Bohemian Rhapsody - Queen

The Experience: Anyone can see, nothing really matters... Is life worth fighting for? Or should you just go anyway the wind blows...

Music video: Interspersed with concert footage are images of Queen. First they're black figures against a white background. Then they're the only thing illuminated in a sea of darkness. Are they the villians in an otherwise bright world? Or are they the heroes? Does it matter? Bohemian Rhapsody is often considered one of the first music videos of all time. All the effects were achieved during filming, with almost no post-production editing.

The Meaning of Bohemian Rhapsody: Freddie Mercury conceived of Bohemian Rhapsody as a mini-opera, complete with movements and a storyline, although he himself refused to divulge anything more than the fact that it was about relationships. A pamphlet that accompanied the song's 2004 release in Iran (15 years after Mercury's death in 1991) explained was about a man who accidentally killed another man, then just like Faust sold his soul to the devil, but was saved when he invoked God on his deathbed - Bismillah ("In the name of God") is the opening phrase of the Koran. The song opens with existential doubt - is this the real life is this just a fantasy - and a declaration of animosity toward reality itself - no escape from reality. The song closes with fatalistic indifference - nothing really matters to me. In between those two bookends is a drama in acts. 1) He kills a man. 2) He says goodbye to his mama, asking her to carry on as if nothing really matters. 3) He faces death - my time has come. 4) Intermission: in what seems to be a summary of the whole song Queen compares this man's life to an Italian clown - Scaramouche - and asks if he can dance - the Fandango. But tragedy ensues - thunderbolts and lightning very very frightening. 4) Back to the story, upon his death a fight ensues - accompanied by much harder rock - between the mystery man and his demons - Beelzebub has a devil put aside for me. He invokes God - Bismillah. The crowd cheers him on - let him go. The demons demand their due - we will not let him go.... never let him go. The outcome? Uncertain according to the lyrics. According to the Persian pamphlet, he makes it. But the song ends with nothing really matters

Ask yourself: Do the ups and downs and tragedies and struggles of your life mean anything? What gives them meaning?

Album: A Night At The Opera (1975)


Is this the real life?
Is this just fantasy?
Caught in a landslide,
No escape from reality.

Open your eyes,
Look up to the skies and see,
I'm just a poor boy, I need no sympathy,
Because I'm easy come, easy go,
Little high, little low,
Any way the wind blows doesn't really matter to me, to me.

Mama, just killed a man,
Put a gun against his head,
Pulled my trigger, now he's dead.
Mama, life had just begun,
But now I've gone and thrown it all away.

Mama, ooh,
Didn't mean to make you cry,
If I'm not back again this time tomorrow,
Carry on, carry on as if nothing really matters.

Too late, my time has come,
Sends shivers down my spine,
Body's aching all the time.
Goodbye, everybody, I've got to go,
Gotta leave you all behind and face the truth.

Mama, ooh (any way the wind blows),
I don't wanna die,
I sometimes wish I'd never been born at all.

I see a little silhouetto of a man,
Scaramouche, Scaramouche, will you do the Fandango?
Thunderbolt and lightning,
Very, very frightening me.
(Galileo) Galileo.
(Galileo) Galileo,
Galileo Figaro

I'm just a poor boy, nobody loves me.
He's just a poor boy from a poor family,
Spare him his life from this monstrosity.

Easy come, easy go, will you let me go?
Bismillah! No, we will not let you go. (Let him go!)
Bismillah! We will not let you go. (Let him go!)
Bismillah! We will not let you go. (Let me go!)
Will not let you go. (Let me go!)
Never let you go (Never, never, never, never let me go)
Oh oh oh oh
No, no, no, no, no, no, no
Oh, mama mia, mama mia (Mama mia, let me go.)
Beelzebub has a devil put aside for me, for me, for me.

So you think you can stone me and spit in my eye?
So you think you can love me and leave me to die?
Oh, baby, can't do this to me, baby,
Just gotta get out, just gotta get right outta here.

(Ooooh, ooh yeah, ooh yeah)

Nothing really matters,
Anyone can see,
Nothing really matters,
Nothing really matters to me.

Any way the wind blows.

review by Benjamin O'Loughlin


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