Hip-hop heads are introduced to Bohemian Rhapsody for the first time
September 28, 2018 1:06 PM   Subscribe

and are freaked out by the shock of how amazing it. one, two, three, four, and probably even more out there.
I don't know why. for some reason, such videos really excite me.
posted by avi111 (106 comments total) 64 users marked this as a favorite
 
Has Wayne's World completely fallen off of young people's radar these days?

*ties onion to belt*
posted by Atom Eyes at 1:14 PM on September 28 [41 favorites]


Is it happening again?
posted by nubs at 1:17 PM on September 28 [3 favorites]


I must be getting old because I want to sit all these guys down and play it again on a hi-fi system, not from youtube on laptop speakers.
posted by muddgirl at 1:19 PM on September 28 [22 favorites]


(OK some of them are wearing decent headphones, but I feel like my dad - I have it on vinyl! Give me 10 minutes to clean the turntable and we can listen on that!)
posted by muddgirl at 1:21 PM on September 28 [14 favorites]


I was complaining last night that I had it stuck in my head, but the Muppet cover of it kept intruding in parts.
posted by Foosnark at 1:22 PM on September 28 [3 favorites]


That first one gave me goosebumps. So fun to hear great music through someone else’s ears for the first time. I’m smiling my ass off, bro.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 1:26 PM on September 28 [12 favorites]


Is it happening again?

This is probably not a good idea.
posted by Mr.Encyclopedia at 1:27 PM on September 28 [3 favorites]


this is SO GREAT. this made my day 100%. thank you thank you.
posted by capnsue at 1:28 PM on September 28 [5 favorites]


I've seen some of these recently, and upon viewing one for Tom Petty, wished that when I was a girl in the 80s, the kids around my way would've been so open-minded to my choice of music to play from my mini-boombox in the backyard on a summer's day. I got called a lot of names, "oreo" being the mildest.

This is good, though. This is good. I'm happy that the young people are discovering songs I came to love growing up.

(Also, if they're looking for someone who could suggest great beats to sample from songs that no one's using, I'd be pretty good at that...)
posted by droplet at 1:31 PM on September 28 [15 favorites]


there really is an XKCD for everything; we are watching the moment that someone became "one of the lucky 10,000" for this song and that's always awesome.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 1:33 PM on September 28 [20 favorites]


Ok, finished the second one and I have now moved to the computer in the studio with the powered monitors and subwoofer.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 1:34 PM on September 28 [3 favorites]




This is probably not a good idea.

The practical part of me says you are right.
posted by nubs at 1:35 PM on September 28 [1 favorite]


God can we just talk a minute about what an incredible guitarist Brian May is? Freddy Mercury is such a blinding white hot talent in the center of that band that I think he tends to get overlooked. The guitar solo at the end of "we will rock you" is one of my favorite things.
posted by mr_roboto at 1:37 PM on September 28 [40 favorites]


That first video is so fun! I love how he reacts to all the different transitions between sections of the song. It really is fucking amazing, as he says.
posted by ashirys at 1:38 PM on September 28 [6 favorites]


Ok, goosebumps on the third one too. This song is so gangster.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 1:43 PM on September 28


“What happened to this guy??”

*sobs forever*
posted by greermahoney at 1:47 PM on September 28 [82 favorites]


Everyone should have the chance to wonder what the hell “Bismillah” means.
posted by pompomtom at 1:48 PM on September 28 [17 favorites]


Yeah. I kind of wept at the “what happened to this guy” thing. It’s like... oh, Freddy. Oh, oh, oh.

Thanks for sharing this.
posted by seanmpuckett at 1:50 PM on September 28 [10 favorites]


The practical part of me says you are right.

Real discussion is still ongoing, maybe give it a couple weeks.
posted by Mr.Encyclopedia at 1:52 PM on September 28 [2 favorites]


I have remarked before "Wouldn't it be great to be able to hear Bohemian Rhapsody for the first time?" Apparently I'm not the only one.

I was just a kid when it was released. I have a vague recollection of thinking it was something special, but I just didn't have the musical appreciation or musical exposure to understand how special.
posted by adamrice at 1:53 PM on September 28 [6 favorites]


God can we just talk a minute about what an incredible guitarist Brian May is? Freddy Mercury is such a blinding white hot talent in the center of that band that I think he tends to get overlooked.

I've heard it said before that every member of Queen could have been a chart-topping act in their own right, the fact that they were all in the same band is nothing short of amazing.
posted by madajb at 1:54 PM on September 28 [22 favorites]


This is my favorite MeFi post of all time. So much joy. My favorite was the first guy, who seems totally high.

