Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Queensrÿche, "Jet City Woman"

Seattle might make you think of Nirvana and Pearl Jam, or maybe Jimi Hendrix. Those artists, and more, have certainly done a lot for the Great Northwest, but no song that I can think of glorifies living in Seattle like Queensrÿche's "Jet City Woman."

If you were born after 1990, you probably just groaned. Queensrÿche is currently a bigger self-parody than any hard rock icon that doesn't have a reality show.

Years after songwriter Chris DeGarmo jumped ship, the remains of Queensrÿche are still releasing unlistenable new music. Their classic Operation: Mindcrime album has been milked with a two tours, a sequel and a DVD. Their recent "Cabaret" tour, a high-production spectacle billed by the band as "the first adults-only rock show...accompanied by go-go dancers, burlesque dancers, drag queens, a juggler, ballet dancer, aerial artist, contortionist and much more," is more embarrassing than anything Christopher Guest could imagine.

Yet there's nothing shameful about liking early Queensrÿche.  After the word-of-mouth success of Mindcrime, the band found a national audience with their follow-up Empire and hits like "Jet City Woman." The opening reminds me a little of Fleetwood Mac, but other than that it's pure Queensrÿche. Led by a grandiose riff and the kind of all-out chorus Jon Bon Jovi wishes he could write, it's a perfect encapsulation of a prog-metal band aiming for the stadiums.

Every time I hear that chorus at the right volume, I half-expect my windows to break.

Supposedly this was singer Geoff Tate's ode to missing his wife back in the Jet City. Right now I'm missing a time when those tights were the silliest thing about Queensrÿche.

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