys, reading books and bopping along to this week's spin.
I've been able to link the record player through to the speaker in our kitchen to spin the 10th studio album from Queen, called ' Hot Space'. I've been able to work from home and look after our daughter this week because she was a little bit unwell. By the time we had this album playing she was getting involved and dancing to it with her big cheeky grin. For that reason, I will spin this one using the front room turntable and then re-spin it with Night Kat Kiz and our son on the lounge room set up later. Spring is well and truly here and the weather has been so nice that I've had to get our swimming pool ready earlier than we usually do.
ALBUMS OF NOTE (1982): Nebraska - Bruce Springsteen, Thriller - Michael Jackson, 1999 - Prince, Tug of War - Paul McCartney, The Number of the Beast - Iron Maiden, Screaming for Vengeance - Judas Priest, Long After Dark - Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers, Love Over Gold - Dire Straits, The Message - Grand Master Flash & The Furious Five, Rio - Duran Duran, The Dreaming - Kate Bush, Mirage - Fleetwood Mac,
Image: Brian May, John Deacon, Roger Taylor and Freddie Mercury
It's time to #dropthestylus on this '80s classic album! I hope that you are ready to strut around your lounge rooms like Freddie Mercury!
The funk-driven sounds of 'STAYING POWER' start coming through the speaker and our daughter is bopping along to it. She started playing a game with me and asking me to put my hands on my head and shoulders but it sounded more like, "shudlems". I laughed and she giggled which was a nice moment before I started cooking the rice for dinner. I remember the live version a bit better than this album version and I'm not sure which one that I prefer to be honest. There are a lot of synthesizers and effects used on this album, much to Mercury and Deacon's delight. 'Hot Space' wasn't really a favourite of Taylor and May's and it was possibly because their involvement was overshadowed by drum machines and less guitar solo's. For whatever reason the band chose to follow this sound direction, I feel that it was right for the band at that time. I can't help but sing along, "You and me, we got....Staying Power". It also makes me try and remember another song where Queen have used horns in one of their songs (I can't). It was interesting to read that this album influenced Michael Jackson whilst he was writing the mega-hit album, 'Thriller".
'DANCER' sounds like the opening track for an '80s television show where there is lots of neon being used and silhouettes of dancing women everywhere. When I hear Queen albums I have in my head, "How would Freddie dance to this one?". Well, on this song he would be using a lot of shoulders and stepping to the beat with his right leg, probably holding his microphone half stand as he moved around the entire stage. The slowness works on this album for Deacon and Mercury and really amplifies their personas within the band. Whether it was Deacon on bass or the bass effects being used, it is easy to listen too right here in the kitchen with our daughter (Q).
The third song on the album sounds like a newer song that I can't really name right now. If you can think of that song, please let me know because it's driving me crazy. 'BACK CHAT' continues the sultry sounds of the album and the drum machine is getting an absolute workout. There is a chance for May to shine towards the end with his superb guitar work. This pressing is the original 1982 copy and still sounds amazing. There is a newer remaster that has been released and if the Queen box set was cheaper, I'd consider adding it to our collection. I feel growing up that every household had at least one copy of their 'Greatest Hits 1' album and my earliest memory would be at bath time, possibly I was 6 or 7 years old, listening to it. Its a great memory because all I remember is my sister and dad laughing as Queen played and bubbles went everywhere. I'm having similar music playing when the kids are having their bath time, I can see just how quickly life goes by. Plus with a 4 year old and 2 year old, there is an awful lot of 'BACK CHAT'.
Can you believe 'BODY LANGUAGE' was a mega hit in the United States but they didn't really like any other track from the album! It starts off with a quicker tempo compared to the last song, but the vocals kind of counteract that. The use of vocal effects to make it sound like there are multiple Freddie's comes through the speaker quite nicely. I was able to listen to this coming through the front room Marshall Woburn II speaker and the deep bass and finger clicking at the end got us all dancing around. An artist and album that you'll need to check out later this month is, Slayyyter and the album 'Starfucker' if you enjoy what you are hearing here.
The last song on Side A is called 'ACTION THIS DAY'. I first heard the live version while watching 'Live at the Bowl' show on DVD and was pleasantly surprised by this studio version. It was the first live concert that I saw and I still remember how great Queen were live. I'd highly recommend watching either that show or 'Live at Wembley' concert to really get the aura of the band. I find a lot of the songs on 'Hot Space' are overlooked by fans and it doesn't get the love or attention that it should just because the band were trying something different. Time to flip LP over and drop the stylus on Side B.