Marijuana is a hell of a drug.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 1:55 PM on September 28 [5 favorites]


"This man has a beautiful voice, bro. Like, what happened to him?"
posted by RobotHero at 1:56 PM on September 28 [11 favorites]


Real discussion is still ongoing, maybe give it a couple weeks.

Life moves fast, I give it a couple of days
posted by numaner at 1:57 PM on September 28 [2 favorites]


I'll never forget hearing this song for the first time. I was 11 years old and sitting in a car with my older, cooler cousins when it came on the radio. And they couldn't wait for me to hear it. And apparently, it's just a visceral thing to do that head-banging. I do it every time.
posted by ceejaytee at 1:59 PM on September 28 [5 favorites]


Queen as a whole never gelled with me, but "Bohemian Rhapsody" is hands-down one of the greatest songs ever written/performed, and watching a new generation come across it is absolute joymaking. Thank you for compiling and sharing this.
posted by rorgy at 2:01 PM on September 28 [8 favorites]


Is someone going to tell me what the oblique discussion around nubs' post

Is it happening again?

means? or no?
posted by capnsue at 2:02 PM on September 28


means? or no?

Is it possible this is what you are looking for?
posted by nubs at 2:04 PM on September 28 [1 favorite]


Reaction videos aren't really my thing most of the time, but I've heard Bohemian Rhapsody so much in my life, both because it's great and because of just cultural penetration though (I guess mostly) white American culture, that I can't really even remember the first time I heard it. My parents I think had it on vinyl and cassette, maybe? I was born in 1983 and Bohemian Rhapsody has just always been a part of my life. I'm enjoying this reminder of just how good it is, seeing it through these fresh eyes. Thanks for sharing.
posted by Caduceus at 2:32 PM on September 28 [1 favorite]


rorgy: Queen as a whole never gelled with me, but "Bohemian Rhapsody" is hands-down one of the greatest songs ever written/performed, and watching a new generation come across it is absolute joymaking.

I've never put "Bohemian Rhapsody" on repeat, but I have done so with Don't Stop Me Now.
posted by clawsoon at 2:33 PM on September 28 [12 favorites]


The 4th guy is my fav! “I’ve heard of this kind of music before... where they actually put substance in it... and tell a story.” Ha! Plus he does like 4 shots during it.

I also love how most of them called out the same places. Like the first “mama ooooooh” That was so moving to all of them.

I've never put "Bohemian Rhapsody" on repeat, but I have done so with Don't Stop Me Now.


I’ve never listened to this song so many times in a row. But Hammer to Fall? I’ll listen to that on repeat for hours. It’s not my fav of theirs, but it’s got massive replay-ability.
posted by greermahoney at 2:43 PM on September 28 [3 favorites]


These reaction videos give me a way to listen to old favorites for the very first time again. I've heard Bohemian Rhapsody so many times that it's easy to forget how COMPLETELY FUCKING BALLS OUT CRAZY AWESOME BATSHIT it is.
posted by It's Never Lurgi at 2:54 PM on September 28 [16 favorites]


I love how because there are so many changes throughout the song, these guys all just hang on at the end for a few seconds, not quite sure if the song is over or just changing again.
posted by NoraCharles at 2:58 PM on September 28 [11 favorites]


Confirmation bias!
posted by Fupped Duck at 3:08 PM on September 28


The guy in the first video needs to change the batteries in his smoke detector.
posted by LiteOpera at 3:10 PM on September 28 [3 favorites]


When Bohemian Rhapsody came out bits of it would occasionally surface on TV - it was an irresistible video if you had holes in the schedule to fill - and it was strange and new and extraordinary, and I was intoxicated, wondering what on earth this thing was.

(It was a time for that - my parents weren't pop fans - my mother is only three years older than Lennon and McCartney, but it's a significant three years. So I'd catch snatches of pop music, opening the door to a byzantine, magical world - Sparks doing This Town Ain't Big Enough... or Electric Light Orchestra doing 10538 Overture .. what is this? My generation, or at least I, am drawn to things that sound like nothing we've ever heard before.)

The making of has turned up in several documentaries - here's one of them.

It's nice to be reminded of how amazing it is.

Also, *A Night At the Opera* - the album from which it came - is completely extraordinary. *Bohemian Rhapsody* is even more stunning at the end of it.

