Go Back  DVD Talk Forum > Entertainment Discussions > Music Talk
Reload this Page >

Queen: Album by Album Discussion, A Day at the Races (1976)

Music Talk Discuss music in all its forms: CD, MP3, DVD-A, SACD and of course live

Queen: Album by Album Discussion, A Day at the Races (1976)

Old 02-09-10, 03:30 PM
  #1  
DVD Talk Legend
Thread Starter
 
The Infidel's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2001
Location: the kingdom of the evil Voratians, ruled by the wicked Ak-Oga
Posts: 11,417
Queen: Album by Album Discussion, A Day at the Races (1976)

A Day at the Races: released December 1976



Personnel:
Freddie Mercury - Vocals, Piano, Choir Master, Tantrums
Brian May - Guitars, Vocals, Leader of the Orchestra
Roger Taylor - Drums, Vocals, Percussion, Pandemonium
John Deacon - Fender Bass

Produced by Queen
Engineered by Mike Stone

All titles composed, arranged and performed exclusively by Queen

No Synths!

Track listing:
Tie Your Mother Down (May) 4:48
You Take My Breath Away (Mercury) 5:09
Long Away (May) 3:34
The Millionaire Waltz (Mercury) 4:54
You and I (Deacon) 3:25
Somebody To Love (Mercury) 4:56
White Man (May) 4:59
Good Old-Fashioned Lover Boy (Mercury) 2:54
Drowse (Taylor) 3:45
Teo Torriatte (Let Us Cling Together) (May) 5:50











The Infidel is offline  
Old 02-09-10, 03:50 PM
  #2  
DVD Talk Legend
Thread Starter
 
The Infidel's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2001
Location: the kingdom of the evil Voratians, ruled by the wicked Ak-Oga
Posts: 11,417
Re: Queen: Album by Album Discussion, A Day at the Races (1976)

I've long considered this album closely tied to the previous album, A Night at the Opera, for several reasons:
  • The references to Marx Brothers movies
  • Similar, yet contrasting album cover styles
  • Equal quality of songwriting and diversity of styles on each album
  • "Night" has an emphasis toward lighter songs, while
  • "Day" leans toward darker songs

I also think it's the obvious ties and quality that led to these particular albums being included in the Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab "Original Master Recording" gold disc catalog.

EDIT: It's also notable that this is Queen's first self-produced album, sans Roy Thomas Baker. How that affected the resulting album is essentially up to the listener, but I think both albums are equally fantastic.

Last edited by The Infidel; 02-09-10 at 05:15 PM.
The Infidel is offline  
Old 02-09-10, 05:32 PM
  #3  
DVD Talk Legend
 
Spiderbite's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 1999
Location: Birmingham, AL
Posts: 13,361
Re: Queen: Album by Album Discussion, A Day at the Races (1976)

Another fantastic album and a nice follow-up to the classic A Night At The Opera. I don't think it is as strong as ANATO as a whole but it is still one of my favorite Queen albums.

I discovered ANATO at the young age of 8 but never heard ADATR until I was around 16. For some reason, you just never seemed to hear about this album and it just wasn't on my radar (and being a kid of limited means, other albums were more important to me at the time). Since I hadn't listened to this album to death, it is more fresh (to me) than ANATO and I will likely reach for this one first nowadays.

The lyrics and style are of the entire album are the mirror image of ANATO as The Infidel has pointed out. It does have a small clunker of this one and it is "White Man." I don't know what it is but it just sounds way too forced. The message, the lyrics, the music, the phrasing...everything. It just doesn't flow or sound as natural as the other songs on this album or ANATO.

I truly love the goofiness of "The Millionaire Waltz" and "Good Old Fashioned Lover Boy." Those work for me even more than the similar "Lazing On A Sunday Afternoon" and "Seaside Rendezvous." The guitar work on the entire album is magnificent and May really shines on this album to me.

