Picks and Pans Review: A Kind of Magic

updated 08/25/1986 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 08/25/1986 AT 01:00 AM EDT

Queen

Queen has never lacked in the melodrama department since the group was formed in 1971. Involvement in the movie scoring business has just worsened the situation. There's hardly a personal expression, let alone an intimate one, in this album, which includes a number of songs from the sound tracks of Iron Eagle and Highlander. The tune One Vision manages to be an antiwar song even though it comes from the vengeance-with-jet-fighter movie Iron Eagle. Just about everything is done in such loud, sweeping arrangements it's hard to listen to the LP without wanting to strike a noble pose for the close-up. Lead singer Freddie Mercury is versatile; not many vocalists can go from sweet to abrasive as rapidly as he can. It's hard, though, to sound anything other than strident when singing "We're the princes of the universe/ Here we belong/ Fighting to survive/ In a world with the darkest powers." (Rock trivia fans will want to note that Joan Armatrading makes a backup appearance on one track.) When Queen applies its mastery of electronics to songs that someone from this dimension can relate to—try I Want to Be Free from its album The Works—the group can be dazzling. In this case they're just overbearing. (Capitol)

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