Each member of Queen was a songwriter, and if you look at Queen's back catalogue - I'd estimate the second greatest back catalogue in pop music after The Beatles, hit after hit after hit, and even the minor hits are often astonishing - it's fairly distributed between them.
posted by Grangousier at 3:12 PM on September 28 [7 favorites]


Oh yay! This gives me a chance to share one of my fav recent videos.

I'm kind of into reaction videos, which is just a little weird, but I am digging them - especially when the person doing the reacting is an expert in a field that is related to the video. An example is this vocal teacher that reacts to movies and accents.

Anyways, my most recent find is this person that is a vocal coach that reacts to musicians. Mostly pop stuff that I don't know much about, but then I came across one he did for Panic at the Disco!'s cover of Bohemian Rhapsody.

Now, I am a big fan of Queen and to my mind Freddy is a singular talent. I'm also not super familiar with Panic at the DIsco! But their cover of Bohemian actually rocks like a motherfucker, it really does. So the reaction of this vocal coach named Sam Johnson talking about the choices the singer has to make in order to even get close to pulling off the insane vocals is really satisfying. Enjoy!
posted by lazaruslong at 3:13 PM on September 28 [12 favorites]


old and off the map:
Kleptones Night at the Hip-Hopera a better-than-most mash-up of Queen and hip hop hits of 15 years ago.
posted by Fupped Duck at 3:17 PM on September 28 [12 favorites]


Ooh, the asterisks don' work no mo'. Looks like that Safari upgrade broke more than I thought.
posted by Grangousier at 3:28 PM on September 28 [1 favorite]


Sorta the flip side of my reaction to rap lo those many years ago: "what? Wait, huh? What's happening? OMFG this rules!"
posted by aramaic at 3:40 PM on September 28 [1 favorite]


Ha, ha, fantastic! Almost like listening to it for the first time again!
posted by Twang at 3:41 PM on September 28


I use to fence to this in highschool and it is such an incredibly fond memory of mine.

Watching them all, smiling. Thanks for sharing!
posted by AlexiaSky at 3:42 PM on September 28


I love this song, have since it came out, but these reaction videos -- especially the first -- are hilarious. I want to make that guy binge watch every decent band from 1958 to 1982. With breaks for the good Elvis movies, Bye Bye Birdie, Wayne's World, and Animal House.

Sorry @lazaruslong, don't get why that Panic cover is so great, to me it sounds pretty much note for note albeit adjusted for the lead singer's voice.
posted by billsaysthis at 4:07 PM on September 28 [1 favorite]


I've never put "Bohemian Rhapsody" on repeat, but I have done so with Don't Stop Me Now.

On the other hand, it was "Bohemian Rhapsody" that I was whistling on my bike all the way home.
posted by clawsoon at 4:11 PM on September 28 [1 favorite]


FOUR! Four wins. "I know this! I know it from the movie, what'sthemoviewhat'sthemovie, y'all know the movie!" This happens to me aaaaall the tiiiiiiime, where I know the reference to the original and have no idea there even is an original.

Further pursuant to not knowing any damn thing at all, here is my tragic Queen story:

Everybody who liked Queen was older than I was. I thought I was so new wave or whatever and Queen was so big and show-tuney and, just, old, and it irked my little reactionary, hidebound, intolerant ears. So I never took any interest at all and would sigh gustily sometimes when it was twoferTuesday and there were two Queen songs back to back on the radio.

Then music got completely away from me and I stopped paying attention. At some point I realized I'd been listening to NPR, and then podcasts when they came on the scene, to the exclusion of everything else for essentially ever. I had basically forgotten about all of it. It didn't bug me much; I just shrugged and went about my merry podcasty way.

Then at some point in like 2006 or 7 or so I was over at my friend's boyfriend's upstairs apartment in the middle of the night and he played this. This may be hard to credit, since I was pushing 40 at the time, but I had never seen Freddie Mercury before. I'd heard Queen on the radio my entire life but I'd never looked. I never saw them. It exploded everything in my head in an instant, and I did the same thing I did when I was 15 and a new Police video came on MTV, where I like launched myself off the sofa at the TV. So I know a little bit what these kids are experiencing. Except that unlike the first kid, I knew that he was dead and that I'd been right there but had missed out completely.
posted by Don Pepino at 4:27 PM on September 28 [6 favorites]


I don't have any recall of when I first heard Bohemian Rhapsody, it was just always there, a staple of radio.

I do, however, have a distinct memory of the first time I heard the other song on the front page, Stairway to Heaven.

