It’s a shame that boy bands didn’t really take their cues from Queen more.
If every band had an incredible one, a quietly lovely one, a creepy but amazing at guitar one and a Roger Taylor one; the whole genre would’ve been improved immensely.
Yes. It’s time for Brian to be a bit creepy again. This time in a surprisingly sweet, but occasionally forgetting what he’s singing about, way.
It’s a lovely, heartfelt, delicate ballad, which builds in urgency as necessary, and pulses with openness.
But of course, he ends up being weirdly suggestive and judgemental about his sweet sister.
You’re all dressed up like a lady
How come you behave this way
Maybe you find somebody
To love you half as much as me
I’ll always be in love with you
Forgive me for what I told you
My heart makes a fool of me
You know I’ll never hold you
I know that you got to be free
and not to mention
Hot child don’t you know you’re young
Ahem. That last verse, asking for forgiveness does make the whole thing seem more self aware than usual, but it does still sound like even when speculating about a non-existent sister, Brian knows he’s going to tend up apologising for some illicit promise.
It’s a really odd set of statements, in what I assume was intended to just be a story about saying goodbye to people you love. But gone is the sweet concision of loss found in ’39, and instead we just get the impression that Brian feels bad for groping his sister.
I know. I know. I’m equating sex with love, and misreading holding as hugging instead of stopping. Just for the sake of doubling down on my ‘Brian’s a bit creepy’ theme. It’s easy to take the whole and read it as it is intended. Brian’s saying good bye, tearful on the docks, and he doesn’t want to let go of a loved one, and has that weird mix of sadness and happiness you get at seeing someone you care for leave for a better life.
And frankly, right now, it’s all a bit much. A dearly beloved friend left for the North just today, and the sweet embrace of Europe is being pulled away from me.
I’m sad. Is what I’m getting at. I’m sad.
So even though I don’t trust his motives, it’s nice to hear Brian be sad too. It’s a beautiful piece of emotional guitar work, and it contrasts blissfully with Freddie’s more pointed piano.
I most love music when it can connect deeply to my emotions. I feel both music and emotions very physically, and when the pull is in harmony, so to speak, it feels deep, powerful and important. Maybe heartstrings are cheap, but they still need nourishment, and for all their bombast, I think Queen are surprisingly good at nesting their emotions deeply.
Here the most prominent feeling is of hope colliding with loss. The confusing mass of contradiction is vividly present in the chorus, in particular.
But it doesn’t stop it sounding like some creepy old guy telling his sister how to live her life (whilst quietly remembering he can’t).
I am feeling sore.
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 (although I’m pretty sure she’s just stolen a photo of a nun).