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#226: A Night at the Opera by Queen

4.26.2012

A Night at the Opera by Queen (1975)

Favorite Track(s):  "You're My Best Friend" and "39" and "Seaside Rendezvous" and "The Prophet's Song" and "Love of My Life" and "Good Company"

Thoughts: QUEEN!  It's about time.  It's our very first Queen album--and a great one at that! Though I have to confess, the title A  Night at the Opera makes me think of Les Miserables, when Enjorlas sings in "Red and Black":

It is time for us all to decide who we are
Do we fight for the right 
to a night at the opera now?

I like to think that was a little Queen shout-out by Alan Boubil.  To the album!  Freddie Mercury, take me away.

The album opens with piano, then electric guitar.  YES.   There's so much theatricality to this band's songs (and to Freddie's voice).  But they're also varied!  I remember being shocked when I learned that the same band that sings "We Will Rock You" also wrote "Crazy Little Thing Called Love."  Or "Bohemian Rhapsody" and "You're My Best Friend."  Pure, unadulterated musical talent from these four men.

This was my first time listening to this album.  My experience of Queen has been more from their Greatest Hits and Greatest Hits II, which my dad owns on CD, and we would listen to in the car.*  So this was my first exposure to songs like "The Prophet's Song" written by Brian May, and it was mind-blowing.  Apparently it's sort of based on a dream he had while recovering from an illness.  I've had those kinds of dreams, and turning it into an amazing rock song like this is pretty amazing. 

Then there's "Bohemian Rhapsody", which is on this album.  I remember reading some stupid blog post that someone stupidly linked to on Facebook about ways women could be more attractive to men.  As if the rest of society and advertising weren't attempting to teach the exact same thing.  Because it's our whole lives, isn't it, as women?  How can I make myself more attractive for the male population?  Ok, back to the point.  This blogger had a list of things women should do to attract men, and one of them was literally, "Know All the Words to 'Bohemian Rhapsody.'"  Initially I was caught off guard, and quite pleased with myself because hey, I know all the words to "Bohemian Rhapsody"!  BRING FORTH MY MANY SUITORS.  But seconds later I realized that's a huge crock of old shit.  Knowing all the words to "Bohemian Rhapsody" or appreciating classic rock, is not a man's game.  It's a human being's game.  It's everyone's game.  And now God knows how many women are out there trying to learn the words to this EPIC song just to impress men.  It's a real shame.  Memorize "Bohemian Rhapsody" because IT BELONGS IN YOUR SOUL and for no other reason.  Well, also because it's incredible for sing-alongs/karaoke/air-guitar/head-banging.

I took this opportunity to really look into the 'behind the scenes' aspects of the song.  It was referred to as "Fred's Thing" by Brian, Roger, and John, and the recording of it took 5 studios!   Judith Peraino said that "Mercury intended... [this song] to be a 'mock opera', something outside the norm of rock songs, and it does follow a certain operatic logic: choruses of multi-tracked voices alternate with aria-like solos, the emotions are excessive, the plot confusing."  Read more about it at the wikipedia page.  Fascinating.

There's a gif/meme all over tumblr inspired by the song that I enjoy.  People tend to use it when they are very excited.











*honestly, one of the best things my parents have ever done for me is take the time to share great music with me.  I still ended up with a severe NSYNC phase, but the important stuff stayed with me.  :) 

Is This Better Than The River?:



Yes.

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