Hey there. You looking for a bright, feel good track to lay over a montage of people having GOOD TIMES. Running down beaches? Laughing in bars? Arms strewn around necks?
You know? Larks.
Well, have we got a track for you.
It’s John Deacon’s one for this record, and again, it’s a relatively simple feel good guitar number. Technically, it’s probably boring, but it’s warm and welcoming and I’m smiling just listening to it.
I guess I could try to uncover a darker side to the lyrics (out of context, one verse in particular sounds like it’s a lament to a bartender at the end of a very, very lonely night).
Laughter ringing in the darkness
People drinking for days gone by
Time don’t mean a thing
When you’re by my side
Please stay a while
But it’s not really there. This is just a little frolic through the night. A song about dancing under the moon.
Apparently the rhythm’s got some intriguing elements, but to me it all just sounds like an irresistible bounce.
I find it charming, but I find it hard to think of a reason why anyone else would. The thing that makes Queen easy to rant about is generally that they’re surprisingly complicated, so when an uncomplicatedly light and enjoyable song rolls around, I’m kind of at a loss. It’s a shame too, as it means I end up doing a disservice to John, who I have an already stated soft spot for. (If you’ve got an actual copy of the record, check out his dungarees on the inside…they’re amazing. But he also looks bored as hell.)
I think it’s a necessary element, these warm and simple moments. They glue the whole together, stop it from collapsing under its own weight. The pomp and circumstance needs some feel good in between. The experiments need cosy log fires to keep them warm.
I do think Deacon is a hell of a song writer, too. It’s just in a very different way to the rest of the band. Even you’re my best friend is a simple blast of straightforward pop; for me it’s the delivery (and the choice of keyboard) that knocks it out of the park, but it couldn’t be done without a heartbreakingly direct bit of song writing. The same is here, it just isn’t as transcendent.
I can hear the music in the darkness
Floating softly to where to lie
No more questions now
Let’s enjoy tonight
Just you and I
It’s a sensuous song. Focusing more on the distractions than the subject, and there’s a simple romance to that. You might remember the little details of the lanterns or the music or the sound of the laugher, but it’s not what you’re thinking about.
I think John likes to write about a simpler kind of love, perhaps just because he had it simpler. But as a result, he doesn’t sound entitled or spoilt, he just seems to revel in a joy of affection, without affectation.
There’s a lot to love about it, really. Even if it doesn’t break the mould.
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.