It's back! It's back! Just beats EYE as my personal fav. Hi
Rich Latta | Albuquerque, NM - Land of Entitlement | 02/13/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I was previously disheartened to note that Amazon was not selling my favorite Hitchcock album, so it's great to see it back on the list.
This is Hitchcock at a creative peak featuring some of his most introspectively wacky lyrics. For comparison, I like this one much more than GLOBE OF FROGS, which always seemed to be a more popular one. QUEEN ELVIS is basically fun, quirky guitar pop. Here's a brief rundown of the songs with some snippits from one of my favorite rock lyricists --->
"Madonna of the Wasps" - Layers of Robyn's vocals singing "IS THIS LOVE?" create almost a magical "Midsummer Night's Dream" effect before drums and a ringing guitar build up and send you into jangle-pop heaven, thanks in part to guest guitarist Peter Buck from R.E.M. - Buck also plays on "Swirling" and "Freeze." -- "Lost Madonna of the Wasps, I wonder where we crossed/ I wonder why she lost me - "
"The Devil's Coachman" - Egyptian bassist Andy Metcalfe has a big, wobbly, bouncy style I just love. It's in full swing on this track. This is a really wild, surrealistic tune and one of my favorites on QUEEN ELVIS. So loaded with great lines, it's hard to pick one: ". . . a long kebab through your ovaries/the same goes out the same goes in."
"Wax Doll" - This is my least favorite track here even though I do like it a lot. The same great orchestral string section that played on "Devil's Coachman" returns for this one. --- "Or high above the waves, the wrinkled little waves you cannot smooth."
"Knife" - This one has great spiraling guitar and bass lines that weave around to hypnotic effect. "Here is a pointy daggery knife."
"Swirling" - a sweet tune that does indeed swirl around in a wonderful way - "Swirling occupys my life/and if I had a wife she'd be you."
"One Long Pair of Eyes" - This one's very pretty and I really like R. H.'s singing. Although some might find his voice too nasally for their tastes, he makes up fo it with his own peculiar style. "In the tower the lover sighs/"Good Sir Knight, please take my eyes - I've used them.""
"Veins of the Queen" - This is a stately, Beatlesque yet minimal little beauty. Great background vocals and the trumpet is a regal touch. "How I'd love to say I'd been/ Down the veins of her Majesty the Queen." (from the point of view of a mosquito? or maybe not . . . ?)
"Freeze" - The most rockin' track here, intense yet hilarious. Hitchcock throws a lot of proper names around in his songs (I hate that word "proper" - it's so English-priggish sounding and it reminds me of folding laundry or changing diapers or something, but I guess I'm stuck with it here - ed.) and I wonder if some of these people he mentions are real. On this song, he name checks David Byrne who is unquestionably real, but I'm not sure how a real "Steve" or "Elaine" would react to being in this bizarre yet potentially personal song. "There's a dead man in your heart/ And he takes up too much room/ And I know just what he's called/ He's called Steve."
"Autumn Sea" - I love this dreamy little number. Robyn turns in a fantastic vocal, at turns singing almost wearily and then going off on totally wacked-out, 90-mile-an-hour fictitious rants. "Somewhere in the autumn sea/ The kind of love you are to me - I stole you/ From a very special friend and so the friendship had to end - and how . . ."
"Superman" - it took me a while to get to like this tune, but I grew a real appreciation for it. It's a weird one. For one thing, the tempo wavers deliberately. "Superman, superman, crunchy little superman/ Found you in a Corn Flakes box/ Nourished you in privacy/ Touched the parts you couldn't reach/ You improved immediately." It's a little deformed but still manages to be a triumphant and appropriate closer for this super-fun, super-creative record."
Guy De Federicis | east of here | 12/07/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Surround Robyn Hitchcock with strings, prancing piano, harmonic backing vocals, and perfect pop song structure, and you have, Robyn Hitchcock and The Egyptians."Queen Elvis", from 1989, offers Hitchcock's bizarre and funny wordplay, ("yesterday I saw the devil in my food. I wasn't hungry, but I played with it."), in several carefully knit and catchy pop song crafts. "Wax Doll" stabs the heart of the friendly pop sound with it's lingering, aching refrain, "Is your wax doll still crying in the fire?", (I used to think the line said, "If your work's done, they're still praying in the valley", - I liked that too!), and "Superman", is a jangly guitar ode to a precious toy found in a cereal box, that reaches incredulous heights, -"It took the holy Roman Empire just to keep you satisfied, and I'm going to be more careful with you, aren't I?". "Queen Elvis" is a neatly trimmed album on a constant wavelength of melodic delights edged by Hitchcock's descriptive ponders that take frightening and beautiful shape. REM's Peter Buck adds guitar on several cuts, and violinist/composer Jocelyn Pook, who composed the devil ritual music in the film, "Eyes Wide Shut", offers her lofty and stinging strings on "The Devil's Coachman", and "Wax Doll"."
Underrated rock classic
Book Review Stu | Charlotte, NC USA | 09/23/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"It's amazing that such a fine work of rock music is so unknown by most rock fans... This is a must have rock recording and really should be part of any comprehensive rock music collection..."