Of course it has one of the greatest Queen song's ever on it which is "Somebody To Love." I can seriously listen to this song 20 times in a row and never get sick of it. Deacon again shines with "You And I" which is a fun jaunt that makes you smile when you sing it. Taylor doesn't match "I'm In Love With My Car" with "Drowse" but it does have a nice grimy groove to it.

A seriously great follow up to one of the greatest albums of all time but I have to side with Supermallet stating the "1-2 punch" of Sheer Heart Attack & ANATO is stronger than ANATO and ADATR.

My rating: **** out of *****
Spiderbite is offline  
Old 02-09-10, 05:45 PM
  #4  
Banned by request
 
Supermallet's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2000
Location: Termite Terrace
Posts: 54,156
Re: Queen: Album by Album Discussion, A Day at the Races (1976)

While I think Day starts out fantastically with the biting rocker "Tie Your Mother Down," it immediately shows its uneven nature with "Take My Breath Away" and "Long Away." The first doesn't have the same intimacy as "Love of My Life" or "Lily of the Valley" from the preceding two albums, and "Long Away" is just boring.

Things pick back up in a big way with "Millionaire Waltz," one of my favorite Queen songs, and "You And I," Deacon's best song to date. The centerpiece of the album is, of course, "Somebody To Love," featuring great choral vocals from the group, along with what may be Mercury's best lead vocal delivery.

"White Man" is a clunker both musically and lyrically, but "Good Old-Fashioned Lover Boy" is their best "light" song, full of whimsy and melody. "Drowse" is Taylor's worst song to date (and given how much people dislike his songs on the previous albums, that's saying something!) before the album ends with "Teo Torriate," a sufficient, if not amazing, closer.

While the album was meant to be closely paired with Night at the Opera, I think the comparisons hurt this one, as it's their most uneven album since their first. Of all the tracks, only a select few come close to hitting the heights of the previous album, but nothing really compares to "The Prophet's Song" and "Bohemian Rhapsody." Still, it's not a bad record, just one that I cherry pick through when I listen to it.

Edit: Plus, let's face it, A Night At The Opera is a better movie than A Day At The Races is anyway.
Supermallet is offline  
Old 02-09-10, 07:43 PM
  #5  
DVD Talk Limited Edition
 
Ginwen's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2002
Location: Kent, WA
Posts: 7,242
Re: Queen: Album by Album Discussion, A Day at the Races (1976)

Pretty good, but not up to the preceding two in my opinion. That first Queen concert I went to was the tour for this album, and Tie Your Mother Down was a pretty excellent opener.
Ginwen is offline  
Old 02-09-10, 10:54 PM
  #6  
DVD Talk Hall of Fame
 
B5Erik's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Southern California
Posts: 9,132
Re: Queen: Album by Album Discussion, A Day at the Races (1976)

I'm not a big fan of A Day at the Races. Even though I like several of Queen's non Hard Rock songs on most of their albums this one really suffers from a lack of true rockers. There are only 2 real rockers here, and while there are a couple other songs on Day that are really good I think this album just isn't up to Queen's usual standards.

Night at the Opera is brilliant from start to finish. Day at the Races is uneven and has only a couple songs that would have made the cut for Night.
B5Erik is offline  
Old 02-10-10, 11:52 AM
  #7  
DVD Talk Gold Edition
 
Join Date: Dec 2001
Location: Millville, New Jersey
Posts: 2,945
Re: Queen: Album by Album Discussion, A Day at the Races (1976)

I had A Day at The Races on 8-Track back in the late 70's. I would always wear out the song Tie Your Mother Down on it. I remember it was the first song on Track 1 so when it was over I had to click the button to re-set the tracks to the beginning because that was like the only song on the tape that I played in heavy rotation. The rest of the songs I really didn't bother with.
JOE29 is offline  
Old 02-10-10, 12:03 PM
  #8  
DVD Talk Legend
Thread Starter
 
The Infidel's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2001
Location: the kingdom of the evil Voratians, ruled by the wicked Ak-Oga
Posts: 11,417
Re: Queen: Album by Album Discussion, A Day at the Races (1976)

I guess I'm in the minority on this one, because I still maintain that ADATR is every bit as good as ANATO. The problem with it is two things: it suffers from following up ANATO, which was a very well-received album, and was quickly recognized upon release as being artistically superior to anything they'd done to date. That's a lot to live up to. Second, I think people had a hard time latching on to the darker nature of the material on ADATR. There's a lot of minor-key things going on there.

