Friday, November 12, 2010

Queen Song of the Week: Action This Day

We're continuing to work our way through the set list of Queen's 1982 show at Milton Keynes. The tour was in support of the band's album Hot Space and marked the last time that the band's original lineup toured in the United States.

Action This Day is both the first song in the show that appeared on the album Hot Space and the first song in the show written by RT.

Video courtesy of queenofficial.

RT and Freddie Mercury shared the lead vocals on this song and, in this concert, managed to replicate a fair amount of the album vocals. Here's the album version for comparison. I do wonder, however, if any of the vocals are overdubbed because sometimes the non-Freddie vocals (i.e. Freddie is obviously not singing) sound like RT and sometimes they don't. Interesting.

The song has RT written all over it. I feel fairly confident that if I'd seen the written lyrics without knowing the songwriter, I could pinpoint it as an RT song. Also, the drum beat, which drives the song, is very reminiscent of solo songs RT was writing in the early-1980s (specifically Man on Fire, reviewed here). RT was also the first of the band to really start to experiment with synthesizers, which led to some criticism of the band.

Hot Space in general is frequently cited by fans as too far a departure from the band's work in the 1970s. I'll be honest: I'm definitely more of a 70s Queen fan than a 80s Queen fan, but I like this song which is probably based more on my appreciation of RT as a musician and solo artist than my love of Queen. I can see how listening to this song immediately after some of their earlier stuff might be a bit jarring.

Happy Listening!

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