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Queen Greatest Video Hits 2 Review

Compilation. Released 2003.  

BBC Review

But my, didn't Roger Taylor look good as a schoolgirl in ''I Want to Break Free''?

Mick Fitzsimmons 2003

No other band embraced the video age with quite the same fervour as Queen. Widely hailed as the progenitors of rock video with ''Bohemian Rhapsody'', they scaled uncharted heights of grandiose absurdity through the years.

"Radio Ga Ga", perhaps their best known flick, puts Fritz Lang's Metropolis through the mincer, but the most remarkable thing ends up being bassist John Deacon's indestructible afro, strangely immobile as the band's little hover car zooms through the futuristic skyline.

But my, didn't Roger Taylor look good as a schoolgirl in ''I Want to Break Free''? He even manages to out-camp Freddie. Even the bizarre middle section, with leotard clad Freddie rolling around on a bed of nubile gymnasts (possibly not for the first time), is worth a chuckle.

The fact that most of Queen's work was delivered with a knowingly raised eyebrow makes it difficult to actively dislike, but rarely did they truly engage the emotions. On the rare occasion when they rock out -''I Want It All'', ''One Vision'', ''Hammer to Fall'' - they do so with the required oomph, but Brian May always had too much of the funky physics teacher about him to be truly convincing as a guitar hero. And is there really any excuse for the horror that is ''Body Language''? Freddie may have liked dressing up in his cop outfit for this pile of malodorous disco dreck, the viewer may find it less enjoyable.

What's more puzzling is the absence of two of Queen's better late moments the gleefully absurdist ''I'm Going Slightly Mad'' and Freddie's touching swansong, ''Those Were the Days of Our Lives''. The latter in particular struck a rare moment of poignancy. Perhaps, with Freddie's illness all too apparent, the compilers suddenly felt squeamish.

But why worry about that when you can the thrusting phallic imagery of ''Breakthru'', with the band riding a huge blue steam train into sundry tunnels, or the ZX Spectrum gone wild that is ''The Invisible Man''? There's also the Venetian masked ball on acid of ''A Hard Life'', which must have kept costumiers everywhere happy for years, even as it fails to polish the heinousmess of a song.

Much more enjoyable to gently slide in Disc Two, with its raft of extra live footage. It's here that Freddie's operatic vocals and May's guitar heroics find their true home. Freshly re-mastered into widescreen and boasting a state of the art 5.1 remix and a special ticket offer for ''We Will Rock You'', the production values are undeniably high. However, for a more accurate vision of what made Queen one of the biggest bands of their era, Volume One is the place to go.

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