A shorter list than expected. Before learning to what extent every member of Queen contributed to the songwriting — a rarity in rock — I’d assumed Freddie Mercury did the writing himself or with Brian May, like other singer/guitarist dynamics. Turns out John Deacon wrote my beloved “Back Chat” and Roger Taylor “A Kind of Magic.” But Mercury was up for anything, defying the NO SYNTHS twaddle the band followed until not even their cats thought Moses had carved it on a stone tablet.
This is why fans love him, the Greatest Showman apotheosized during the Live Aid appearance. Committed to blasting the nosebleeds into submission, he moved the camp self-regard of the era’s blowsy arena rock acts from subtext to text. Bohemian Rhapsody, responsible for an explosion of interest in Queen for anyone under thirty, gets the self-regard but dilutes it with biopic crap. For Freddie Mercury, “redemption” was a concept he’d read about in someone else’s story, dah-ling, or it meant the bulge of a crotch through jeans. The movie is product for audiences who want spectacle leavened by assurances of offstage stability, like, say, The Love of a Good Woman, infantilizing us with the fiction that there’s more to life than those fictions we create that delight relatives and fans.
No “Bohemian Rhapsody” below, I should mention.
1. “Somebody to Love” (A Day at the Races)
2. “Bicycle Race” (Jazz)
3. “Body Language” (Body Language)
4. “Killer Queen” (Sheer Heart Attack)”
5. “Flick of the Wrist” (Sheer Heart Attack)
6. “I’m Going Slightly Mad” (Innuendo)
7. “Love of My Life” (A Night at the Opera)
8. “Crazy Thing Called Love” (The Game)
9. “Good Old-Fashioned Lover Boy” (A Day at the Races)
10. “Seven Seas of Rhye” (Queen II)
11. “Don’t Stop Me Now” (Jazz)
12. “My Melancholy Blues” (News of the World)