Another one poached from Brian’s solo album.
There’s a sass here. And those who know me, know I am vulnerable to sass. Brian’s guitar is jankier than usual. The drums are a bit too heavy on the crash, but remarkably taut underneath. It makes the whole thing feel messy and wobbly and loose. But it falls together just right, mostly on account of a certain type of swagger. Even when the vocal opens out for the bridge, and it all gets a bit earnest, it still has a jerky bounce that pulls it forward.
Lover turns to hater
On this escalator
I can’t live with you
It’s the tritest sentiment ever, to acknowledge that it’s hard to live with the people you love. That it’s all to easy for human relationships to devolve into a simultaneous push and pull. It’s cliche of the most cliched type.
But it doesn’t matter, because Freddie’s here lending weight, and the whole structure is such a bouncy mess that it’s kind of irresistible.
I honestly have no idea how Queen manage to make this trash sound so honest. But they manage it.
Towards the end it starts sounding like a Christmas carol, but it’s still got that oddly brusque drum beat pounding away, pushing you out into the cold.
This is one of those records I never engaged with before this. I really do only know the hits. Apart from one very stoned evening listening to it on tape over a dear friend’s cheese board, I don’t think I ever really listened to this album all the way through. The song titles don’t really grab me, apart from the singles, which are all (possibly headlong excluded) absolute showstoppers.
There’s some real heartbreakers on here, at least two still to come. Two of the most important emotional beats of this part of the band’s life are pending. But it’s easy to forget that this isn’t just a heartrending final full album, it was also just an album. The beginning of the 90s for a band that knew it might not see much of the 90s.
And this track makes sense on that album. It’s a particular kind of goodbye to the way the band have danced through the eighties. It’s that poppier rock sound performed pretty immaculately. It’s too bright, too sharp, too vivid, for the doom laden album’s the bookends might lead you to expect, but it’s very much a Queen track, and you’d expect that, on a Queen album.
I was harsh on Headlong for not fitting with what preceded it, but I guess something had to take that bullet, so the album could move on.
And so the album does move on, and turns into just as messy a hodgepodge as Queen albums always have been.
As much as I’ve dedicated so much time to this band, and this project, I’m still aware that Queen are quite often a bit shit.
But I’m stil here, and still finding new treasures, because sometimes their shit is just so damn charming.
We’ve still got each other
For a million years
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.