Brian May

Another World

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"Business," the second song on Brian May's third solo album, finds the guitarist recording the type of ferocious hard rock that he became known for with Queen in the early '70s. With a great pop hook and churning heavy guitars, it's arguably the best thing he's done as a solo artist. The rest of the album doesn't quite live up to its opening, but it shows May has grown more confident in his singing and in playing balls-to-the-wall hard rock than on 1992's Back to the Light. Songs like "China Belle" and "The Guv'nor" contain enough '70s-styled bombastic rock to satisfy May's many fans, while "On My Way Up," with its catchy groove and gospel-like backup singers, is irresistible in its optimism. Unfortunately, May does get lost at times. His ballads tend to come off as bland compared to the ones he wrote while in Queen, while the over-the-top metal exercise, "Cyborg," with its processed vocals, doesn't work at all. May is much better sticking to what he knows best, catchy but eccentric hard rock. The album draws near a close with three covers, and while two of them, including Jimi Hendrix's "One Rainy Wish," do come off as clunky, May's spirited live version of Mott the Hoople's "All the Way From Memphis" is absolutely riveting.

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