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Queen: Greatest Hits II 

In case you had any doubts about the fact that the later part of Queen's career is the less interesting one, here's this album for some mysterious reason, released in the U.S. 20 years after it originally came out. The collection centers on the more decidedly techno-pop version of the band. It includes one track from 1982's Hot Space ("Under Pressure," the Freddie Mercury-David Bowie duet), and three each from The Works (1984), A Kind of Magic (1986), The Miracle (1989), and Innuendo (1991). While the first Greatest Hits album includes the classics that turned Queen into one of the smartest, sophisticated, and most successful rock groups in history, this second part works more on an emotional level than a musical one. Listening to Mercury's still-amazing voice exploring his own mortality in "The Show Must Go On," released six weeks before his death, is still as chilling as it was in 1991. Greatest Hits II works because Queen is like Fellini and Woody Allen — even their "minor" stuff is head and shoulders above most of the rest. It's not an album for new listeners; this one's for the fans.


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