Look at "You Take My Breath Away". I think this track is every bit as good as "Love of My Life" on the first album (of the two). It's an absolutely gorgeous song, and I actually think Freddie's vocals on this one are even better than "Love". To this day, I still get chills during the part of the song where the vocal layering at the end of the bridge goes "to tell you, that you juuuuuuuuust...". Every single time.

If you really get down to it and compare the work on both albums, and can ignore the fact that one has always been more highly-rated than the other over the years, you'll find that both albums have an almost equal blend of the lighter and darker material. One leans more toward one than the other, and I think that was the whole idea when they put them out: to create albums that would always be linked together, yet be able to be recognized as separate entities, equal (hopefully) in the level of artistry. I honestly think they accomplished that.

Last edited by The Infidel; 02-10-10 at 12:48 PM.
The Infidel is offline  
Old 02-10-10, 01:19 PM
  #9  
DVD Talk Hero
 
slop101's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2001
Location: So. Cal.
Posts: 40,062
Re: Queen: Album by Album Discussion, A Day at the Races (1976)

While I like this album fine, of the first 8 Queen albums (all of which I consider essential), I think this is their weakest effort (News of the World is pretty close though) - it just doesn't soar to the same heights of the other albums.
slop101 is offline  
Old 02-10-10, 05:10 PM
  #10  
Banned by request
 
Supermallet's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2000
Location: Termite Terrace
Posts: 54,156
Re: Queen: Album by Album Discussion, A Day at the Races (1976)

Originally Posted by The Infidel View Post
Look at "You Take My Breath Away". I think this track is every bit as good as "Love of My Life" on the first album (of the two). It's an absolutely gorgeous song, and I actually think Freddie's vocals on this one are even better than "Love". To this day, I still get chills during the part of the song where the vocal layering at the end of the bridge goes "to tell you, that you juuuuuuuuust...". Every single time.
It's as well produced or performed as Love of My Life; it's just not as well written.

Originally Posted by The Infidel View Post
If you really get down to it and compare the work on both albums, and can ignore the fact that one has always been more highly-rated than the other over the years, you'll find that both albums have an almost equal blend of the lighter and darker material. One leans more toward one than the other, and I think that was the whole idea when they put them out: to create albums that would always be linked together, yet be able to be recognized as separate entities, equal (hopefully) in the level of artistry. I honestly think they accomplished that.
I don't mind albums with dark material (hell, some of my favorite albums are much, much darker than A Day At The Races, such as Lou Reed's Berlin, Nico's The End, Scott Walker's The Drift), I just mind albums with as much obvious filler as this one. It's not the tone, it's the songwriting.
Supermallet is offline  
Old 02-10-10, 05:53 PM
  #11  
DVD Talk Legend
Thread Starter
 
The Infidel's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2001
Location: the kingdom of the evil Voratians, ruled by the wicked Ak-Oga
Posts: 11,417
Re: Queen: Album by Album Discussion, A Day at the Races (1976)

I guess I'll just have to stay in the minority, because I think the songwriting on both albums is just as good, "You Take My Breath Away" is just as good as "Love of My Life" (if not better), and I don't think songs that they put that much effort into creating can be considered "filler".

