Best I Can -- (DeGarmo)
B-sides: Scarborough Faire, Last Time in Paris (appears on soundtrack for Ford Fairlaine, and released as a single in 1990)
Key Tracks: Empire, Anybody Listening?, Jet City Woman
Notes: Empire began Queensryche's foray into a simpler songwriting approach. As explained by DeGarmo, the band took a critical look at what they were writing to ensure that it could be reproduced by a simple vocal and guitar accompaniment, and if the song didn't work with just that, it needed to be re-evaluated. The shift resulted in Queensryche's most commercially-successful record, with Empire selling over 3.5 million copies in the U.S. alone.
The guitar tones on Empire are noticeably warmer than Operation: Mindcrime – a change that was very much by design. And unlike previous records, Empire isn't based on a lyrical theme. The songs were designed to be standalone cuts. Sonically, Empire was very much touted for its production and was used widely by engineers over the years to judge the sound of particular recording locations.
Interesting fact: "Last Time in Paris" and "The Thin Line" were offered to the creators of Ford Fairlaine for the movie's soundtrack. The former was chosen because "The Thin Line" was a little "dark" according to DeGarmo.
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