We were on a bus to Berlin/East Germany, swapping Walkmen headphones as kids do.
At the time, I was a pretty standard, Top 40 kid, with a minor in AM Country Gold (thanks, mom and dad!).
Someone played Stairway for me and it was just so drastically different from everything I'd listened to before. I must have listened to it a dozen times on that bus trip.

Now, of course, like everyone else, I get a little jaded about Stairway but it is one of my clearest musical memories.
posted by madajb at 4:37 PM on September 28 [1 favorite]


Also, I'm not saying I've done this, but thank god camera phones weren't a thing when I was younger...
posted by madajb at 4:41 PM on September 28




When I was in secondary school, in suburban Essex, in the 1980s, our music teacher looked at the kids he had to teach and, I assume, quickly realised that orchestra practice wasn't going to cut it.

We performed Bohemian Rhapsody at one of the many pop concerts the school held over the years. And Another One Bites The Dust. And Thriller. And Billie Jean. And many more of that ilk. I mean, I can't imagine how painful it must have been for our parents to hear us murdering all those amazing songs, but in our tight perms, crimped ski pants and batwing tops, we felt the absolute bomb up there on stage.

Thanks, Monty.
posted by penguin pie at 5:10 PM on September 28 [8 favorites]


My earliest Queen memories are my mom always turning off Bohemian Rhapsody and saying she didn't like it. At some point, she finally elaborated that it was because it made her too sad and she'd cry if she listened to it.

Anyway, all of these really made my night!
posted by wellifyouinsist at 5:12 PM on September 28 [8 favorites]


One thing I'm loving is that when it gets up to the headbangy part - each and every person headbangs, even if this is the very first time they're hearing it.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 5:25 PM on September 28 [10 favorites]


SO YOU THINK YOU CAN STONE ME AND SPIT IN MY EYE??????11111

Fuckin' a.
posted by Sing Or Swim at 5:32 PM on September 28 [1 favorite]


God can we just talk a minute about what an incredible guitarist Brian May is? Freddy Mercury is such a blinding white hot talent in the center of that band that I think he tends to get overlooked. The guitar solo at the end of "we will rock you" is one of my favorite things.

When Google did its Freddie Mercury doodle a few years back, Brian May shared a story - that once, after he and Freddie got into a hissy fit in the studio, Freddie went home and felt bad and wanted to apologize to him in some dramatic way - so he stayed up all night collecting all of Brian May's guitar solos and splicing them all together into this mega-tape of nothing but Brian May guitar. He gave Brian the tape the next day saying something like "I wanted you to hear this the way I do; they're all fab, so I turned them into a symphony."
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 5:33 PM on September 28 [46 favorites]


If you know Queen then you kind of get used to Freddie Mercury's voice - I suppose; this reminds of how truly unique it was.
posted by carter at 5:40 PM on September 28 [1 favorite]


Awesome post btw. Love seeing people enjoying music.
posted by carter at 5:45 PM on September 28


God can we just talk a minute about what an incredible guitarist Brian May is?

Yes, please. (I'm no expert, so you all go ahead...)

As fantastic as Freddie's voice was, nothing defines a Queen song like Brian May's guitar. It's incredibly unique and marvelous. That's all I know.
posted by mrgrimm at 5:52 PM on September 28 [2 favorites]


I remember when I learned that there was never any choir backing Queen up, it's just massive overdubs and Roger Taylor's insane falsetto way up on top. Blew. my. mind.
posted by I_Love_Bananas at 5:56 PM on September 28 [1 favorite]


The guy from video "one" above got such a strong reaction to his reaction that he went on to record a second "reaction to Queen" - and he chose a video of their rendition of "Under Pressure" live at Wembley. The clip he's watching includes Freddie's call-and-response scat singing with the audience prior to the song, and our friend can't resist singing along with the audience in response to Freddie's "bee-da-dee-da-dey-do" throughout. And he stops at least three times to marvel that "and this isn't autotune!"

I have discovered the exact genre of Youtube videos I needed to see today; thank you.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:04 PM on September 28 [10 favorites]


I feel like I should pay all these delightful people back with a video of my white middle aged mom ass cleaning house to Public Enemy.
posted by soren_lorensen at 6:14 PM on September 28 [8 favorites]


Y'know, it's just about people liking stuff. Someone liking anything outranks anyone hating anything. That's the rules.
posted by Grangousier at 6:47 PM on September 28 [13 favorites]


Thank you to everyone adding links. I can’t tell you how much I needed this today.
posted by greermahoney at 7:02 PM on September 28




