The big reveal came in June 2022, when Queen guitarist Brian May and drummer Roger Taylor teased the release of a song recorded more than 30 years ago and never before heard outside of the band’s inner circle. Face It Alone was demoed during sessions for The Miracle, the penultimate Queen album released in singer Freddie Mercury’s lifetime. That song is one of many treasures in this new box set.
Released in 1989, The Miracle has a poignant back story. As May would recall: “We were dealing with Freddie’s deteriorating health and pulling together to support him.” In these circumstances, Mercury delivered extraordinary performances, most powerfully in I Want It All and Was It All Worth It, the latter, for all its dry wit, now reading like a bittersweet farewell.
The album is not one of Queen’s best, but May puts the title track among their greatest songs. In the box set the guitarist’s beautiful ballad Too Much Love Will Kill You is added to the album as originally planned. And while there is much more across these eight discs of vinyl, CD and DVD/Blu-ray, it’s those previously unheard tracks that really sell this package.
Dog With A Bone is a heavy number with Freddie and Roger singing together, I Guess We’re Really Falling Out a piano ballad that turns into a rock jam, and on both tracks the band members are heard talking through their ideas. But the most significant track, by far, is Face It Alone, Mercury’s voice full of emotion, the title, in retrospect, so profoundly sad.