I finished reading “Is This The Real Life?” about Queen and I have been listening to their first six albums just about every day since I purchased The Crown Jewels box set a year ago. It’s a group I always thought had interesting chemistry and some great singles with arguably the best front man in rock but I never really collected their music. I remember watching the tribute concert for Freddie when I was in college and was amazed by the overwhelming response to Freddie Mercury’s life and legacy but I still didn’t get why as a typical American rock fan I just didn’t see the big deal about the band he led. I was motivated by seeing the box set used in good shape and at a great price so I figured even if I didn’t listen to it that much then it wouldn’t set me back a whole lot. I loved the albums immediately, the crazy segues from earnest beautiful ballads to heavy guitar driven rockers to songs so campy they felt like they were accidentally dubbed over by a neglectful audio engineer from a off-Broadway musical. What struck me is the absolute fearlessness the records have, like they knew they would be successful no matter which musical direction they chose. Queen, the self titled debut leads off with Keep Yourself Alive a strong rocker and a familiar tune to AOR fans but the songs that caught my attention may never have made it on any radio playlist. Father to Son off of Queen II is a favorite and really the whole album is an impressive statement by a band already taking risks on their second release. News of the World is known primarily for the opening We Will Rock You/We Are The Champions but the whole album is strong. But The album I’m obsessed with is Jazz From one of the most unusual opening tracks Mustapha to More of That Jazz it is as addictive an album as I’ve ever heard. I’m not completely sure why since it follows the basic pattern of most of Queen’s work except some tracks make reference to earlier ones which helps tie the album together as a solid piece of rock and circumstance all the way through. If I had a album stuck in my car’s cd player I would have to pick Jazz since it has the most variety, energy, wit and general craziness as any piece of music I have ever listened to. There’s a lot more weight to this album then just Fat Bottom Girls (pun intended) so give it a spin if you are so inclined.