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Under The Radar: Queen & Paul Rodgers, Cosmos Rocks (2008)

Line-up / Musicians

- Paul Rodgers / lead vocals, guitar, bass, keyboards, piano, harmonica

- Brian May / guitars, bass, keyboards, piano, lead & backing vocals

- Roger Taylor / drums, percussion, keyboards, lead & backing vocals

Track listing

01. Cosmos Rockin' 02. Time To Shine

03. Still Burnin' 04. Small 05. Warboys

06. We Believe 07. Call Me 08. Voodoo

09. Some Things That Glitter 10. C-lebrity

11. Through The Night 12. Say It's Not True

13. Surf's Up . . . School's Out! 14. (small reprise)

I just saw the first trailer for the Queen biopic, Bohemian Rhapsody and it looks really good. This got me thinking, I haven’t reviewed many Queen albums. In all honesty, I could have gone back and reviewed their entire catalogue, but that has been to death. Truth be told, Queen gets a lot of praise for their albums from the 1970’s, but for whatever reason their material from the 1980’s and onward has become unjustly ignored and forgotten. So, I let’s go against the grain and look at some of the underappreciated or forgotten jewels from the Queen catalogue.

When Freddie Mercury died in 1991, Queen and the whole world lost one of the most magnetic frontmen and one of the most versatile vocalists of all time. So, it was understandable that the whole world gasped at the thought when founding members Brian May and Roger Taylor decided that “The Show Must Go On”, and tour under the Queen moniker with non-other than Paul Rodgers.

In my opinion, I thought that Paul Rodgers (Free, Bad Company, The Firm) was an excellent choice. Rodgers may have lacked the flamboyancy and theatrics of Mercury, but there is no doubt that the man can sing.

I’m not sure as to why that this collaboration between Rodgers and Queen had such a hard time. If you were a fan of the group, you knew that they were always willing to take risks with their music, so incorporating Rodgers’ more blues-based rock shouldn’t have been met with such reluctance. But it did, and that’s why the 2008’s The Cosmos Rocks is the only studio album by Queen + Paul Rodgers. It’s a shame, the group showed a lot promise and I am confident that with a few more tours under their belt, the next studio record would have been everything Queen + Paul Rodgers would have wanted.

In my opinion, there were a few reasons why the Queen + Paul Rodgers collaboration didn’t work out. First, Queen’s fan base just weren’t ready for the band to start up again, especially without Mercury. He was one in a billion and there will never be another like him. Believe me, I miss him too. Second, fans thought that Rodgers was replacing Mercury, but that wasn’t the case at all. May and Taylor had made it clear that Rodgers would not be replacing Queen's former lead singer, Freddie Mercury, he simply would be "featured with" former Queen members. Third, although Queen has never been shy in taking risks with their sound, The Cosmos Rocks sounded more like a Rodgers album than a Queen album. Perhaps the album would have done better as the May, Rodgers, Taylor (MRT) Project.

Still, what I wouldn’t give for these music icons to give it another go. The Cosmos Rocks isn’t a masterpiece by any sense of the word, but songs like Time To Shine, Still Burnin’ and Small are great tracks and should be heard.

All in all, The Cosmos Rocks is still a solid album and deserves a second chance.

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