One of those rare post Innuendo tracks, this album has the slightly odd feature of not really existing.
Apparently producer David Richards just kept on cutting and pasting and copying and mixing until he’d made the core of the song. Various fragments of recordings of Freddie, cut together to create something like a Queen song.
It’s almost frustrating that it’s so alluring.
Lyrically it’s a mess of cliche and repetition, but that’s to be expected. It somehow still manages to be a legitimate variant on Queen’s slightly disco Hot Space incarnation. It’s a more impressively 90s track than anything else here, harking back to the dawn of the 80s, but sounding much closer to the 90s club scene. It’s such a strange addition to Queen’s hit canon, this tautly funky lump of clubbery.
And yes, it’s just a construct of vocal samples and backing vocals and a simple as anything song structure.
Once again, Freddie’s ability to sell every word give it an authenticity and heart it might not deserve.
Yup bup ba ba ba ba da da da dah!
You don’t fool me
It’s sultry and sexy and smooth in a way that doesn’t quite sit with the melancholy tone of so much (but definitely not all) of this record, but it feels right. It feels like a next step that Freddie would’ve loved to have made. It mirrors some of his solo material, in fact.
But of course, it adds to the weirdness of this project. Freddie expressed clear wishes to record as much as possible, and for the band to do what they could with it. It’s not clear he would’ve agreed to the back catalogue plumbing from elsewhere on the record, but this feels very in keeping.
But I always imagine Freddie having such a clear vision, such a clear idea of what the end result should be, and to not let him see the finished piece. To know that his voice is there without him?
It always feels weird.
And knowing this is just a construct makes this track a deeper than usual example of that.
When I die, bury my heart somewhere a tree can grow out of it, and give the rest to science, but for god’s sake, don’t glue it together and use it as a cardboard cutout in promotional material for my life’s work.
(As if I’ll have a life’s work worth promoting! Ha!)
It doesn’t really feel like that though. It just feels like a Queen song. Freddie sounds honest. ‘It’s what he would’ve wanted’ is the blandest of platitudes, a running joke for me, but maybe here it’s valid.
If only because it would put him into clubs, and that was so much of what his solo career was about.
There’s a clarity of intention. I think.
And I think it works.
It’s a testament to the skill of the producer, and the weirdnesses of modern production and aesthetics that it does.
But it does. And I think that matters.
I quite like it.
I’m glad we can keep it.
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.