Thursday, December 15, 2011

Queen 40 Limited Edition Collector's Box Set Volume 2



Exclusive to Amazon Customers: Queen's second collection of studio albums remastered in deluxe reissue editions with rare bonus material all in one collectible box with a 24 panel Poster for the ultimate Queen fan.

Albums included in the box:
News of the World
Jazz
The Game
Flash Gordon
Hot Space

Queen's 40th anniversary is now upon us, and the band plans to pull out all the stops to celebrate this historic occasion. This yearlong event will be marked by a series of releases, re-releases, special limited-edition items and events around the world. As the centerpiece in the 40th anniversary celebration, Queen's studio catalog is being reissued in a series of deluxe editions. Every note is being tweaked, every piece of artwork is being cleaned, freshened up and resourced, wherever necessary, with the legendary Bob Ludwig doing the remastering, working from the original source material.

Each studio album will be released in a new two-CD edition, the first containing the updated, remastered original LP, the second disc packed with rarities--and we don't use the term lightly. Some of these gems have never before seen the light of day, but now they can be yours in this fan centric box set only available at Amazon

All puns aside, they will rock you. I read an earlier review of a queen album, and they stated that the singles is where the band is the strongest, so you'd be better off buying the greatest hits packages as opposed to the albums. To that I simply way, they are wrong. Of course the hits were huge, and many of those songs are so much a part of our lives and the fabric of our culture, that they tend to overshadow the album tracks. But, I am a huge fan of Queen, I would say they are my favorite band of all time (with the Rolling Stones being my second). I love music, and I love Queen's music. I had literally worn out the old copies I had of these albums, and a few were borrowed but never returned. I was looking into purchasing all of their catalog when I searched online and found the remasters were coming out, great timing. Well even better timing if I lived overseas, as it was released earlier there. I have the first five, which I bought seperately, and this set I bought as a box set from Amazon. The albums sound great, the included bonus tracks, are icing on the cake, and I love how they seperated anything extra to the second cd and maintained the original album track order for the first cd. It's not a major issue if they would have kept it to one cd, but this gives it more of an authentic flavor. Back when Queen was biggest I was young and couldn't afford to buy albums on my own. My brother had an 8-track of Queen's Greatest Hits, that I played so much that he ended up giving it to me in exchange for me doing a few things for him. I loved that album a lot, because I was on a budget the Greatest Hits was the best place to start. Later I found Flash and eventually Hot Space on cassette and a cheap price at a store in downtown cincinnati. I think they were around $2.99 or $3.99 which was a lot for back then considering they were cut-outs. But I was just happy to have them. Hot Space was definitely a unique album, and I really did love "Life is Real", which was a track I had never heard before, and a track that made me listen to all of their tracks rather than the singles. Queen was always a strong group, and each of the members' presence can be felt in these tracks. Queen was probably one of the few groups where you knew everyone played a part, and it showed. I do not know too much of the history of Queen, though I have watched a few documentaries, but it seemed like they got along well, and that they vibed off of each other in ways you don't see too much today. I've also have always loved the cover to News of the World. a Great album as well. The weakest part of this set is "Flash Gordon" since it is a soundtrack album, and aside from two exceptions, is mostly an instrumental album with diablogue clips interspersed within the songs. That isn't to say it is a bad album. I have to be in the mood for an instrumental though. However, Flash and the Hero are two really good songs, and really rock. My favorite among these five, is Jazz. I loved that album from the moment I first heard it. An interesting title to say the least coming from a Rock Band but it all works out. The songs are great, and Freddie shines bright on the slower songs. As a band they sound awesome on these releases, due to the remastering. I do not know what everyone is talking about when they mention loudness issues. I have found none. There is one track however where it's like the music plays through one speaker, and the words are played in another, but since I have not heard that song before I don't know if that's the original intent. it's very different and seems like something Queen would do to challenge the listeners. Some people are bent out of shape over the included Bonus tracks, mainly because they aren't focusing on what IS included instead they focus on what IS NOT included. This approach seems counterproductive to me. I did not collect Queen stuff back in the day, I do not know which b-sides were missing or not included, as I only bought a few 45s back in the day and most of those were double a-sides. But, after the experience with the old remasters back in the early 90s where the bonus track was crap, not even a remix done by a member of Queen, I find these new songs to be a great addition to my collection. I am a serius music collector. and I am very glad to have these remastered/expanded editions in my collection. Sure, I don't know what I'm missing, but I know I'm happy with what I have. My only negative comment on the tracks is that they could have fit more. But, I am greedy. The box it comes in is ok. Not Great but it will do. the poster is very nice. Though I am not sure if I want to hang it up or not. I always hate seperating things from my collectibles. I wish they would have included a bigger sized version of the nude bicycle race poster, not for any voyeuristic reasons but because back in the day you got the poster with the LP and the Royal box set also included a mini version. The Jazz cd has an insert (two pages) version of the poster, and it does look nice in the booklet, but it would have been nice if it were included additionally. But, this isn't anything to bring down the amount of stars for this set. Also, and this is the collector in me talking, it would have been nice, if on the spine of the cds they would have put a number so that we can keep the cds in order of release, as it is, it comes that way (in order) but I know at some point I will get them mixed up. I can always search online, but a number would have just made it easier. I can not recommend this set highly enough. It is great to have. You won't be disappointed in the music or the sound quality. However, if you are not into slip covers or posters, you can probably just buy the albums individually from amazon. But, in buying this set, I did save a few dollars, not much, but since I got the poster and the slipcase it seemed like an even better deal. I do plan to buy the third volume as well. Made in Heaven is one of my favorite Queen albums and I think one of their most underrated albums. I love the idea that I can get all 15 of their albums in a collector's type quality. Meaning that the albums have a similar theme, two cds etc, Great artwork reproduction etc, so they all see like part of a collection instead of a hodge podge of mismatched cds I purchased online. I like the uniformity of sets like this. The artwork as I said looks great and the pictures inside the booklet are great as well. I am definitely glad that these are available (just wish they would release them faster lol) I can not tell you how invaluable these discs are to my collection. So do yourself a favor and pick up this collection by one of Rock's greatest bands. Freddie Mercury just may be the finest vocalist in all of rock history. Brian May is probably one of the greatest guitar players of all time, and the rest of the band round out the group pretty well with great drums and bass. Real Music by Real Musicians (as Prince would say) These albums are part of Rock history and also as relevant today as when they were released. You'll love them when you hear them.

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