Queen: Greatest Hits

I am never in the mood for Queen. There is no time of the day or night, no day of the week, no season in which I would choose to listen to Queen. This isn’t because I hate them; I don’t. They’re literate, which means a lot here at the Bureau. They use adjectives that are uncommon in a rock song (“warily”) and when the situation demands it they can concoct their own (“belladonic”). I’m just unmoved by their music.

One thing I do enjoy about Queen is that you can arrange their song titles to tell stories:

Fail Whale
It’s a Hard Life
I’m Going Slightly Mad
I Want to Break Free
I Want It All
Fight From the Inside
Keep Yourself Alive
Don’t Stop Me Now
Another One Bites the Dust

Get a Room
Get Down, Make Love
Spread Your Wings
We Will Rock You
Sheer Heart Attack
Sleeping on the Sidewalk

Placing them within the context of their ’70s contemporaries, Queen is less pompous than Yes, wittier than King Crimson, looser than Traffic, warmer than Pink Floyd, better dressed than Mountain, hipper than The Grateful Dead, kinkier than Steely Dan, nastier than Carole King, more electrifying than War, and smarter than Grand Funk Railroad, though that one is easy. My dog is smarter than Grand Funk Railroad. Queen could toast and eat Bread and wash them down with ELO without missing a beat. They are the Monitor to Black Sabbath’s Merrimack. They are not just superior to Chicago, they make Chicago look like Fall River, Massachusetts. Their song about women with overlarge derrieres is AC/DC with metaphors and flashbacks. AC/DC can barely manage a point of view. And their song about murder, the nature of reality, and Galileo made Wayne’s World possible.

Queen was obviously a respectable unit, but this is music, not quantum mechanics. If you could explain art you wouldn’t need misinformed critics like me. Honk if you love David Bowie.

  1. Laurel says:

    Hipper than the Grateful Dead? Dude!

    • Run-DMSteve says:

      The Grateful Dead are more authentic than Hall & Oates, more reliable than Sly & The Family Stone, more substantial than Three Dog Night, more nutritious than The Partridge Family, more masculine than The Bee-Gees, more talented than The Ramones, nowhere near as monotonous as Boston, and smarter than Aerosmith, though that one is easy. My dog is more smarter than Aerosmith. The make Cheap Trick look like, well, like a cheap trick. They are the British navy to Bad Company’s Bismarck. They could not win a street fight against Van Halen, though they could easily whup Genesis. But they are not as hip as Queen.

  2. Actually, My Dear Run-DM Steve, So You Think You Can Dance has song much more appalling. Heartfelt ballads by bands I have never heard of are standard. Let’s see if I can recall so lyrics.

    But I still!
    But I still!


    We two?


    Na na na na na na maybe it’s’ a conversation?


    So a really solid, clearly rhythmic and clearly enunciated song that is not a confession of longing for someone song like “Another One Bites The Dust” is a welcome change. I love SYTYCD. But I’m under no illusions that the types of songs that form the basis of the type of dance routines that can convey emotion in 3 and half minutes are not always in good musical taste. Do you eschew television in general, or is only talent competition shows you avoid? Just curious!

    • Run-DMSteve says:

      I only watch Battlestar Galactica. And frankly, they had some episodes that would’ve been improved by a three-and-a-half-minute song.

      OK, I watch other things too. Whatever comes in from Netflix! I watched most of Six Feet Under. That was intense, plus they had an interesting soundtrack.

      But talent competitions….If they had one called So You Think You Can Play Chess While We Throw Pies At You, I’d wouldn’t just watch it, I’d compete to get on it!

  3. And who can forget the “Glee” number using Bohemian Rhapsody? Bombastic and histrionic taken to a new level…

  4. Accused of Lurking says:

    1. Honking now.
    2. No one can make Chicago look like Fall River. Taunton perhaps, but not Fall River.
    3. I am frequently in the mood for Queen. When I need a double shot of bombast, I fire up Bohemian Rhapsody and am mightily satisfied.

  5. I’ve never thought of it that way, but it’s kind of true. I love to hear Queen songs every now and then, but I never actually put them on my playlist, which is weird, because I really do like them (or think I do…) Another One Bites the Dust was just featured for a routine on So You Think You Can Dance, by the way. Do you watch that show?

    • Run-DMSteve says:

      My dear Denmother: I am sometimes startled to find, when I’m out driving, that the radio has just played something by Queen. I guess it was too much trouble to switch stations. I’m not going to watch So You Think You Can Dance if they’re using Queen as a soundtrack, but now that you’ve mentioned it, what would’ve happened to Weird Al if he hadn’t had “Another One Bites the Dust” to ignite his career? Queen might be even more important than I thought!

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