Title: Back To The Light
Artist: Brian May
Label: Parlophone Records (UK); Hollywood Records (US)
Producer: Brian May
Co-produced and engineered by Justin Shirley-Smith
Technical Assistance by Brian Zellis
Mastered by Kevin Metcalfe
1. The Dark
2. Back To The Light
3. Love Token
(Words: Brian May. Music: Brian May/Cozy Powell/Jamie Page)
5. Too Much Love Will Kill You
(Brian May/Elizabeth Lamers/Frank Musker)
6. Driven By You
7. Nothin' But Blue
(Words: Brian May. Music: Brian May/Cozy Powell)
8. I'm Scared
9. Last Horizon
10. Let Your Heart Rule Your Head
11. Just One Life
12. Rollin' Over
(Ronnie Lane, Steve Marriott)
All music, words, vocals, backing vocals, guitars and keyboards and anything else around by Brian May, unless stated below.
Drums by Cozy Powell on "Back To The Light", "Love Token", "Resurrection", "Nothin' But Blue" and "I'm Scared"; and by Geoff Dugmore (formerly of The Europeans) on "Let Your Heart Rule Your Head" and "Rollin' Over."
Bass by Gary Tibbs on "Back To The Light", "Let Your Heart Rule Your Head", "Just One Life" and "Rollin' Over"; by Neil Murray on "Love Token" and "I'm Scared"; and by John Deacon on "Nothin' But Blue."
Backing vocals by Miriam Stockley, Maggie Ryder, Suzie O'List and Gill O'Donovan on "Back To The Light"; by Suzie O'List and Gill O'Donovan on "Let Your Heart Rule Your Head"; by Miriam Stockley, Maggie Ryder and Chris Thompson on "Rollin' Over."
Piano by Mike Moran on "Love Token" and Rollin' Over." He also played keyboards on "Last Horizon."
Extra keyboards by Don Airey on "Resurrection", "Nothin' But Blue."
Queen guitarist Brian May's first complete attempt at a solo album, Back to the Light, focuses on the hard rock sound that Queen often abandoned in the 1980s. While obviously sounding similar to some of the work by his former band, May's path is far more hard-edged and emotionally punched than the majority of Queen's work. His vocals are sometimes weak for a singer, but they also add a certain tenderness that most hard rock frontmen seem to lack. The album succeeds best on its heaviest tracks such as the cover of "Rollin' Over" or "Resurrection," which features pounding drums courtesy of Cozy Powell and thundering guitar riffs with Queen-like multi-tracked vocals. References to Queen can also be heard in the eccentric humor of such numbers as "Love Token," which includes a back-and-forth dialogue in the middle of the song. Likewise, the low-key country song, "Let Your Heart Rule Your Head," is reminiscent of "'39" off Queen's A Night at the Opera. The ballads are not as strong or as interesting and are not helped by well-meaning but overly sentimental lyrics and light rock arrangements. Unfortunately, the instrumental, "Last Horizon," ends up sounding like Muzak. "Driven By You," the album's biggest hit, was originally written for a Ford commercial, and it shows. That said, it is great to hear May finally get a chance to rock out and while the over-the-top and eccentric stylings of the album might put off some, it is those same traits that will also attract many to this work.