I realize that everyone has different opinions, but it truly flabergasts me that people who call themselves Queen fans don't appreciate this album more.
The Infidel is offline  
Old 02-10-10, 06:32 PM
  #12  
DVD Talk Hero
 
slop101's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2001
Location: So. Cal.
Posts: 40,062
Re: Queen: Album by Album Discussion, A Day at the Races (1976)

Originally Posted by The Infidel View Post
I realize that everyone has different opinions, but it truly flabergasts me that people who call themselves Queen fans don't appreciate this album more.
But if I appreciate this album more, I would have to appreciate another album of theirs less - I'm not saying it's a weak album, but it just isn't as consistently great as the other 7 of their first 8 albums.
slop101 is offline  
Old 02-10-10, 06:43 PM
  #13  
Banned by request
 
Supermallet's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2000
Location: Termite Terrace
Posts: 54,156
Re: Queen: Album by Album Discussion, A Day at the Races (1976)

Originally Posted by The Infidel View Post
I guess I'll just have to stay in the minority, because I think the songwriting on both albums is just as good, "You Take My Breath Away" is just as good as "Love of My Life" (if not better), and I don't think songs that they put that much effort into creating can be considered "filler".
I am constantly flabbergasted that people put so much time into songs like "Red Red Wine" or thousands of other adult contemporary tracks that seem like nothing but well-produced sleep aids. And yet, they do. I still have no clue how people heard the songs Steve Miller wrote and thought, "THIS needs to be recorded and released!" and yet they were. I'm not saying the filler on Day at the Races is on the same level as "Red Red Wine" or anything by Steve Miller, but at the same time, just putting effort into something doesn't mean that the song is good.

Originally Posted by The Infidel View Post
I realize that everyone has different opinions, but it truly flabergasts me that people who call themselves Queen fans don't appreciate this album more.
I don't understand how people can blithely put down all of Queen's output past The Game, but somehow they manage to do it. It doesn't make me any less of a Queen fan to think that Day at the Races is uneven.
Supermallet is offline  
Old 02-10-10, 08:37 PM
  #14  
DVD Talk Legend
Thread Starter
 
The Infidel's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2001
Location: the kingdom of the evil Voratians, ruled by the wicked Ak-Oga
Posts: 11,417
Re: Queen: Album by Album Discussion, A Day at the Races (1976)

Originally Posted by Suprmallet View Post
I am constantly flabbergasted that people put so much time into songs like "Red Red Wine" or thousands of other adult contemporary tracks that seem like nothing but well-produced sleep aids. And yet, they do. I still have no clue how people heard the songs Steve Miller wrote and thought, "THIS needs to be recorded and released!" and yet they were. I'm not saying the filler on Day at the Races is on the same level as "Red Red Wine" or anything by Steve Miller, but at the same time, just putting effort into something doesn't mean that the song is good.

I don't understand how people can blithely put down all of Queen's output past The Game, but somehow they manage to do it. It doesn't make me any less of a Queen fan to think that Day at the Races is uneven.
Well, like I said, it's just a difference of opinion. If you think it's uneven, you think it's uneven. I just don't see it. I think the effort they put into this is equal to ANATO, but perhaps the difference is the absence of Roy Thomas Baker. Do you think having him aboard would have made a difference? Sub-question, how much of Queen's sound on the first four albums do you think can be attributed to Baker's production?

(By the way, I know you were just using it as an example, but I'm with you on Red Red Wine. I HAAAAAAATE that song, as well as anything by that group. I can't even think of the name of the group, because I've thankfully blocked it out.)
The Infidel is offline  
Old 02-10-10, 08:56 PM
  #15  
Banned by request
 
Supermallet's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2000
Location: Termite Terrace
Posts: 54,156
Re: Queen: Album by Album Discussion, A Day at the Races (1976)

UB40, IIRC.

I certainly don't think the sound of the album is an issue. But I do wonder if Baker pushed them to work on the songwriting a little more than they did here. I think News of the World is a much stronger album, so perhaps they were just worn out from all the work that went into Opera, or maybe the tracks from Races were rejects from Opera that they polished up.

