Queen "A night at the opera" poll

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by Sear, Dec 16, 2020.

  1. Ernold

    Ernold Look up the number

    It's very good, but it's overrated, IMHO. I question if it would have the same sort of reputation without Bo Rhap - somehow, I strongly doubt it. Take that away, and the quality of the rest of it is no higher than many of their other 70s albums, e.g. Queen II, Sheer Heart Attack, A Day at the Races and, arguably, even News of the World. In many ways, the finest songs on it are '39 and Love of My Life, but I'd suggest that there are songs of that quality on several other Queen albums, and I've never cared for things like Death On Two Legs or The Prophet's Song, which greatly overstays its welcome, as far as I'm concerned. And does anyone really care about Sweet Lady?

    Lazing on a Sunday Afternoon and Seaside Rendezvous are just forgettable pieces of whimsy, You're My Best Friend is a fine song but I prefer You & I on A Day at the Races, and I'm In Love With My Car is inferior to several other 70s Roger Taylor compositions. Other than that, Good Company is the only thing that stands out to me - it's easily the equal of a lot of McCartney's late 60s nostalgia pieces.

    Unfortunately, Queen never managed to make a true "masterpiece", in terms of their studio albums. There is at least one truly dodgy moment on even the best of them.
    Last edited: Dec 19, 2020
  2. Ernold

    Ernold Look up the number

    What are your "five complete clunkers", out of interest?
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  3. Man at C&A

    Man at C&A Forum Resident

    It is to Brian May. I think it's his favourite. I'm guessing Queen II got that because it looks good with the sleeve.
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  4. NunoBento

    NunoBento Rock 'n' Roll Star

    It's a 5, but Races is even better.
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  5. Ernold

    Ernold Look up the number

    I'd agree that Races is better, overall. Better production, and slightly sharper songwriting, as far as I am concerned.
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  6. One of their best albums for sure. But it became like Sgt. Pepper to me and I prefer other Queen albums now.^^
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  7. Ernold

    Ernold Look up the number

    I've heard the Opera/Sgt.Pepper comparison a number of times over the years.

    I'd suggest that Sgt.Pepper is a vastly superior album, overall.
    andrewskyDE likes this.
  8. Well, Brian May himself once said "Opera is our Sgt. Pepper".
  9. Ernold

    Ernold Look up the number

    Yes, he did - in a somewhat optimistic fashion!
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  10. carlwm

    carlwm Forum Resident

    This is where I'll probably fall out with many fellow fan! :D However, I'm really not keen on:

    Death On Two Legs
    Lazing On A Sunday Afternoon
    Sweet Lady
    Good Save The Queen

    I know they all have people who love them and that's great but they are all skippers for me, :)
    Ernold likes this.
  11. Ernold

    Ernold Look up the number

    I'd agree with you, to a large extent. However, '39 is great - sorry. Easily could have been a single, had Freddie been the main vocalist, of course. God Save the Queen simply doesn't count. It's just a little add-on at the end of the album, and not even their own composition (obviously).

    Your list suggests you rate The Prophet's Song, which I'd rank as one of the dullest things they ever recorded...
  12. Think he meant it just as one highlight point in the band's (early) career, not really meaning Opera is generally 'on par' with Sgt. Pepper. The same way I also meant in my earlier post, btw.
    It's like, for example, The Who's Tommy, Hendrix' Electric Ladyland, Pink Floyd's Dark Side Of The Moon or KISS' Destroyer being 'their' Sgt. Pepper... Think we also had a thread about that here somewhere.
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  13. Orthogonian Blues

    Orthogonian Blues Forum Resident

    London, UK
    In that it really uses the studio as an instrument, and in its stylistic breadth, yes, ANATO was very much made in the spirit of Pepper.

    And I'm sure that Bo Rhap was just a little bit inspired by A Day In The Life.

    The main difference is that when The Beatles made Pepper, they were a well established cultural phenomenon with enough clout and cash to have made whatever they wanted.

    When Queen made ANATO they were, for all of their success, still an up and coming band that was in a precarious situation. If Bo Rhap and the album flopped, it would have probably sunk them.
    andrewskyDE, Jarleboy and Ernold like this.
  14. Ernold

    Ernold Look up the number

    Yes, you're right, of course. I simply don't think Queen ever made an album as good as Sgt. Pepper, though I realise that's a statement that would absolutely outrage many Queen fans!
  15. Neonbeam

    Neonbeam All Art Was Once Contemporary

    Planet Earth
    "Modern Times Rock N Roll"?
    "Loser In The End"?
    "Ogre Battle"?
  16. Ernold

    Ernold Look up the number

    This depends on what you mean by "silliness". A few dodgy lyrics, or out and out music hall pastiche?

