It’s Freddie’s turn to donate a gift from a solo project. An offcut from Barcelona that accidentally pulled in the whole band, we have something huge and strange and kind of wonderful.
It’s preachy as anything, and I’m really glad it lost the previous title ‘Africa by night’. But the end result is overwhelming, and just what the album needed at this point. A big blast of something striking and powerful and with Freddie going absolutely full tilt (and then some).
Freddie exults in his own voice, and being supported by multi tracks and his band mates throughout. For the bulk of it he is just belting out huge and glorious statements of hope and love. It’s a whole other scale to so much of this record. It belongs in a huge theatrical production, not a record.
But it’s captured here. Orchestration and rhythm providing a bed for a huge pile of voice and boistrousness.
Rule with your heart, live with your conscience
Love, love and be free
And then, after a elegaic but hurried guitar solo, it just turns into this weird piano led bluesy swagger for a lump. It doesn’t shrink down to it though, it lets this incongruous mood fill up the whole breadth of the previous opera. It’s beautiful and ridiculous, in the way that only Queen could really pull off. Freddie carries it, but the band drive it outwards.
It’s interesting, because you can almost here where the song would’ve stopped if it had just been it’s original intention, and you hear it get distracted by bringing Brian in for a guitar part, and then get ridiculous as everyone else gets more involved.
But it just makes it even more concretely huge when it returns to the main theme.
Freddie is as loud as you’ve heard him here. As big as houses. As large as countries. Singing with a voice like continents. There is no subtlety here. No quietness. No sensitivity. Barely any understanding.
But that’s not what it’s here for. This is a celebration of voice and humanity. It’s a joyful burst of union. Or an attempt to reach out to that.
The scale of Freddie here is immense and perfect, and it provides a golden core to the record, something huge and heart warming to hang everything else around.
It’s a necessary outpouring.
Open your eyes look, touch and feel
There’s a hopefulness here.
All Freddie’s moments on this record seem so full and heartfelt. He was still absolutely trying to put everything he felt and thought out into the world. It takes a lot to be this optimistic this loudly, but that’s not all he does on this record, I feel like we’ve seen him more vulnerable than ever before, more contented, more scared and more misunderstood, and we’ve not even finished yet.
Again, I am so glad he was able to keep doing this. Even on a patchy album, it’s wonderful to have such vivid statements of humanity from such an incredible human.
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.