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Queen V

The Decade of Queen V

(Royal Noise; US: 25 Jun 2013; UK: Import)

By the numbers rock

By-the-numbers rock can be fun at times, even if it lacks originality—what’s needed more than anything is a strong dose of energy, and perhaps a healthy bit of self-belief (see also: Oasis). When either or both of these elements is lacking, the result will be a pale imitation of what rock and roll should be. Which brings us to Queen V, a leather-clad, would-be rock goddess who strikes plenty of poses but comes off as an inconvincing reflection of—well, of anything at all really. Tracks like “America” and “Wasted” manage to conjure up a bit of distorted-guitar bounce—notwithstanding that the chord progressions are eye-wateringly familiar—but much of the album succumbs to watery power-ballad territory with snoozers like “Cry Your Eyes Out” and “Good Enough”, plus the particularly egregious “Cry For a Minute”. Throughout, the lyrics are hackneyed to the point of satire, with shouted declarations of “I’m not your stepping stone!” jostling elbows with “Revolution, baby, that’s my sound!” and the breathtakingly bold, “If you think you own me, go to hell!” And these are just from the first two tracks. Not all the news is bad: the scratchy “Die For You” manages to scrape together a degree of wah-wah pedal verve, but it’s too little too late. This record is as forgettable as they come. One question though: what the hell is Lemmy doing on the closing track?

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DAVID MAINE is a novelist and essayist. His books include The Preservationist (2004), Fallen (2005), The Book of Samson (2006), Monster, 1959 (2008) and An Age of Madness (2012). He has contributed to The Washington Post, Publishers Weekly, Esquire.com and NPR.com, among other outlets. He is a lifelong music obsessive whose interests range from rock to folk to hip-hop to international to blues. He currently lives in western Massachusetts, where he works in human services. Catch up with his blog, The Party Never Stops, at davidmaine.blogspot.com, or become his buddy on Facebook (or Twitter or Google+ or whatever you prefer) to keep up with reviews and other developments.


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