'PUT OUT THE FIRE' leads off Side B and you can tell this song was included to break up the style of the album. It is more of a country/bluesy rocker that would please a lot of Queen fans who wanted more of the same. Our son (K) really helped me out over the weekend with a mental hurdle that appears from time to time. I had pulled out the barbeque to clean it and get it ready for lunch time over the weekend. I turned the gas bottle on and twisted the burner knob to high but when I pressed the ignitor, nothing happened. There wasn't a lot of gas left in the bottle so I changed the bottle over for a full one. I tried again but nothing happened. Now, it did make me nervous and I turned it off to try again. Turns out the ignitor is busted. I couldn't find our bendy-extendable lighter and was trying with long reach matches. Our son could see that I was having trouble so he grabbed his barbeque tongs from his set and said, "Daddy, use this to reach with the match". He put my nerves and anxieties at ease and it was only seconds, but I felt instant relief when the four burners turned on. I will get better over time but sometimes it does come to mind and I get the feeling of nerves and loss come over me. If the ignitor had of been working I don't think that it would have even crossed my mind again after a year. I thanked him and he had the biggest smile on his face because he truly knew just how much he had helped his daddy. He was proud with himself.
Another song on 'Hot Space' that is different to the first half of the album is a dedication song called, 'LIFE IS REAL (SONG FOR LENNON)'. Very sad that the world lost John Lennon in 1980 and Freddie felt like writing something for him and their is real love and pain here. "Life is cruel, life is a bitch. Life is real, so real". I don't know how close they were or if they were friends, but it's nice to hear that appreciation for a fellow musician. The more that I listen to this album, it is more of a Side A (80's album) and Side B (blues/rock). 'CALLING ALL GIRLS' samples sounds of record scratching and feedback but wouldn't be one that I feel is one of their strongest songs. Funnily enough it was written by Roger Taylor and released as a single (a first for him). If there is a song on the album that is similar to that 'Love of My Life' style track, it would be 'LAS PALABRAS DE AMOR (THE WORDS OF LOVE)'. If Side A was more of a dance/groove session then Side B is more reflective and thought provoking, even sadness creeps in at times. Like a couple of bookends on your bookshelf, 'COOL CAT' starts playing through the speaker, blending both sides of the album together. It's a smooth listen and picks up the mood and energy again. Freddie hits some high notes and apparently Bowie was also originally included on this song, but he didn't like the sound of his vocals and removed it. A song to play as we lead into the warmer weather of Spring/Summer and sit by the pool side with a refreshing cold drink. This song has the right amount of funk and chill.
One of the most iconic basslines starts playing next with the song, 'UNDER PRESSURE'. Who doesn't love this song by Queen and David Bowie. Everyone at the moment is doing it tough in their own way and this song is wanting you to listen to the words. If you can follow along with the lyrics for this classic, please do. A bit of trivia about this song is that it would become Queen's second #1 song in the UK (along with Bohemian Rhapsody) and it was the first time that they collaborated with another artist. I was also interested to hear that Mercury and Bowie first met in 1969, when Bowie went to buy some boots in Kensington and who do you think was fitting them? Great song and fitting choice to end the album, 'Hot Space'.
One thing that was really lovely as a father this week was when our four year old son (K) came out of his room after being tucked into bed. At first Night Kat Kiz and I were telling him that he needs to go to bed but he responded with, "I wanted .... to give you both a hug ........ and a kiss and.......... a memory". That was it! Night Kat and I were both hugging him to bits because he was too cute. They are growing up so quick and these kind of moments won't be around forever. The stylus has reached the dead wax on Side B and I can honestly say that I am a fan of 'Hot Space'. I'm travelling a bit this week and hopefully get a chance to prep next week's Spin before I leave. Time for us to make another cup of coffee and get out in the sunshine. Catch you next week for our MWSP!
"Do what you want to do, and don't feel pressure to do what other people want."
- Madison Beer
Until our next Spin, be Kind to people who love funky bass lines and be Kind to your Wax!
QUEEN, REINHOLD MACK AND DAVID BOWIE
SPEED PLAYED AT
33 1/3 RPM
FLASH GORDON (1980)
THE WORKS (1984)
ANYTHING BY QUEEN!
ACTION THIS DAY/COOL CAT OR STAYING POWER
RATING OUT OF 5
WHAT'S INSIDE THE RECORD SLEEVE
1 X BLACK LP, LYRIC SHEET SLIP WITH MORE IMAGERY OF BAND. TRIPPY COVER THAT PLAYS TRICKS WITH YOUR VISION THE LONGER YOU STARE AT IT.
"Action! This street honey is a mean street, Living in this street honey needs a mean streak" ~ Action This Day - Side A
LP / SIDE
ACTION THIS DAY
PUT OUT THE FIRE
LIFE IS REAL (SONG FOR LENNON)
CALLING ALL GIRLS
LAS PALABRAS DE AMOR
UNDER PRESSURE (QUEEN/BOWIE)
Live at the Bowl show - 1982