So Bad, It’s Brilliant! Or The Darkness – Last of Our Kind

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Back in the mid 80’s when the crimping iron was king and glam-rock-metal kids wore makeup in the fashion of Poison, a movie came out that was so bad it was absolutely brilliant – Maximum Overdrive. The villain was a big rig truck wearing a Green Goblin mask, the hero was Emilio Estevez, and the director was none other than the master of horror himself, Stephen King. Trucks, lawnmowers and even vending machines turned homicidal in a film King himself would admit to being done as he was “coked out of his mind.” Ultimately it was a film that stretched “suspension of disbelief” beyond any reasonable limit.

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Well, I certainly can’t say what or even if The Darkness was ‘on anything’ but it certainly takes a sense of humour to enjoy this record. The Darkness always seemed to have their tongue planted firmly in cheek, but now I have my doubts. You see, I’m not quite sure if this is a band that takes itself seriously or not anymore; and I’m not sure if their intention is rock supremacy or parody; I just know that the guitar “licks” are straight from the era of Whitesnake, White Lion and vocals are over the top cliché. The big hair 80’s had music was catchy, the subjects silly and spandex was thought to be cool.

From track number one “Barbarian” the axe swings a heavy blow against… well… it swings a mighty blow, and the falsetto screams of… well… screams. “Reducing the feeble citadels to ashes and blood stain / enslaving the sweet women folk / while every man is slain” is hilarious in its “epic-ness” as a description of story rather than storytelling itself.

Things get even more… um… colossal (that sounds good) throughout the record as The Darkness take on sounds of Queen doing the soundtrack for Flash Gordon. We are told to “open up your mighty wings and fly” in that high pitch testimonial climax on “Mighty Wings.” Regardless, it has all those metal moments of high drama and sound. You can imagine waves crashing, lightning flashing, broken hearts and quests for the nature of existence.

It isn’t that The Darkness have put out a bad record, it’s just that like Maximum Overdrive it stretches the “suspension of disbelief” beyond my capacity. Do they know they have broken the forth wall down and have in essence become a musical episode of Disney’s Phineas & Ferb? Is Last Of Our Kind a parody, and if so, who is it a parody of?

Lament for a world gone by… Queen – The Game

We would stay up and just talk until the wee hours. It was a bond we had, although it probably meant way more to me than her. Cousins, although not by blood, when my aunt said we were too old to sleep in the same room, we instead just went to the sofas down stairs and kept the conversation going.

There wasn’t any specific music as we chatted, it’s just that Queen’s The Game reminds me of those times. It was at at my cousins place where I first listened to this record but over the years it began to fade into the background, until I recently picked up this used copy on vinyl. It was the only format that I really wanted to own it on. I’m sentimental that way. If I originally heard it on vinyl, then that is how I want it now.

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Queen put out ‘better’ records of course. (Although, The Game has sold more than any other Queen record due to two number one hits “Another One Bites The Dust” and “Crazy Little Thing Called Love.”) 

Early on they did the prog thing, and then they started this hybrid roaring twenties in the distant future bit. Honestly, I always pictured Queen as being at their best when imagining a movie cross of styles between Metropolis and Blade Runner. While Mercury and May were always a pretty much “over the top” duo, The Game along with the Flash Gordon Soundtrack was the end of the FM years for Queen as they began turning towards Mercury’s more ballad and broadway inspired material. He has always been the greatest vocalist to come out of “Rock”, but in the 80’s and 90’s it was as if he wanted to prove it… in my experience, when the ego gets bigger than the music, that’s when an artist begins to really… um… suck!

From The Works on I just couldn’t get into it. “Radio Ga Ga” was a song that just forced a change in the station. Maybe the Brits at Live Aid were into it, but that song drove me insane.

So it was nothing new after that. Sure I would, and did go back to listen to Night at the Opera and Day at the Races, but it was like photographs of days gone by. The Game, is a great classic record, but it is best suited as an entrance to memories. My cousin and I see each other now and then, but it’s been a long time since we sat up talking late into the night about nothing and everything. Meanwhile Queen keeps trying to keep memories alive, and in the process kinda ruin the legacy they have.