Okay this is my favorite one so far by far. He starts out blown away by Freddie Mercury's singing right out of the gate, and only two minutes in he starts begging people to tell him more Queen songs for him to go listen to and to tell him who the band members are and basically everything about Queen, and ends up having this enormous epiphany about "I am so glad I tried listening to music that I wasn't familiar with" and basically his life is just a kabillion times happier in this moment and I just want to hug him
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:28 PM on September 28 [16 favorites]


Everyone who has said "it's like I get to hear it for the first time again" -- YES. That's why I love reaction videos, why I follow Mark Does Stuff, why I force my friends to sit in my living room while I show them Beloved Television Series #541 and say "You have to promise to watch the first four episodes." This is as close as we get to time travel. Watching a friend slowly realize what you've been waiting for them to pick up on is--and I think I mean this--just as good as seeing/hearing it for the first time.

(If you can find a friend who hasn't been spoiled for The Good Place, I guarantee you an AMAZING day if you can get them to marathon Season One.)
posted by tzikeh at 7:38 PM on September 28 [10 favorites]


Big fan of Postmodern Jukebox and yesterday they dropped a new interp of "Who Wants to Live Forever" with my favorite singer of theirs, Morgan James. She did fantastic, but you can still her struggling with some of those notes in the original. It's still amazing, but damn does it make you miss Freddie Mercury. (obligatory note that I could practice for a thousand years like Connor Macleod and still never come close to either of them) Also bonus that she did a pretty great acapella cover of Angel From Montgomery - one of my favorites whether in the original Prine or Bonnie Raitt versions.
posted by drewbage1847 at 7:53 PM on September 28 [2 favorites]


Also, while this is not precisely in the same vein, I have a feeling it would be welcome here: Britain's Got Talent Audition--Nicholas Bryant.

Stick with the video. I promise you some amazing "first" reactions to a Queen song.
posted by tzikeh at 7:58 PM on September 28 [2 favorites]


Am I monster for being more annoyed by these videos than delighted?
posted by runcibleshaw at 8:46 PM on September 28 [1 favorite]


No, you just like something different than what’s in this thread. No one’s a monster because of that.
posted by greermahoney at 8:53 PM on September 28 [2 favorites]


These are great. This was the perfect post to save for last today. Thanks, avi111!
posted by homunculus at 9:24 PM on September 28 [1 favorite]


just can't stop GRINNING, and shivering! So dope to see their reactions go to 11.

I used to love playing records for my friends for the first time and watching the lights come on. Watching these guys faces was such a trip and I love it that they were so impressed.
posted by a humble nudibranch at 9:38 PM on September 28 [1 favorite]


I assume that the motivation to perform could make this whole genre unpleasant.

But the genuine reactions can be very moving, as in this one to Johnny Cash's version of Hurt.

I'm with you, JBLETHAL. In some ways, we're all with you on that one, buddy.
posted by dglynn at 9:53 PM on September 28 [11 favorites]


“I ain’t crying. My eyeballs are sweating.”

Good cover, sir. We are all fooled now.
posted by greermahoney at 10:26 PM on September 28 [1 favorite]


"Someone give this man the world!"
posted by acidnova at 10:50 PM on September 28 [1 favorite]


Ok after watching all these reaction videos, one by one I have finally realized that it isn't
"mamma just killed a bird".
I went to
"mamma just killed a man"
to
"mamma, I just killed a man"
(I was born in 1975 and I have probably heard this song at least 500 times.
TIL that Freddie Mercury killed a man.
posted by mephisjo at 11:36 PM on September 28 [8 favorites]


I used to love playing records for my friends for the first time and watching the lights come on.

Yes, that. Especially when it was somebody kind of obscure that I'd just dug out of the record store completely by accident, completely on a whim, for no better reason than liking their cover art, and they turned out to be a monster.
posted by flabdablet at 12:42 AM on September 29 [1 favorite]


The guy from two also did a react to the Wembley Under Pressure. He went from "very first time checking out Queen" to affectionately saying "There's Freddie!" It was a joy to watch.

My dad, who only recently revealed that he has any interest in music, loves Queen. This would have been nice to know when I was 12, but ok. My dad has these weird little pockets of information up in his brain that spill out unexpectedly and that man has an encyclopedic knowledge about the life of Freddie Mercury.
posted by Ruki at 1:46 AM on September 29


I like to tell people he was a Zoroastrian from Zanzibar and see if they believe me.
posted by Segundus at 2:33 AM on September 29 [6 favorites]


Am I monster for being more annoyed by these videos than delighted?

Make a video of your realization, get kids to react to that, then we'll know
posted by Western Infidels at 7:35 AM on September 29 [3 favorites]


God can we just talk a minute about what an incredible guitarist Brian May is?

