Queen, Flash Gordon

Barry Walters

By Barry Walters

on 09.15.11 in Reviews

Flash Gordon

A brief, foreboding and retro-futuristic film soundtrack

Unlike most rock records connected to movies, Queen’s Flash Gordon LP isn’t a grab-bag of pop songs, but an actual film soundtrack. This means there are only two vocal cuts: “Flash’s Theme,” which is nearly the same crazy, flippant track as the “Flash” single included on Queen hits collections but with different dialogue snippets, and “The Hero,” a crash-collision of the band’s splendidly pompous ’70s prog-rock and composer Howard Blake’s equally florid orchestral score. Most of the instrumentals lay heavy on the synths recently added to the quartet’s arsenal on 1980′s The Game. Aside from Freddie Mercury’s “Football Fight,” May’s “Battle Theme,” and the aforementioned vocal numbers, the band rarely plays as a unit, and nearly everything’s brief, foreboding, and retro-futuristic. There are few guitar heroics, but heaps of intentionally hokey film lines. The deliberately daffy result hammers the first nail in the coffin of Queen’s just-peaked U.S. popularity.