I wish this didn’t come so soon after all the horribleness, but this is what we actually came here for, right?
Freddie belting out some ridiculous action scene nonsense. A perfect mix of energy and synth and guitar and stupidity.
If you ask me to picture Flash Gordon, this is the scene and sound that I’m thinking of. It has almost nothing to distinguish it from any action scene soundtrack from any 80s film ever, but it is permanently lodged in my head as just the perfect, perfect thing for my childhood brain.
This is what I wanted my life to sound like.
I tried to make this the case quite often.
The scene is ridiculous. Flash attempts to take on the might imperial army using the basic strategies of American Football.
And for one minute fifty seconds, it works.
I reckon the only reason it works is the music. The scene is silliness incarnate: a terrifying emperor who we’ve just seen literally executing people in an instant suddenly only sends his least effective soldiers, the sort that take one bonk on the head to collapse.
Missing from the music is General Klytus telling the troops to ‘match him, like this’, as if the only way to beat American Football is more American Football…not lasers, or actual fighting, or anything.
Of course, to ten year old (and before, and after) me, that didn’t matter one bit. It was just a perfect blend of action and synthesisers.
It amazes me that I spent much of this time saying that dance and electronic music was boring and repetitive, when so much of the music that made me excited was exactly the same sort of artificial excitement.
I think I even found it ridiculous then that capable journalist Dale Arden felt that the only thing she could bring to this ludicrous fight was cheerleading. But I guess if you’re going to have a knockabout conceit like this, and you’re already proving yourself flagrantly sexist, it is the next logical step. And actually, ‘go flash go’ really does add to the joyful, adventurous rhythm of it.
I love the way it escalates, those big rips of synths, flying upwards to meet the next wave of guitars. If this record was space for the band to play with synthesisers, this is them doing just that, working out how they mesh and mash with their older textures.
But all that doesn’t matter. I’m here for feeling like a child again, screeching around the room at full pelt, bouncing through the air.
And inevitable smacking my head on some huge lump of metal.
It feels appropriate to end a scene and song so silly with a simple but of cartoon stupidity. It’s the right thing to do, even if it so quickly pours into genuine fear again.
This film actually has less of an idea about tone than this record. The film never knows quite how much to take the piss out of itself.
Queen do though, they always have, and it’s one of their great joys. Here they juxtapose the tracks perfectly, chucking in dialogue to amplify the disjointedness as much as possible, and own the weirdness of it.
As cliché as this track is, I don’t think there’s many bands that could slam between this and sci-fi soundscapes so readily.
But they’ve been training for this nonsense for years.
Just like the New York Jets, presumably.