    I will be the first one to say that Ogre Battle, for instance, has some laughable concepts among its lyrics, and always makes me cringe, but I think the poster was suggesting that it was on the third album, SHA, that Freddie started indulging in pastiche.
  17. carlwm

    carlwm Forum Resident

    Yeah, I quite like The Prophet's Song.

    '39 sounds like a bad pastiche of a folk song to me. :)
  18. Andrew Russe

    Andrew Russe Forum Resident

    I have to admit - and I really don't want to start an argument with anyone, I do respect all points of view - but I feel moved to say out loud stuff I'd normally keep quiet...

    IF I was to talk about quality...

    If pressed I would have to say that PERSONALLY I think that "A Night At The Opera is much higher quality than Sgt Pepper as an album". Ever since I first heard it in it's entirety it has hung together perfectly as a set of of songs, in that order, with that packaging. I can't say that about many albums, and I certainly can't say it about Sgt Pepper. Sgt Pepper, has some serious highpoints for me, but it seems disjointed and I rarely listen to it all from one end to the other. A Night At The Opera I listen to seldom now, but when I do put it on, life has to stop for 40-odd minutes.

    I prefer the songwriting on A Night At The Opera, I respect the musicianship more, I love the experimentation with both the technology at their fingertips at the time and with the idea of what might be acceptable as a consistent set of pieces of music from a pop band.

    Both lots were pushing the envelope when they made their records. Both lots did stuff that the other lot couldn't have managed in their wildest dreams. Both lots made a fabulous "piece of art" that has stood the test of time so far.

    If you really asked me to choose, I'd have to choose A Night At The Opera because it moves me more and, ulitmately, impresses me more.​

    HOWEVER, this is only subjective opinion from me. It's about my tastes and how they affect me and how much I want/need them.
    It does NOT make A Night At The Opera higher quality just because I understand it better and prefer it to Sgt Pepper.

    I feel very uncomfortable around comparisons in quality where the arts are concerned. Even between pieces from the same artist. Even references to clunkers or weak links on an album make me feel a little queasy. Sure, I have favourites and ones I might skip. It seems, to me, that we disrespect creativity when we hold it up to some sort of yardstick for judgement.

    I firmly believe that all I can say about someone else's creativity (or even my own) is "I like this stuff... but that, not so much... er... what do you like?"

    But some people are happy making what I consider value judgements about creativity, sometimes even seeming to imply that others are somehow lacking if they like something less "valuable". But, actually, that's cool too. I've got used to it. I've come to the conclusion that they don't really mean disrespect to any artist or piece that others may prefer. Invariably they're just expressing a strong preference for what they like.

    I strongly suspect that Paul McCartney, even in private, would not class Sgt Pepper as higher quality than A Night At The Opera. In fact, if he did, he'd probably lose some of the very very high respect I hold him in. He's always struck me as a very inclusive, "oh you make music too? that's cool..." sort of person.
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  19. 4 out of 5. It's more consistent than most of their regular albums, but it still has its share of filler (Lazing On A Sunday Afternoon, I'm In Love With My Car, Sweet Lady).
  20. KAJ1971

    KAJ1971 Ex-burger flipper/Sapper/book seller, Reg Nurse.

    First Queen LP I had this was. Xmas '85 on the MFSL label. My copy of Races had an Opera inner and for years I never realised because the MFSL has completely different inners. Played it constantly for the last thirty-five years.
  21. Goldy

    Goldy Failed to load

    Is it a UK copy of Races that has an Opera inner? I bought a A-1U\B-1U copy off ebay about 10 years ago that came with wrong inner too. I thought someone has just swapped the inners at some point :)
  22. KAJ1971

    KAJ1971 Ex-burger flipper/Sapper/book seller, Reg Nurse.

    Yes, it's a UK copy of Races. I only realised when I bought an original Opera. Three corners cut off the inner & EMTC 103 printed on the bottom right. Just eye-balled them both and they look to be exactly the same.
    Goldy likes this.
  23. jeffrey walsh

    jeffrey walsh Forum Resident

    Scranton, Pa. USA
    Your filler equals my killer! No duds on this one!

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  24. NettleBed

    NettleBed Forum Resident

    new york city
    I'd give it a 2/5.

    Not a very good album.
  25. tyinkc

    tyinkc Forum Resident

    The term "masterpiece" gets tossed about too freely IMHO. That said, "Night" is very, very good. A solid 4 out of 5.
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