The Game (Deluxe Edition)
Released in 1980, The Game finds Queen loosening up a little a bit. The group’s previous album, the playful Jazz, was fun—but given the option of either dashing something off, or agonizing over it to the point of paralysis, the members of Queen always chose the latter. So when they managed to record “Crazy Little Thing Called Love” in four hours—an unprecedentedly short amount of time in Queenworld—and the song ended up becoming the group’s biggest American single to date, the bandmates had an epiphany: They could be quick and easy in the studio, and still be Queen. In a continuing effort to record internationally—a pursuit undertaken to avoid English tax collectors—Freddie Mercury, Brian May, Roger Taylor, and John Deacon headed to Munich, where they hung out after recording sessions at a club called the Sugar Shack, often auditioning new tracks on the club sound system after hours. Generally, the more space a track had, the better it sounded, whether it was the weird, funky hard rock of Brian May’s “Dragon Attack” or the disco of John Deacon’s “Another One Bites the Dust,” which the band put out as a single in part because Michael Jackson suggested it (and if there’s one person you were going to listen to about pop music in 1980, it was Michael Jackson). The King of Pop was right: “Another One Bites the Dust” topped the US charts—and did so at a time when rock fans were participating in the public destruction of disco albums, making the song’s success all the more noteworthy. But it wasn’t the only departure to be found on The Game: After a decade of publicly swearing against synthesizers, the band members embraced the high-tech instrument on “Rock It (Prime Jive).” The times were changing—and so was Queen.