Luthier, too.
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 7:58 AM on September 29 [4 favorites]


I have remarked before "Wouldn't it be great to be able to hear Bohemian Rhapsody for the first time?" Apparently I'm not the only one.

I was just a kid when it was released. I have a vague recollection of thinking it was something special, but I just didn't have the musical appreciation or musical exposure to understand how special.


I know that feeling. I was a kid when it was released. And I was so moved, I nagged my mom over and over to take me the record store and spend the $10 or o I got for a birthday or something. She drove me down to Licorice Pizza, most memorable to me for the array of dazzling and intricate bongs in the display case under the cash register. I asked the long haired clerk if they had Bohemian Rhapsody, and he went and produced A Night at the Opera for me, where I plunked down my cash as fast as I could and took home the LP. And what an LP to have for a first ever purchase. I have it to this day and still listen to it. I have no doubt what kind of impact Bohemian Rhapsody can have on a new listener.

These first listen videos pop up on my youtube feed sometimes and I find them generally enjoyable, but sometimes kind of sad. Especially when they come from people who love music. Sometimes it's beyond belief that they could have overlooked some of the most iconic music. I was such a voracious consumer of music... sounds, even. I had a small collection of 45s and LPs that were given to me from various sources, friends, family, dumpster. Buying music wasn't a real option for me except in very rare circumstances. We barely had a record player, and a shitty AM/FM radio. One had to actively seek out stuff. Spin the radio dial, pore through the library's collections, and just listen. This day and age of youtube and spotify and torrents, etc, it just blows my mind... is there too much content? Is there not enough credit given to curation? Is it too easy to stay in one's little crap neighborhood? Still?
posted by 2N2222 at 8:20 AM on September 29 [4 favorites]


I have just spent an hour watching these videos--they make me so happy! I love how everyone has the same reaction to when the operatic part starts (reaction: WTF??! followed by: okay, I guess we're on this journey now...) and when the headbangy part drops (reaction: HEADBANGY).

Not a reaction video, but this one of a giant crowd spontaneously singing along to the entirety of Bohemian Rhapsody makes me smile.
posted by lovecrafty at 8:32 AM on September 29 [1 favorite]


This day and age of youtube and spotify and torrents, etc, it just blows my mind... is there too much content?

There's always been too much content. Nobody in the world has ever been able to be completely across all the excellent music played in the world.

What the Internet has certainly done, though, is make it far, far easier for people to stay inside bubbles of stuff that some cheap heuristic masquerading as an algorithm has predicted that they will probably like; and what ubiquitous digital audio workstations have done is make it so easy to churn out kind of slick but basically bland and derivative crap at low cost that the percentage of recorded music that is bland derivative crap has risen from its former 90% to something like 99.9%.

Bohemian Rhapsody hails from a kind of Cambrian Explosion of recorded music that happened after the sixties jacked the user base for psychedelic drugs way higher than it had ever been before. The late sixties and most of the seventies were just crawling with astonishingly competent musicians exploring new ways to hit people right in the feels. What you're hearing when you listen to Queen playing BR is the passion that drives the hundreds of thousands of hours of work it takes to sound that good.

In my view, the rise of drum machines and synths with looping triggered the first great musical extinction event of my lifetime; it made the construction of plausible simulacra of actual music way too easy. Which is not to say that genuine music can't be made with those tools: obviously, plenty has. But the vast bulk of what they emit is not and never was music, and should not be confused with it even as it drowns it inexorably out.
posted by flabdablet at 8:48 AM on September 29 [3 favorites]


Back in high school, a musician I had a crush on got me into his car by telling me I needed to hear a new album called Sheer Heart Attack. This band does hard rock with operatic vocals and intricate arrangements... yeah, he kept explaining all that while I just wanted to enjoy the music on the 8-track. Later on in college (way before Wayne's World), I liked all the Queen songs played on campus radio. My favorite was "Somebody to Love," while "Bohemian Rhapsody" was just another of the many Queen songs I liked. A couple of years ago, my daughter came home from college and shared her phone playlist in the car... and most of the songs were Queen. She makes me proud. And that musician? I eventually married him.
posted by Miss Cellania at 9:52 AM on September 29 [3 favorites]


You know, for those of you who are digging Brian May's stuff on this, I want to introduce you to this (or live).
posted by WCityMike at 10:05 AM on September 29


I am assuming all these guys are pretty familiar with DAWs and recording and singing which was part of the fun of watching them. They have a critical ear and you see their minds getting bent with “How did they do this?”

