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Articles Home » 2008 Articles » Queen + Paul Rodgers - 2008 The Cosmos Rocks
Queen + Paul Rodgers - 2008 The Cosmos Rocks

ARTIST: Queen (with Paul Rodgers)
ALBUM: The Cosmos Rocks
LABEL: Parlophone (UK), Hollywood Records (USA)
SERIAL: 50999-2-37025-2-3, D000261502
YEAR: 2008


LINEUP: Brian May - guitars, vocals * Roger Taylor - drums, percussion, vocals * Paul Rodgers - vocals, keyboards

TRACK LISTING: 01 Cosmos Rockin' * 02 Time To Shine * 03 Still Burnin' * 04 Small * 05 Warboys * 06 We Believe * 07 Call Me * 08 Voodoo * 09 Some Things That Glitter * 10 C-lebrity * 11 Through The Night * 12 Say It's Not True * 13 Surfs Up.. Schools Out * 14 Small (Reprise)



It's easy to forget that Roger Taylor and Brian May with bassist Tim Staffell had a minor bit of success in the late 60's with Smile, even going so far as getting a single released in the U.S. while art student Freddie Bulsara was fronting a variety of dead end groups often crossing paths with his future band mates. After some prodding Freddie eventually joined Smile which of course evolved into Queen and the rest is history, but those in the know will tell you the musical building blocks of this extraordinary band were already in place before Mercury's arrival. Yes, Freddie brought the group to universal heights and Queen became his baby on a performance level as well as musically, but there was plenty of talent to go around, something Mercury was keenly aware, having no problem when it came to sharing the glory and the wealth. For this reason I am fine with May and Taylor's decision to carry on as Queen contrary to the negative comments coming from certain punters with too much time on their hands and little knowledge of the group beyond classic rock radio. With the addition of Paul Rodgers on vocals (a wise move by the way), I was impressed with the group in concert a couple years ago and based on that experience have been waiting patiently for the trio's first studio album. The wait is over, 'The Cosmos Rocks' is here.

The Songs
After a dozen listens, I tried to approach this disc without the 'what would Freddie do here' trap I think many listeners who dislike the album have fallen into. It's wasn't easy. Freddie's long shadow will follow May and Taylor no matter what they do and while Paul Rodgers is a far different vocalist, there are moments as in the first few bars of 'Cosmos Rockin' and the early single 'Say It's Not True' where he hits the same notes the way Mercury would and it's quite chilling to say the least. This is not to suggest Rodgers is playing some kind of Freddie karaoke here, he's nobody's fool and that would be unforgivable (Arnel Pineda, are you listening?). On 'The Cosmos Rocks' Rodgers links the old with the new and succeeds admirably giving Queen a rich full sound that rocks harder than any Queen album, other than perhaps their golden and untouchable debut. The first few tracks run by at a pretty good clip with the kick ass 'Still Burnin' the jewel of the lot and while 'Warboys' and 'We Believe' are good songs musically, lyrically they get a little too political and preachy for my tastes. If I want this type of thing, I'll go to Brian May's web site and read his left-wing complaining ad nauseaum, but in Queen it's just out of place. The music is about fun and escapism and should be kept that way. 'Call Me' brings the listener back to a good place reminding of the lighter tunes found on 'News Of The World' and 'Jazz'. 'Voodoo' brings us back to Rodgers' Bad Company days which are always welcome while 'Some Things That Glitter' is a typical Queen ballad, nothing special and heard before, bringing us to the current single 'C-lebrity'. Catchy with some heavy May guitar work and classic Queen harmonies, it's not a surprise classic rock radio has picked up on it, but I doubt it will go beyond that much like the superb 'Say It's Not True'. Not sure what to make of 'Surf's Up.. School's Out!', another fast paced rocker that really doesn't do much, more of a filler cut if I dare say, although the album closes with 'Small Reprise' a soft 'hands across the world' track that's warm and fuzzy with Rodgers saying something about peace and life and at just two minutes, really can't go wrong.

In Summary
Despite its ups and downs 'The Cosmos Rocks' is a good effort from these seasoned veterans. To be honest part of me expected the worst so it was a relief to hear Queen trying new things while not reinventing the wheel. While I doubt I'll play it as often as my other Queen albums, it is a keeper and a worthy addition to one of the most impressive catalogs in rock.

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