Ranking the 5 Best Songs on Queen’s Smash 1980 Album ‘The Game’

In addition to having massively talented members within the band, Queen‘s success could also be traced to their willingness to write and play whatever they felt in a given moment, rather than worrying about what others thought they should be doing. On their 1980 album The Game, they pretty much threw every genre at the wall and ended up with perhaps their most beloved album.

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Let’s go back to the time when Queen asked us all to play the game, and rank the five best songs from that wonderful album. Near misses from the Top 5: the spaced-out opening track “Play the Game” and the hard-charging rocker “Need Your Loving Tonight.”

5. “Save Me”

Queen takes a lot of stylistic swings on The Game, and they manage to hit most of them way out of the park. For the closing track, however, they lean back on an old strength of theirs: the impassioned power ballad. Written by Brian May, “Save Me” puts the ball in Freddie Mercury‘s court to emote his way through the song. He sings in a hushed moan in the early verses, before rising to full fist-pumping glory in the refrains. May chips in as you might expect with a crackling solo. It’s nothing they hadn’t done before, but they certainly do it well.

4. “Dragon Attack”

The Game saw Queen moving into danceable territory with several tracks (including with No. 1 on this list). May wrote this one as well, but the song itself is just an excuse to allow each of the band members their chance to do what they do best. Roger Taylor rat-a-tats his way through some drum breaks, John Deacon gets to strut across the stage with his nimble bass lines, and May fires off some fuzzed-out guitar licks whenever he gets the chance. From there, Mercury scats and jives his way through the open spaces. Just a blast of a track.

3. “Crazy Little Thing Called Love”

Mercury penned this ’50s homage and reminds everyone just how catchy a writer he could be. There’s nothing too fancy here, but every element hits home, from the gilded acoustic guitars, to the cheeky call-and-response vocals (Ready Freddy), to the way Deacon’s bass emerges from the slight pause in the music, to that finger-snap breakdown. Those little touches make a big difference. From there, all Queen needs to rely on is Mercury doing his best take on Elvis and May chiming in with a brief but impactful solo.

2. “Sail Away Sweet Sister”

If you’re looking for one of the all-time underrated tracks from Queen, look no further than this one written and partially sung by May. (He lets Mercury come in for a showy vocal run in the bridge.) The song is subtitled “To the Sister I Never Had.” May imagines a scenario where an overprotective big brother finally realizes that his younger sister needs to live her own life. There’s something truly touching about the chorus, especially when all those gleaming Queen-style harmonies enter the picture. This one feels like it could have been a big hit had the band pushed it as such.

1. “Another One Bites the Dust”

Deacon came up with this one, which is probably why it’s built around a relentlessly funky bass line. He also managed to write lyrics that allowed Mercury to fill a role that he played very well: the defiant one who isn’t going to let anybody hold him down. You have to give credit to the sly production touches here that keep the song from getting repetitive. (Reinhold Mack produced The Game with the band). Taylor also deserves credit for keeping the beat muscular and swinging all at once. “Another One Bites the Dust” can lay a claim as Queen’s greatest single, which is really saying something when you consider the competition in their catalog.

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