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Music / The Game (Queen)

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"This thing called love, I just can't handle it."

"This is your life, don't play hard to get.
It's a free world, all you have
To do is fall in love,
Play the game,
Everybody play the game of love."
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The Game is the eighth studio album by British Glam Rock band Queen, and was released on 30 June 1980. The album was the band's first to be co-produced by Electric Light Orchestra collaborator Reinhold Mack, who would go on to co-produce the band's next three albums as well. It was also the first album in which the famously "no synths" band used synthesizers, specifically an Oberheim OB-X in this case. The album was a resounding commercial success, being the only one to have reached the #1 position in the United States. It also produced two #1 singles: "Another One Bites the Dust" and "Crazy Little Thing Called Love".

The Game was supported by five singles: "Crazy Little Thing Called Love", "Save Me", "Another One Bites the Dust", "Need Your Loving Tonight", and "Play the Game". The former single was the band's last release in the '70s, coming out in October of 1979, while the latter single's video marked the debut of Freddie Mercury's iconic mustache, which he would sport until 1987.

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Tracklist:

Side One
  1. "Play the Game" (3:30)
  2. "Dragon Attack" (4:18)
  3. "Another One Bites the Dust" (3:35)
  4. "Need Your Loving Tonight" (2:50)
  5. "Crazy Little Thing Called Love" (2:42)

Side Two

  1. "Rock It (Prime Jive)" (4:33)
  2. "Don't Try Suicide" (3:52)
  3. "Sail Away Sweet Sister" (3:33)
  4. "Coming Soon" (2:51)
  5. "Save Me" (3:48)

Principal Members:

  • John Deacon – bass, guitars
  • Brian May – guitars, lead vocals ("Sail Away Sweet Sister"), backing vocals, synthesizer, piano
  • Freddie Mercury – lead vocals, backing vocals, piano, synthesizer, guitar
  • Roger Taylor – drums, percussion, lead vocals ("Rock It (Prime Jive)"), backing vocals, electric guitar, synthesizer

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  • Alternate Album Cover: The original cover art features a band photo with Roger Taylor folding his arms, John Deacon & Freddie Mercury hooking their hands on their pockets, and Brian May with his hands at his stomach. The EMI CD release in the UK and Europe, meanwhile, replaces this with an alternate photo where Taylor & Mercury's hands are at their sides and May's hand is on his hip (Deacon makes the same pose in both versions). The second cover is also featured on the DVD-Audio release of the album worldwide.
  • Animated Music Video: The music video for "Save Me" uses colored pencil sketches to depict a woman chasing a glowing dove, with live-action footage of the band interspersed between scenes.
  • Break Up Song: "Need Your Loving Tonight" and "Save Me". Especially in the case of the latter, where Brian May was undergoing a breakup at the time.
  • Chroma Key: The music video for "Play the Game" features starfield and fire backgrounds bluescreened in behind the band. A photograph from the making of the video, depicting the band on the raw set without any effects applied, would later be used for the single release of "Another One Bites the Dust".
  • In the Style of:
    • "Another One Bites the Dust" was a disco song in the style of Chic; depending on who you ask, it was either an homage or something that Deacon basically just lifted from them and made minor edits to.
    • "Crazy Little Thing Called Love" is styled after rockabilly music, especially Elvis Presley.
  • Lyrical Dissonance:
    • "Don't Try Suicide", which is about suicide, but sounds like a reject from West Side Story.
    • "Another Bites The Dust": An upbeat funk song... about a man named Steve shooting up a nightclub.
  • New Sound Album: Up to this point, Queen touted their albums with "No Synthesizers", which was always more a way of rebutting the number of people who mistook Brian May's guitar effects for synths. This album demonstrates for the first time that the claim was never meant to be a snub towards keyboards, prominently featuring an Oberheim OB-X on half of the tracks. In fact, the very first sound heard on the album is a series of synthesized wooshes before Freddie Mercury's vocals kick in.
  • Performance Video: The music videos for "Play the Game" and "Another One Bites the Dust" center around the band miming the songs on a soundstage, with the former copiously incorporating Chroma Key effects as well. The video for "Save Me" additionally features footage of the band slotted between the animated sequences.
  • Production Foreshadowing: The music video for "Play the Game" features Freddie Mercury wearing a Flash Gordon t-shirt, tying in with the band's soundtrack for the then-upcoming film adaptation.
  • Record Producer: Reinhold Mack (credited mononymously as "Mack") and Queen, in their first of many collaborations together.
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: "Another One Bites the Dust" is about a man who goes on a killing spree shooting the people who had screwed him over.
  • Shout-Out: The bassline in "Another One Bites the Dust" was inspired by Chic's "Good Times"; Bernard Edwards credited this to the fact that John Deacon had previously spent time hanging out with them at their studio. The same song features a prolonged backwards piano chord, similar to Yes' "Roundabout".
  • Step Up to the Microphone: Roger sings lead vocals on "Rock It" (excluding the introduction, which is sung by Freddie). It is the only song on the album to not feature Freddie on lead vocals.
  • Word Salad Lyrics: Originally, John Deacon wanted to write "Another One Bites the Dust" about cowboys, but he ended up rewriting the words to the point that they didn't really mean anything in the end.


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