Killer Queen, Absolutely

Before I write a blog, I usually think it out, spit it out, and do research as I go.  When reviewing a band, musician, movie about a band or a song – I don’t read what others have written before me. I want my thoughts and conclusions to be my own. In this case, I am going to skip tradition. I have read several articles now on Bohemian Rhapsody. I took my kids to the matinee. I knew the girl would appreciate and have opinions. The boy – I was hoping to draw him into the music business that his parents and sister love but that he ignores and avoids. I hoped that he would appreciate the music and the genius of this band lead by a flamboyant gay man. The Liberace of rock n roll.

As the movie ended and we waited for the credits/performance of Freddie Mercury to end, we started to discuss the movie. I loved it. I wanted to buy tickets for the next showing. The girl, felt the same. The boy liked it, but wasn’t ready to sit through it again. Best movie ever! If we thought “ A Star is Born” was good, this took the cake.

I thought Rami Malek was fantastic, more smooth than Freddie – whose jerky movements onstage always bugged me. His voice you couldn’t match. Ever. Unrivaled in any genre and way above the rest in the rock genre. For the uninitiated – good lead singers are almost unicorns. The must sing well. Captivate the crowd, lead the show, cover any failures, be beautiful and dynamic, loveable, and fuckable.

FM was not all of those things. He was unattractive, had buck teeth that could open a beer you were holding 6 feet away. As a younger person, I wondered how someone so unattractive and not trying to fit in could lead a band that wrote great songs as well as creating anthems sung in stadiums across the world? I wondered, and then I moved on. The music, after all, stood alone. And, Freddie Mercury could look like whatever he wanted.

While I did some fact checking – so many things I wondered if they were true. The band members were shown and their individual contributions highlighted. Did they really write their songs way? Total collaboration? Maybe. My limited experience was different – usually one or two had a vision or a sound and everyone better follow that. How 4 individuals could put together a song like Bohemian Rhapsody would have been fun to watch. I’ve probably said it before, but I still cannot believe that song works. A real rock opera, that made no sense and could not be categorized. Maybe, that was the point. A song, like the band.

As some of us do when we are raised with it, we take things for granted. I had become bored with the relentless playing of We Are the Champions and We Will Rock You at stadium events. I wish for something new. Well, no more. I will always appreciate and say thanks for theme when I hear them. And, I will appreciate the Bohemian Rhapsody when I hear it on the radio.

The songs in my heart were Best Friends, Somebody to Love, Killer Queen (which I think would have been a great name for the movie) and some deep cuts. Those are the ones on my playlists.

Prior to seeing the movie, I heard that Freddie’s sexuality was down-played in the movie. Not so sure that is accurate. Or, I misunderstood the things I heard. The movie dealt with it pretty clearly, I though. Or maybe, I know way more about some bands than is necessary. I think we all know that is true. I remember when Freddie announced he had AIDS and then died the next day. I called my sister and said something about how I didn’t know Freddie was gay. Her response, “My God, Bianca, the band’s name was Queen.” Yeah – what seems so obvious now, was a secret back in the day.

Also – my favorite joke in the whole movie – the bass player’s room – hilarious!  Even with the two phenomenal bass riffs he wrote: 1 & 2.

Freddie Mercury is a voice that was silenced too soon. We always say that – but, in this case, it is true. Who knows what he would have done next. Rest peacefully, Freddie. Your legend and your music live on.

 

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