Queen finally releases collaboration with Michael Jackson

by

comment


Somewhere between 1981 and 1984, two of the world's biggest music acts, Queen and Michael Jackson, collaborated. The result sat in the can for roughly thirty years until it was dusted off and touched up to be featured on a career-spanning retrospective called Queen Forever. "There Must Be More to Life Than This" was originally written by Queen frontman, Freddie Mercury, in 1981 and intended to be released on the album, Hot Space



Mercury took the unfinished song to Jackson's home in Los Angeles to record vocal tracks, but still it failed to see a release. On his debut solo record, Mr. Bad Guy, Mercury recorded a different, much less Queen-ish sounding version. 

The version of "There Must Be More to Life Than This" recorded with Jackson became highly anticipated when its eventual release was announced, and understandably so. Both acts are beloved and highly influential. The song, at its foundation, is a lighthearted piano ballad. However, with every listen, more facets reveal themselves. 

Brian May, John Deacon and Roger Taylor give the ballad more heft by adding fullness and punch behind Mercury's piano. The accompanying string arrangement elevates the mood of the song to a grander level to match the evergreen lyrical content. Just past the midway point of the song, a well engineered guitar solo acts as a catalyst into the second half's crescendo.



The aspect of "There Must Be More to Life Than This" that is disappointing is the vocal performance. Jackson's voice emerges in the second verse, quivering like a prepubescent teenager. Even as the song draws nearer to the dramatic climax, neither singer quite belts it out. As much as the music urges the vocals to explode, they never quite match the intensity and passion of the instrumental.

The question arises: why collaborate in the first place? To work with an artist who can add something that you're not capable of producing yourself perhaps. If that's the case, then it almost seems like an unnecessary collaboration, since Jackson's performance really doesn't do anything for the song. Then again, "There Must Be More to Life Than This" lives in the shadow of Queen's classic collaboration with David Bowie, "Under Pressure."

"There Must Be More to Life Than This" is not a bad song. In fact, it's a well orchestrated and well executed pop song. Perhaps the problem is, as consumers, we expected too much from two colossal artists working together.

Tags

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Detroit Metro Times. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Detroit Metro Times, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at letters@metrotimes.com.

Detroit Metro Times works for you, and your support is essential.

Our small but mighty local team works tirelessly to bring you high-quality, uncensored news and cultural coverage of Detroit and beyond.

Unlike many newspapers, ours is free – and we'd like to keep it that way, because we believe, now more than ever, everyone deserves access to accurate, independent coverage of their community.

Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing pledge, your support helps keep Detroit's true free press free.