Queen will release a new song tomorrow, Face it Alone, with vocals by the late Freddie Mercury. First play was supposed to be on BBC Radio 2 in the UK, but a French DJ played it last night, and somebody recorded it. I first heard there would be a new song back in July, and I was so excited to hear what it would be.
The song comes from a demo recorded in 1988 or 1989. There are copies of the demo floating around out there, but it looks like they’ve been scrubbed from YouTube. There used to be a version of it here last July. The demo wasn’t great. It was probably recorded on a tape recorder with a microphone held up in the air as other people talked nearby. I presumed that Queen have a better recording of it.
Is it any good? I listened to it once. I’m not jumping up and down with joy that there’s a new Freddie Mercury song. They didn’t have much to work with, and it unfortunately shows. Freddie’s vocals sound very auto-tuned. His singing at the start of the song sounds like an AI effect you’d hear on a Zoom call to remove background sound. It ruins his voice. Other vocals are better, the guitar is great, but it’s not a song I’ll listen to on a regular basis.
Listen to it here and judge for yourself.
Edit on October 13th: the official video is out now. Sound quality is much better, of course, but that first verse sounds very forced. The last line, “is set on fire”, does not sound natural. I would love to know how much processing went into making this track.
Damn, it’s growing on me.