Hear in the Now Frontier
Title: Hear in the Now Frontier
Sign of the Times -- (DeGarmo)
Key Tracks: spOOL, The Voice Inside, Sign of the Times
B-sides: Chasing Blue Sky -- (Rockenfield/Tate), Tomorrow Begins Today (demo written by Wilton, never recorded)
Additional performers: Matt Rollings and Steven Nathan -- Mini Moog, Roland JD 900 and D50 keyboards on "spOOL." Rollings also performed the piano on "All I Want."
Notes: Hear in the Now Frontier continued Queensryche's experimentation with simpler song structures. The band went with more of a spontaneous approach, writing a tune and recording it fairly soon after, instead of making countless demos and refining the songs. The "less polished" approach was also combined with a noticeably drier mix and production values -- an attempt to sound more raw instead of Queensryche's traditional "grandiose" presentation.
The album launched with some early success on the strength of its first single -- "Sign of the Times." The tune received a good amount of radio play, as did the second single, "You." But as EMI Records folded, so did the radio support. Hear in the Now Frontier dropped like a rock on the charts, ultimately only selling about 325,000 copies in the U.S. (to-date). Two other songs -- "The Voice Inside" and "spOOL" were prepped as promotional singles, but never made traction on radio.
Hear in the Now Frontier Singles:
Fans were divided about Hear in the Now Frontier. The general consensus was that Queensryche's "stripped down" approach went too far, removing essential elements that made the band distinct. Although some songs (typically the singles and a couple of others) are widely praised, most fans believe Hear in the Now Frontier has an abundance of "filler" tracks that should have been left as demos.
Interesting facts: The sound effect of someone taking a picture at the end of "Get a Life" was misplaced. It was supposed to be at the beginning of the song. In addition, the ending violin part on "Sign of the Times" by David Ragsdale of Kansas was originally supposed to be accompanied by a final lyric -- "See it all burning to the ground." Geoff Tate explained the violin and lyric part of "Sign of the Times" to a South American reporter in Dec. 1997:
Tate: "Originally there was a lyric that ended the song. It was "see it all burning to the ground." The song is talking about how the level of decadence in our country, America, has risen to an extreme. So we thought, "see it all burning to the ground," and we were reminded of the story of Nero, who was emperor of Rome and he palyed a violin supossededly while Rome burned, and we thought a violin would sound great. So we brought in a violin. But then, after we put in the violin, we decided not to include the lyric line."
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