Monday, January 17, 2011

Don't Stop Me Now by Queen

“I Gotta Feeling” by The Black Eyed Peas was one the most popular songs of the last couple years. Oprah featured this song on her show, it has become a staple at wedding receptions and WAY too many school groups have performed this song in concert.



. . . ugh. . .  This song is awful.  Maybe it’s the fact that Fergie isn’t the lead vocalist, or the fact that it’s extremely repetitive and lacks musical creativity.  Listing off the days of the week in a song is about as creative as reciting the alphabet.  I’ve had difficulty justifying my feeling about this song until recently. What I realized is that this song fails at a fundamental level to expressive in a meaningful the emotions described in this song and I came to this conclusion after rediscovering a song that does, “Don’t Stop Me Now” by Queen.



Queen is so much more than “Bohemian Rhapsody.” This British rock group created music that ranged from the tongue-in-cheek (“Killer Queen”) to the breathtakingly beautiful (“Who Wants To Live Forever”). In 1978, they released the ultimate, “I’m revved up and ready to have an amazing out night on the town song.”

Starting with a slow piano accompanied reflection, Freddie Mercury glides up to his shining falsetto as he describes how he is ready to have a great time and pleads to us not get in his way. Mercury gently asks for us to not stop him with soft gentle hits. When he tells us the reason why, the music speed up and whisks us away.

Like racing down the street in a convertible on a warm summer night there is adventure and excitement in the groove of the drums, piano and bass. Mercury goes on to describe himself as a tiger, a racing car ready to “go, go, go!” With hilarious lyrics like “that’s why they call me Mr. Fahrenheit,” we can’t help but get pumped up. I mean, looks, he’s a rocket ship AND a satellite and a “machine” ready to reload. . . that’s um . . .yeah . . .anyways, these lyrics are pure fun.

Brian May, Queen’s amazing guitarist plays his first notes after the vocal break perfectly describing the sheer joy and glee that Mercury is singing about going on to accompany Mercury’s voice.

Queen bookends the song with Mercury crooning over the piano part that was featured in the intro. With freedom and grace, his voice soars like a dream up into the night sky. It’s my favorite moment of the song as he sings with pure unbridled freedom and joy.

“Don’t’ Stop Me Now,” is injected with so much personality and craft.  This isn't some manufactured attempt to get people dancing, this is an expression of emotion, this is art.  With a variety of sections and musical variation, Queen outdoes the Black Eyed Peas creating not only a song, but an everlasting moment.

Queen's conviction and determination to keep having a good time trumps any feelings the Black Eyed Peas get Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday or Sunday. 

3 comments:

  1. Great post! This is one of my favorite Queen songs. I remember back a few years when TNT aired Sunday Night Football, they would play this song from time to time.

    Speaking of football and the Black Eye Peas...they are doing the half time show for the Super Bowl. I've got a feeling that it's going to suck.

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  2. The Who on their worst day could beat out the Black Eye Peas on their best day. . . which is probably what comparing those two half-time shows will be like.

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  3. Kingsley, thank you for talking about QUEEN the best band that anyone younger than me might never ever have heard of, because many of them probably don't know who wrote those songs they love like Bohemian Rhapsody and We Will Rock You and on and on. I started listening to Queen when I was 10, and the more I think about them, the more I appreciate the incredible artists and entertainers these guys were (and some still are). Here's to a band sorely underrated by people our age!

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