Guy #1 is tripping out over the harmonies. Guy #2 does a literal double take on the line “put a gun against his head pulled my trigger now he’s dead” which for me was a revelation to put this song in a rap context. I mean, BR is a meditation on violence and being on death row and nothing really mattering 25 years before Tupac. Not that Freddy Mercury really lived that life, but beyond the harmonies and complexity, the subject matter of the song is pretty hardcore and these guys got that on first listen when it probably took me years to appreciate it.

Also, there are lots of example in classical Opera where people are singing about the hopelessness of life and their situations, and confronting their mortality which I’ve always assumed was what inspired Mercury’s famous interlude. Connecting these ideas in popular entertainment all the way to modern hip hop is a pretty amazing mind trip.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 10:10 AM on September 29 [8 favorites]


I like to tell people he was a Zoroastrian from Zanzibar and see if they believe me.


Now you’re just talking Dr. Seuss nonsense.

God can we just talk a minute about what an incredible guitarist Brian May is?

Luthier, too
.

Don’t forget astrophysicist.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 10:23 AM on September 29 [1 favorite]


In my view, the rise of drum machines and synths with looping triggered the first great musical extinction event of my lifetime; it made the construction of plausible simulacra of actual music way too easy. Which is not to say that genuine music can't be made with those tools: obviously, plenty has. But the vast bulk of what they emit is not and never was music, and should not be confused with it even as it drowns it inexorably out.

musical extinction event? there is more good music out there now than ever before because there's more music than ever before, it's literally just a pure numbers game. people said this about the psychedelic shit you love too, people said this about the electric guitar, people said this about amplification, people who listen to nothing but trap music right now are already saying this about soundcloud rap, and the kids growing up on soundcloud rap will say this about the next big thing. time marches on. maybe it's just not for you and it's fine. it's still music. music is music. the democratization of music is awesome, you're just out of touch.
posted by JimBennett at 11:04 AM on September 29 [11 favorites]


You kids get off my lawn.
posted by flabdablet at 11:46 AM on September 29 [1 favorite]


musical extinction event? there is more good music out there now than ever before because there's more music than ever before, it's literally just a pure numbers game. people said this about the psychedelic shit you love too, people said this about the electric guitar, people said this about amplification, people who listen to nothing but trap music right now are already saying this about soundcloud rap, and the kids growing up on soundcloud rap will say this about the next big thing. time marches on. maybe it's just not for you and it's fine. it's still music. music is music. the democratization of music is awesome, you're just out of touch.

This is it. The difference, I think, is the point I was trying to make, that of curation. I grew up in an era when Bohemian Rhapsody got airplay on AM radio. Along side pop ballads, RnB, bubblegum, etc. On the same station. Within the same hour. The state of broadcasting was just that: broad. Despite the crappiness that made it into popular music, believe it or not, the cream really did manage to make it to the top pretty often. Right next to the crap. Broadcasting changed. And media consumption further narrowed in the internet era, where it's entirely possible to live in a kind of bubble where one's exposure is more narrow than ever. This isn't necessarily a bad thing, but it does create an environment where exposure to different content is difficult, if you don't know it's out there. Today's technology ensures that more is out there than ever before. It's probably the best time to be alive for the music enthusiast.
posted by 2N2222 at 11:58 AM on September 29 [3 favorites]


Freddie went home and felt bad and wanted to apologize to him in some dramatic way - so he stayed up all night collecting all of Brian May's guitar solos and splicing them all together into this mega-tape of nothing but Brian May guitar. He gave Brian the tape the next day saying something like "I wanted you to hear this the way I do; they're all fab, so I turned them into a symphony

OMG I can't even imagine how great it would be to hear Freddy Mercury's "Brian May Symphony." I almost feel like it was cruel to tell us about it.
posted by straight at 12:06 PM on September 29 [3 favorites]


The state of broadcasting was just that: broad.

Yes indeed.

But at least in Melbourne Australia, a sharp and apparently irreversible decline in the curation quality of commercial popular music radio was already becoming noticeable by the mid to late 70s. Disappointment with that increasingly homogenized blandness was largely what provided the motivating force for volunteer teams to set up 3RMT FM, quickly followed by PBS FM - which remains among the best sources of out-of-bubble music I know of to this day.
posted by flabdablet at 1:12 PM on September 29


What I love most about the first reaction video is when he perks his ears up and says "Wait, are they saying 'Bismillah' (﷽)??"

