You lonely bird. Get out of here, they need you on the ground.
Basically, here we have two pieces running in tandem. Flash is getting closer, and the wedding is in full swing.
There’s something quite intriguing in the fact that Ming’s wedding vows are cruelly one sided, he still has to make them. Dale actually just inserts her refusal into the vows, despite not actually being asked to do anything. It’s really unclear what commitments she’s making (or rather, refusing to make, after recently stating that promises were a key part of humanity, and she’d already promised to be a good wife).
Anyway, if I do get married, I’m expecting a reciprocal promise to not blast each other into space.
Flash approaches on a crest of pulsing piano, as usual. There’s some guitar too.
A lot of passion is put into the scene, where Flash is set up as willing to sacrifice his life, crashing into the city to try and stop the destruction of earth in the nick of time (there’s a timer and everything, despite Ming having previously said that it was too far gone for Earth to be anything but a shadow of it’s former self by now). It’s the noble sacrifice motif, a doomed suicide mission.
Which has quite a lot of thunder taken out of it when Flash just pops out of the cockpit and prepares some finishing sass for the emperor.
Roger Taylor is on marriage duties. Basically just providing some romantically evil synth backdrops. It’s a pleasing mix of dramatic church organ and ominous synth, and it’s a really pleasing chord structure, obviously attempting to capture some classicity. It’s basically looped here. Played once unaccompanied, once over the vows (interrupted by more flash) and then it pops back in for more vows.
It’s a weird imitation of the cutting for dramatic tension, but it’s great for me, because it actually combines two tracks into one, saving me a lot of potential hassle.
The only time the transition feels particularly effective is the jolt from ‘with this ring I thee wed’ into Flash and guitar. It’s a big bold swoop, and feels effective. Elsewhere, it’s just bouncing back and forth. I actually didn’t really register this section as separate from the next bit. The whole of the second half of the record is trying to maintain a level of tension, and it largely succeeds, even as it does change texture.
It actually does maintain that tension better than the film, which seemed to have Flash crashing towards the city for a good five minutes, despite a visible timer exclaiming only thirty seconds remaining.
But as much as it doesn’t look like it, we are writing about an album here. Not a film. And musically, this is fine. It’s obviously more of a dramatic piece than a song, in any real sense. But it does what it sets out to do, balancing and contrasting the elements, pushing between action and a kind of dramatic sadness. It maintains the prominent theme while, amping up the angst of the marriage.
But I’d struggle to play it at a party.
And especially a wedding.
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.