Don’t worry, you don’t have to hear Rami Malek sing. Instead, the soundtrack to the film, which stars the Mr. Robot actor as Freddie Mercury, is mostly a compilation of original versions of the band’s greatest hits, from “Somebody to Love” to “Bohemian Rhapsody” to “Another One Bites the Dust.”
What makes this interesting, though, are the bits in between the hits. Unless you’re a diehard, the live versions of “Keep Yourself Alive,” “Fat Bottomed Girls” and “Now I’m Here” sound fresh and crisp (the “Love of My Life” sing-along from Rock in Rio is the standout), as do the bits from the band’s triumphant Live Aid performance, including Mercury’s calling card, “We Are the Champions.” Sans Mercury, the group has reformed as the band Smile – a predecessor to Queen – and recorded the sweet, light, multi-movement rocker “Doing All Right … Revisited” with original vocalist Tim Staffell (their signature harmonies still intact), and the 25-second recording of Brian May and Roger Taylor approximating the “20th Century Fox Theme” is amusing, though not essential. There’s also a new version of “Don’t Stop Me Now” with a new guitar line that approximates May’s live performance of it (though the original’s is livelier). The only throwaway is the “movie mix” of “We Will Rock You,” which combines the studio version with a live recording. As a whole, it’s a fun, mostly un-retouched tribute to the group’s musical genius.