Again, I want to reiterate that this has some of my favorite Queen songs (most especially "Millionaire Waltz," "Somebody To Love," and "Good Old-Fashioned Lover Boy"), and I'm not saying the filler songs are awful (except for "Drowse").
Supermallet is offline  
Old 02-11-10, 01:13 AM
  #16  
DVD Talk Hero
 
JasonF's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2001
Location: Washington, DC
Posts: 39,531
Re: Queen: Album by Album Discussion, A Day at the Races (1976)

UB40 did the famous reggae version from the 80s, but it was originally a Neil Diamond song.

Back on topic, I don't own a copy of this album and haven't listened to it in probably close to 20 years, but I spent the afternoon listening to the YouTubes embedded in the first post and I immediately hopped over to Amazon and ordered a copy. It's probably not fair to judge this album by the YouTube embeds and my 20-year old memory, but I would rank it as not as good as either the album that preceded it or the one that followed ... but I liked it enough to buy a copy, so it's still pretty good.
JasonF is offline  
Old 02-11-10, 01:43 AM
  #17  
Banned by request
 
Supermallet's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2000
Location: Termite Terrace
Posts: 54,156
Re: Queen: Album by Album Discussion, A Day at the Races (1976)

Neil Diamond originally wrote Red Red Wine? Really? -1 for Mr. Diamond.
Supermallet is offline  
Old 02-11-10, 12:53 PM
  #18  
DVD Talk Hero
 
JasonF's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2001
Location: Washington, DC
Posts: 39,531
Re: Queen: Album by Album Discussion, A Day at the Races (1976)

Originally Posted by Suprmallet View Post
Neil Diamond originally wrote Red Red Wine? Really? -1 for Mr. Diamond.


You're welcome.
JasonF is offline  
Old 02-11-10, 03:24 PM
  #19  
DVD Talk Limited Edition
 
Jack Straw's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 1999
Location: So. Calif.
Posts: 5,100
Re: Queen: Album by Album Discussion, A Day at the Races (1976)

You Take My Breath Away and Teo Torriatte (Let Us Cling Together) are great showcases for Mercury's vocals and amazing tracks overall.
Jack Straw is offline  
Old 02-11-10, 03:29 PM
  #20  
DVD Talk Limited Edition
 
Jack Straw's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 1999
Location: So. Calif.
Posts: 5,100
Re: Queen: Album by Album Discussion, A Day at the Races (1976)

I would say that "Death on Two Legs" and "B.Rhapsody" are pretty dark songs and "Somebody To Love", "You and I", and "Good Old Fashioned Lover Boy" are both very light whimsical songs. So I don't get these generalizations going the opposite ways.
Jack Straw is offline  
Old 02-12-10, 12:34 AM
  #21  
DVD Talk Limited Edition
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: Raleighwood
Posts: 6,644
Re: Queen: Album by Album Discussion, A Day at the Races (1976)

I've always thought of A Day at the Races as Queen's "melancholy" album (except for the blistering Tie Your Mother Down). Freddie's songs in particular sound like he was going through a lonely period in his life. I'll be the dissenting opinion on White Man - I love when Queen get heavy, and this has a grimy, heavy sound. You and I is a lovely song. Great album overall.

And Drowse is another awesome Roger track!
Fist of Doom is offline  
Old 02-12-10, 03:38 AM
  #22  
DVD Talk Legend
Thread Starter
 
The Infidel's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2001
Location: the kingdom of the evil Voratians, ruled by the wicked Ak-Oga
Posts: 11,417
Re: Queen: Album by Album Discussion, A Day at the Races (1976)

Originally Posted by Jack Straw View Post
I would say that "Death on Two Legs" and "B.Rhapsody" are pretty dark songs and "Somebody To Love", "You and I", and "Good Old Fashioned Lover Boy" are both very light whimsical songs. So I don't get these generalizations going the opposite ways.
What I actually said was that both albums have a good mix of lighter and darker material, but it was my opinion that ANATO leans toward the lighter, and ADATR leans toward the darker. I don't think anyone said that each album had each feel of music exclusively.
The Infidel is offline  

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is On
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Archive Advertising Cookie Policy Privacy Statement Terms of Service

Copyright 2018 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.