Queen: Queen II
The Queen sound takes shape.
Eight out of ten.
A powerful album that showed what glories were to come.
This album is very different from Queen's debut album. The production is a lot more sophisticated and the band has already become more adventurous in its style.
It's very interesting to compare this album with the debut and then with "A Night at the Opera" and "A Day at the Races" you can clearly see how the band would develop its style.
Already here, Freddie Mercury is beginning to tackle vocal parts that would be beyond the reach of most rock singers. Also, Brian May is beginning to develop the guitar sound that he made his own and we get the first taste of the recording techniques of building up layer upon layer to create what has become the characteristic Queen sound.
If I had to pick my favourite tracks, I'd just end up writing out a list of all of them. If you have enjoyed some of Queen's better known, later works and want to hear the earlier material, then this would be the best place to start.
As became routine for Queen, the album was realeased full of top quality music with no weak material. Nobody needs a skip-track feature on their CD player when they listen to Queen's original albums.
The same cannot always be said for the 'bonus' tracks on the remastered releases of Queen's early albums. Quite frankly, I'm a little surprised that "See what a Fool I've Been" even made it as the B side on a single. It is a long way short of Queen's normal standard. The remix of "Ogre Battle" really is an offence against a good song. The only good thing that can be said for it is that it is less of a travesty than the bonus version of the wonderful "Seven Seas of Rhye". The phrase "grotesque monstrosity" is the only description that I can find appropriate for the remix.
But, you can ignore those three tracks and the original album is still as great as ever.