Bohemian Rhapsody

Greatest Hits by Queen

2005, 1 track, 5 mins 55 sec

With an album name like A Night At The Opera, it should be no surprise that Queen’s introductory song for this record would be an epic adventure which fully takes advantage of their incredible composition skills, but they somehow managed to exceed even the most generous of expectations, releasing one hell of a Rock masterpiece. You can’t mention the name Queen without someone immediately saying “oh, I love that song ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’,” which should be a testament to just how well-orchestrated this song is as it’s able to be loved by virtually every style of listener out there, no matter if they’re a Rock, Country, Pop or Hip Hop fan – What makes this tune so exceptional is its absolutely breathtaking scale, transitioning from a somber ballad with heavily-operatic overtones to a Hard Rock anthem brimming with headbanging potential, weaving an intricate story of love, betrayal, deceit & murder, giving audiences all the trappings of a typical opera performance just whittled down to a more approachable six minute length. Vocalist Freddie Mercury speaks of his lover leaving him for another man, eventually killing said man & engaging his gang of hooligans in a furious battle as his mother pleads in the background for him to be left alone, giving way to the relentless riffing & guitar solos of the track’s latter portion – It is truly a performance of epic proportions, ditching traditional Rock music structure in favour of an expressive & emotive series of story beats held together by the common thread of music theory.
The narrative is only one piece in this story though, as Mercury & his bandmates deliver one of the most serene vocal performances ever put to tape, engaging in brilliant four part – even seven, at times – harmonies which add all manner of theatricality & dramatic tension to the intense story, soaring & plummeting at a moment’s notice as they each accentuate important plot points & illustrate the setting of this tale with their voices. Attached to this then is the instrumentation itself, mostly held together in the first half by Mercury’s classical piano stylings, helping to draw the listener’s attention ever-deeper into the story, occasionally punctuated by guitar & drums as the story starts to escalate. When it comes time for the big fight in the middle, the whole band lets loose, wailing away on their instruments with beefy harmonized guitar riffs, a sort of bouncy backbeat percussion rhythm & a driving bassline that simultaneously pumps you up & involves you in the narrative, putting you in the main character’s shoes as you stand up to adversity by joining in on the song – When it comes to the music video, Queen goes for a distinctly stage-show-like performance, singing their multi-part harmonies under harsh overhead lighting in a dark studio, feeling much like the dramatic solo pieces of a regular Broadway musical production. Eventually it breaks down & becomes intercut with shots of the band playing on stage, because hey, it’s a Queen video & that’s pretty much the extent of their creative focus back then, but this actually acts to their benefit, making the entire performance really feel as if you’re out in the crowd at a sold out stadium, watching everyone perform their hearts out mere feet away from you on-stage; It’s as intimate as you can get & really fuels the energetic momentum in a great way – Without a doubt, this song is one of the most entertaining pieces of music out there, both sonically & visually, providing an experience that has yet to be outdone & likely never will.

camjameson
Written by @camjameson from Extraneous Routes

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Song Info

"Bohemian Rhapsody"

Songwriter

Freddie Mercury

Released

  • Sep 13, 2005

Formats

  • 7-inch single

Label

  • EMI (UK)
  • Elektra (US)
  • Virgin EMI (UK 2019 reissue)
  • Hollywood (US 2019 reissue)

Producer

  • Roy Thomas Baker
  • Queen

Genres

  • Progressive rock
  • hard rock
  • progressive pop

Wiki

"Bohemian Rhapsody" is a song by the British rock band Queen. It was written by Freddie Mercury for the band's 1975 album A Night at the Opera. It is a six-minute suite, consisting of several sections without a chorus: an intro, a ballad segment, an operatic passage, a hard rock part and a reflective coda. The song is a more accessible take on the 1970s progressive rock genre.
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