Queen & Paul Rodgers - The Cosmos Rocks
Hollywood Records
14 songs (58:39)
Release year: 2008
Queen & Paul Rodgers Homepage
Reviewed by Jeff
Major event

Should The Who still use the name The Who if the only remaining original members are Roger Daltrey and Pete Townshend? Should Guns N' Roses still be called Guns N' Roses if Axl Rose is the only original member left? Is Led Zeppelin still considered Led Zeppelin without Robert Plant or John Bonham? Is anyone starting to see where I'm going with this?

My opinion is that the above bands, as well as many others not named, continue to use their original band names regardless of who is in the band because it is a brand or trademark of sorts. It usually creates instant recognition and an identity with listeners and fans. It is something that most of these bands have worked very hard for and earned over time and should not be discarded so easily.

In the case of Queen and Paul Rodgers, both have earned their respective places in rock history. To call this latest effort just Queen would be disrespectful to Freddy Mercury and John Deacon because it is not Queen per say. The only original Queen members contributing to The Cosmos Rocks are guitarist Brian May and drummer Roger Taylor. The Cosmos Rocks does contain some Queen elements but nothing like what you'd here on any of their previous albums. Of course, Freddy Mercury was big part of Queen. If anyone was expecting classic Queen you will be disappointed. The album lacks the flamboyancy and theatrics that Freddie Mercury once provided. However, one can still appreciate this album for what it's worth thanks to Paul Rodgers. Rodgers is no musical slouch. His work with bands like Free, Bad Company and The Firm is well known and the music he has created with those legends has been more than lasting and enduring. His collaboration with May and Taylor has resulted in something that at times sounds more like a new millennium version of Bad Company. The music is much more blues based and rock accessible, containing a balanced mix of rockers and ballads. For me, I hear more Paul Rodgers than Queen on The Cosmos Rocks. At times I feel they should have named this project Paul Rodgers & Queen or even Rodgers, Taylor and May. No matter what you want to call this band, the music speaks for itself.

The track Cosmos Rockin' is just that! It is a very rock and roll oriented song and has that Johnny B Goode vibe to it. Brian May's trademark guitar sound is ever present here as far as his layered harmony lead guitar fills and rhythm playing. There are some supporting background vocals but not as big or octavely varied as Queen's were. Time to Shine has Paul Rodgers written all over it. This is something that could have been from a Bad Company album like Desolation Angels. The soaring vocals are majestic with the melody lines and the acoustic guitars add cleanliness and purity. Paul Rodgers never sounded better and proves he still has what it takes as a vocalist. Still Burning is a slower blues based rocker. May breaks out the wah wah effects during his lead guitar solo. Small is more of a ballad with more acoustics and subdued vocals aside from the chorus. A nice song. Warboys is another hard rocker. I like the rhythm of this song in the beginning. Taylor plays some militaristic snare drum rolls to give the song that army atmosphere. We Believe is another power ballad. It starts off slow and kicks in. Brian May does a nice job with his guitar fills. The beginning group vocals for Call Me are very reminiscent of older Queen. The chorus is a bit repetitive so this song will easily get stuck in your head. Voodoo is another slow song and is heavily blues influenced. Some Things That Glitter is another Bad Company like song with some great melody lines. The chorus in C-lebrity also reminds me of classic Queen at times. It has a dreamy like approach to it. Through The Night is another ballad reminiscent of ballad songs from Bad Company albums like Bad Company, Straight Shooter and Runnin' With The Pack. Say It's Not True is sung by Roger Taylor, Brian May and Paul Rodgers. It's a song that was written for Nelson Mandela and is about the HIV virus. There is a more stripped down version on the live album Return of the Champions (2005) that Taylor does all the vocals on. The version on The Cosmos Rocks is more of a power ballad that starts off mellow and then kicks in with some guitar power chords. Surf's Up...School's Out is a bit more progressed out with it's odd start and stop time changes. It's a bit more psychedelic as well when compared to the other tracks.. The album closes with an instrumental reprise of Small. It is a shorter, more progressed out version of the one that is heard earlier on the album.

I really didn't like this album much upon the first listen. A few tracks hit me right away but now I have much more appreciation for this album as a whole. A great effort by these guys! Way to go!

Killing Songs :
Cosmos Rockin', Time to Shine, Still Burning, Small, Warboys, Some Things That Glitter, Surf's Up...School's Out
Jeff quoted 85 / 100
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