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The Crown Jewels

I have been a big Queen fan since I was a kid back in the late 70s & 80s. I even have their albums on records, and also saw them live in Melbourne back in ’85. What a gig!. But when I heard that they were remastering their catalogue again, I thought I would investigate as I only had the early stuff on vinyl. I wasn’t really interested so much in the bonus tracks being offered with the 2011 remasters as there is a lot of already available stuff. I would actually prefer them to release a set of rarities, a bit like the The Boss did with Tracks. Anyway, after reading a few reviews I thought I would see what else was available. That’s when I stumbled upon this box set. It really does contain the best albums that queen ever made, and the way they developed and kept changing in a relatively short time was a lot like the Beatles did. Now, there has been some negative comment on the use of noise reduction in the remastering of this set which I think is probably unwarranted. Maybe those comments are by Audiophiles with the absolute top class gear. I actually think they sound pretty good. Some albums better than others, and even some songs on the same album sound better than others. But if you have regular audio equipment, these albums will sound fine. The dynamic range is still there i.e. the quiet passages are still quiet and the loud still loud. I guess everyone has their own opinion, and hearing! As I said before, I think they sound fine. I really love the concept of the packaging, but feel it could have been done just little bit better. The LP replicas look great except you need a magnifying glass to read the titles. This is just a small criticism though. Also the booklet doesn’t have a whole lot of info, rather just the song lyrics and an essay. This companion piece is clearly to counter the small print of the LP replicas. Also the “rare photos” in the booklet are actually from the original LP insert sleeves. The other thing is that the felt covered display box could have been a little smaller. But this is only my opinion. Others would likely disagree. All in all this is a great package which I would recommend to any Queen, or rock music fan. Get it now before it is gone. I got it for a bargain on Amazon. Check it out!

THE definitive collection of their early material, featuring their first eight studio albums-that’s Queen, Queen II, Sheer Heart Attack, A Night at the Opera, A Day at the Races, News of the World, Jazz and The Game -inside a big, beautiful, royal blue box! And to fully re-create those good old days, the band has replicated the original vinyl sleeves using 40 point cardboard sleeves along with elements that were not part of the original CD reissues, like embossed covers and the infamous nude bicycle race poster.

 

 

 

The Crown Jewels Review

 

I can go on and on about the fact that Freddie Mercury has arguably the best vocals in rock music. His range is unsurpassable (he does Opera perfectly) I can go on and on about how Queen is the ultimate Rock/Glam Rock Band of all time, a must have group in any serious music collection, but I don’t need to. Anyone looking at this item (due to its price and size) is obviously aware of all that I have said. These albums are great, and a must have, obviously, so I am gonna more or less review the package itself (what’s in it and quality of design etc). I originally heard Queen on the radio when I was younger, and my most extensive foray into their work came in the form of their first greatest hits on 8-track tape. I later converted it to regular cassette, but now I am showing my age. I was ten when I heard their GHs. After some time (after cds came out) I wanted to get the complete catalog, but like many other Queen reviewers I was turned off by the extra tracks. At first, being someone who wants the most bang for their buck I thought it was a great idea. but after hearing the tracks (mixed by other people than Queen) I realised I would much rather have rare songs or b-songs to the lackluster remixes. So basically those tracks could be left off (and were when I copied my cds to cassette, so I could take them with me on my walkman. ..yes a walkman) So having them in their original state is great, and also the box is really nice. I tend to hate when they rerelease albums in the gatefold sleeves or cardboard sleeves, but since it’s in the keepsake box I don’t mind. I just hate cardboard sleeves cause they are harder to keep clean/and kept safe. but this works. each cd is in a sleeve or gatefold cover that mimics the original albums. Also they are placed in the box in chronological order. The booklet is very nice, though the intro/comments are a bit meandering, and unnecessary at times, I like that all the lyrics are included, though I’d rather have a mini booklet for each cd, but that’s a minor qualm. Overall the box is nice and purple, very royal. These albums are a must have as well. I would hope they put the remaining cds, including made in heaven, in a second box set, but I’m not sure if that’s in the works or not or even on the table. I really think Made in Heaven is very underappreciated. But, this is about the box set, so I’ll leave that for another day. This set is great and a must have, Overall I’m very satisfied with the layout and quality of the release. Hey it even has a replica of the original fat bottomed girls poster, so what more do u want? For completists or for people just starting out this set is definitely worth getting. I needed to replace the crappy versions of the cds I did have and fill in the blanks for a few of them so this was a great way to do that. -Read Reviews-

This box set captures Queen at their highest peak. Every album is essential Queen. BUT, as a box set, I feel like Hollywood Records could have done a much better job. The blue velvet box is quite nice, but the racks inside the box are cheapy vacuum-formed plastic, and not even very well glued in. The booklet is long, but it’s primarily just the lyrics and a single essay. No extra photos, no critical analysis. Bummer. I love the mini-LP jacket reproductions, especially the gatefold covers! It’s too bad the shortcomings really subtract from the nostalgic geeky joy of the packaging. The inner sleeves are all plain white, so we’re missing out on a lot of the original packaging. The Game’s chrome treatment is missing, and it has a different (inferior) cover photo (oddly, the correct photo is reproduced inside the lyrics booklet). Jazz’s gatefold photo is poor quality. And what happened to the cover of News Of The World? There’s a horrible green border around all the front and back covers. Anyway, enough ranting. If you don’t have this music already, buy this set! As for me, I’m going to listen to the great Crown Jewels CDs and drag out my old albums to enjoy the full experience of the sleeves, art and inserts.

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