That’s right. This is John Deacon’s first Queen song, and my word am I happy to hear it.
John did ‘almost all the guitars on Misfire’, according to the sleeve, which is quite a lovely feat. It pleases me that he barged Brian out of the way for this one, for whatever reason.
It kind of feels like Queen does yacht rock. A simple upbeat bouncer of a track. John’s guitars are more open than Brian’s. It’s a wider sound, simpler, more repetitive, but warmer.
It’s also a bit filthy, if you choose to take it that way.
Your gun is loaded, and pointing my way
There’s only one bullet, so don’t delay
Got to time it right, fire me through the night
It’s also probably got my favourite outros so far. Just this layering of a single guitar riff, already key changed up a few times, into a kind of upward spiral. It’s a bland fade, but only after the whole thing has exploded upwards and got caught in a battle with itself.
It’s jangly, it’s sun filled, it’s optimistic, it’s simple, it’s heartfelt, it’s utterly infectious. It’s got the most forward bassline we’ve heard so far, and the shortest, simplest guitar solo (actually best marked by some lovely backing vocals).
It feels to me, from the outside, like the first time Freddie and John got to just bounce off each other, and you get such a new energy from that. It’s open and gentle and warm and friendly.
I don’t know that the innuendo is intentional (though god knows Queen are quite happy to heap on the innuendo at will….if you haven’t heard ‘get down make love’, you’re in for a filthy treat a little further down the line), but it does fit. John writes a love song, but fills it with something extra to make Freddie giggle.
Don’t you misfire
Fill me up
With the desire
To carry on
And Freddie just opens up. It’s not his most virtuosic number, but he goes at it with heart, nailing the ever so slightly nervous optimism, and warming it up further with the extra harmonies. I love the way he passes from speaker to speaker, talking over himself, building in urgency, just like the guitar layers.
John was the quiet one, apparently, who kept track of the finances. But he’s also referred to as the one who got hit hardest by Freddie’s death, or at least, the one least into trying to continue in any form without him. He’s now a bit reclusive and tucked away.
For some reason, I find that breathtakingly sad; that someone can create such open hearted loveliness as this (and later tracks), be part of one of the hugest, loveliest things, and still end up lost and shut in. I hope it’s a positive choice, and not depression, though either way I can identify.
We get no sense of that here. Even as it is a song about failing, or possibly failing (still in the lap of the gods?), we hear nothing but optimism and kindness. We are encouraged and supported.
It’s good to have finally heard from everybody. Have all of the pieces to put together, and watch how they build and evolve. Looking ahead, I can tell you some of my favourite moments will be when we drop in on John. He’s an important contrasting tone, even as you’ll rarely notice him in the numbers that aren’t his.
I think they’d have misfired without him.
Queen: An Exploded Diagram is me having big and little thoughts about every Queen song in chronological order. If you want to support me, making it more financially viable and easier to explain to people at parties, please back my patreon.
Illustration by Emma.