'Queen Forever' to Feature Unheard Freddie Mercury Tracks, But That's Not the Only Reason to Be Excited
With Michael Jackson's Xscape leaping to the number two spot on the Billboard charts earlier this May, the notion of a "posthumous album" has been reintroduced (and lucratively so) into the pop cultural lexicon — which may be what inspired Queen guitarist Brian May to browse back through the band's archives. There, he discovered a handful of previously unreleased tracks from the '80s, including songs with never before heard Freddie Mercury vocals — and, in an interview on BBC Radio, he announced that Queen will put out a compilation album later this year, its working title, Queen Forever.
According to May, the songs shine especially because of their late revival:
"It's the big, big epic sound. It wouldn’t have been if we hadn’t have done this restoration job. We only had scraps, but knowing how it would've happened had we finished it, I can sit there and make it happen with modern technology."
Indeed, in the wake of Xscape and, earlier this year, Johnny Cash's "lost LP" Out Among the Stars — which, legend tells, was simply collecting dust in Sony's basement — and even earlier partway-done posthumous efforts like Elliot Smith's gorgeous From a Basement on a Hill , it makes you wonder why there isn't a division at every major record label solely dedicated to sussing out these forgotten, ghostly tracks. Can we get someone on this, pronto, please? A kind of Storage Wars for buried musical treasures? (Personally, I will pay double for any and all discarded Bowie outtakes.)
Plus, when it comes to Queen especially, this vintage Freddie couldn't come at a more welcome time for those of us who have middling to bittersweet feelings about Adam Lambert replacing Mercury on Queen's summer tour (or, who thought they should at least tap Mika instead). Furthermore, one hopes that the album might drop right around the same time as production finally begins on the forthcoming Freddie Mercury biopic, set to star the lovely and talented Ben Wishaw (the band's first choice after Mercury doppelgänger Sacha Baron Cohen left the project over "creative differences"). Because, the more Queen in our collective pop day, the better, I feel.
And speaking of which, in the spirit of "Queen Forever," let's close out with an ode to longevity and unstoppability and stars who fancy themselves gravity-defying tigers (and couldn't be more right):