Yes, dude. Yes they were!
posted by rum-soaked space hobo at 1:41 PM on September 29 [4 favorites]


I do feel a bit like The Dadliest Catch telling kids to "come listen to some real music", but this is just fun. I like TooFunnyTerrell, who went from a couple of weeks ago, vaguely remembering Queen from a Rock Band game, to losing his shit at the Live Aid concert and excitedly recognising songs as they start.
posted by lucidium at 1:48 PM on September 29


What? What?

It’s not about an actual murder, it’s a coming out song.

The “man” Freddy kills is the presumption of his heterosexuality. He wrestles in agony with either actual suicide or removing his facade because he can’t live the lie anymore. He’s judged by the society of the era and cannot get the same freedom a cishet guy would.

And so on.
posted by seanmpuckett at 2:59 PM on September 29 [3 favorites]


No, it’s about that time he literally shot that guy in the head.

Oh, wait. Maybe there’s multiple layers of meaning. I think the clue could be the opening line to the song.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 4:27 PM on September 29 [4 favorites]


My 2 year old daughter was watching one of the reaction videos over my shoulder and started nodding and shimmying along. Then when the kaleidoscopic effect showed up in the music video, with the members of the band multiplied on the screen, she shouted "THERE'S SO MANY!!" And started dancing and headbanging when the rockin-out-with-guitars bit started.

I want to do my own series of "Mabel Reacts" videos now, but since we guard her digital privacy pretty carefully, I'd need to hang onto them until she's older and can meaningfully consent to posting the videos online. By then, the kids who grew up with reaction videos will view her decade-plus-old reaction videos as a piece of meta nostalgia.

And that's how you win the Internet.
posted by duffell at 4:54 PM on September 29 [8 favorites]


Re: Brian May and pure joy, I'll always remember the feeling I had when I played Don't Stop Me Now for the first time with some new-to-me musicians, we hit the solo and the guitar player clicked something on his pedal board and suddenly he had BRIAN MAY'S SOUND.

It was like being shocked by happy lightning, I almost vaulted out from behind the drums to hug him.

apparently it's not a complicated sound to achieve if you know the ways of pedals and stuff.
posted by Sauce Trough at 7:23 PM on September 29 [3 favorites]


TIL the bell tones behind "sends shivers down my spine" was produced by Brian May "playing the strings of his guitar on the other side of the bridge" rather than percussion by Roger Taylor, as I always assumed.
(Wikipedia)
posted by cheshyre at 8:26 AM on September 30 [1 favorite]


I can't really even remember the first time I heard it.

Unlike many posters here, I know exactly when I heard it the first time. Thanks to a sheltered, evangelical upbringing I was introduced to Bohemian Rhapsody at the age of 16 by... Mountain Dew.

It was actually around this time that I realized I really needed to bone up on my musical knowledge, and made a serious effort to seek out and listen to more music. I'm better now, and making sure my kids grow up with a better appreciation for music than I had at their age.
posted by Mr.Encyclopedia at 5:49 PM on October 1


ha! I remember that commercial! although I think my first time hearing it was actually Wayne's World, but just that scene, not the whole movie. and then I think I saw the full video for the very first time on VH1.
posted by numaner at 10:57 PM on October 1


I definitely recall learning that the song from the commercial was actually a parody and finding that information new and novel. I won't say I never heard Bohemian Rhapsody before that commercial but it certainly had never penetrated my consciousness.
posted by Mr.Encyclopedia at 11:21 AM on October 2


One, hell yeah I'll go down this rabbithole with you, great post.

Two, I really liked this guy King KTF, talking about the music video during the Brian May solo before the opera section: "I love how everybody just so chill. Y'know, just another day, being great."
posted by Errant at 4:52 PM on October 2 [2 favorites]


I just told my co-workers that "if you're looking for a quick pick-me-up, do a search for this genre on Youtube", and two minutes later my boss said he couldn't remember if he'd seen the video and now it's playing in the office and I am monitoring him closely, will report back
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:45 AM on October 3 [1 favorite]


(confirmed boss headbanging) :-)
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:46 AM on October 3 [2 favorites]


I don't know how I missed this thread the first time around, but I did. I just watched the first reaction video and smiled and sniffled through the whole thing. Then read the comments here and sniffled a little more until I got to mephisjo's comment, which made me laugh out loud.

I'm so excited for the Freddie Mercury movie I cannot wait. I've been listening to Queen songs for the last few weeks in anticipation. I'm not usually an opening night movie person but I'm seriously thinking of going to that on opening night!
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 11:36 AM on October 25 [1 favorite]


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