Queen

It's Late

Song Review by

News Of The World was a unique album for Queen in that it downplayed their usual pitch-perfect studio perfectionism in favor of a rawer, more immediate sound. The best example of this approach was "It’s Late," a towering rocker that counteracted its epic structure with a feral, in-your-face energy that makes it feel like it’s ready to roll off the rails at any second. The lyrics portray a love affair in its final, agonized death throes: "It’s late - and I’m bleeding deep inside/It’s late - ooh, is it just my sickly pride?" The music builds up an impressive set of dynamics by contrasting verses that flow with a moody sense of swagger to a stomping chorus that balances its operatic quality with a gritty sense of punch. Queen’s recording of "It’s Too Late" gives the song a stomping, guitar-driven attack that conveys its extreme emotions nicely. Freddie Mercury does some of his best pure rock and roll wailing over this metallic sound and the group’s harmonies are used to thunderous effect to underline the oft-repeated title phrase. It also opens up the song to work in a couple of instrumental breaks that find the band revving up to a furious pace as they wring every last bit of energy out of the song in a flurry accelerating riffs and rattling drum fills. This frenetic attack makes "It’s Late" one of the most fierce and memorable rockers in the Queen catalog. It never garnered much success as a single but is treasured by the group’s fans as one their purest rock and roll efforts.

Appears On

Year Artist/Album Label Time AllMusic Rating
News of the World 1977 Island 6:26
Rocks, Vol. 1 1997 Hollywood 6:27
The Crown Jewels 1998 Hollywood 6:26
Deep Cuts, Vol. 2 [1977-1982] 2011 Island 6:27
Queen 40: Limited Edition Collector's Box Set, Vol. 2 2012 Hollywood / Hollywood Records (UK) / Universal Distribution 6:27
Queen on Air 2016 BBC / A Bbc Recording / Hollywood 6:36