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Top Ten Queen Videos September 12, 2011

Filed under: lists,Queen — yourbirdcansing88 @ 2:26 AM
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Okay, so I know I’m a day (or two) late.  It was hard work narrowing down so many awesome videos to the ten best, not to mention putting them in order.  But here it is, the top ten Queen videos.

10.  “It’s a Hard Life” (The Works, 1984)

We start off here with a video that is inexplicable and camp-tacular (even by Queen’s standards).  This may not be the band’s most popular video (in fact, at least one or two of the band’s members openly despise this video), but in my personal opinion, its weirdness is what makes it so charming.  Looking like the mutant love child of a Shakespeare comedy and that one scene from Labyrinth, we see Freddie Mercury prancing around in what is almost certainly the weirdest outfit he’s ever worn (and for a man who’s not exactly known for dressing conservatively, that’s really saying something) and wearing a really strange wig in some scenes for no apparent reason, and Brian May playing a wicked solo on a skull.  Also, look closely for John Deacon walking around with his noble steed, a stuffed unicorn head on a long wooden stick.

9.  “The Invisible Man” (The Miracle, 1989)

There’s only one thing that pisses me off about this video, and that’s this:  no matter how much time I waste playing video games, not once have I ever gotten to the point where Queen emerge from my closet and dance around my room.  Talk about false advertising!  The kid in this video is basically the luckiest kid ever (the only possible exceptions being the kids in the video for “The Miracle”).  He even gets to wear John Deacon’s badass cowboy hat.  Lucky!  And yes, the song sounds eerily similar to the theme from Ghostbusters.  Let us speak no more of this.

8.  “Liar” (Queen, 1973)

If you need any more convincing that “Bohemian Rhapsody” was not, as is sometimes falsely claimed, the first music video ever, at least know this:  it wasn’t even Queen’s first.  “Liar” stands out from most of the videos in this list in that it is a simple performance video.  There’s no storyline, no characters outside of the band, nothing but the band performing on a brightly lighted stage that probably isn’t in front of a real audience.  Even the outfits are pretty low-key for a band that could have been considered part of the “glam rock” scene that was emerging in England around that time.  Still, stripped of the gimmicks they’d come to be known for both onstage and onscreen, Queen have an undeniably magnetic stage presence.  Despite its length of six and a half minutes and its simplicity, the video for “Liar” never bores.

7.  “Princes of the Universe” (A Kind of Magic, 1985)

Don’t ask me why, but movie tie-in music videos generally annoy me, especially when the totally awesome song was written for a possibly-not-so-awesome movie, thereby making it so that there isn’t a non-movie-tie-in version of the video that I can watch instead.  However, I’m going to make an exception for “Princes of the Universe,” a song that was written for Highlander and which, to my knowledge, doesn’t have a video that leaves out all those movie clips.  I haven’t even seen Highlander (but I do want to, for precisely three reasons, the Queen-filled soundtrack being one of them.  The other two, by the way, are Clancy Brown and kilts.  But mostly Clancy Brown).  Doesn’t matter.  The fact is, movie tie-in or not, this is one of the most epic music videos ever.  If anything, the connection with the movie makes the video all the more epic, because of the way it includes the band in the action of the movie, placing the band in the same setting as what I’m guessing is a pretty important scene in the movie.  There’s even a brief moment of interaction between Freddie and the film’s hero.  If that’s not epic, I don’t know what is.  As an added bonus, I don’t think anyone ever looked cooler with the wind blowing through his hair than Brian May.

6.  “Save Me” (The Game, 1980)

The video for “Save Me” is as gorgeous and moving as the tender love song it illustrates.  Half live-action performance video, and half animated narrative, this is perhaps Queen’s most beautiful video.  I’m at a loss to describe this video further than the fact that it features a dove motif (I’m a sucker for bird symbolism.  Actually, I’m a sucker for birds in general), so I’ll say no more about it and let the video speak for itself.

5.  “Bohemian Rhapsody” (A Night at the Opera, 1975)

Seriously, did you think I’d be able to list the top ten Queen videos without including this song?  While not my favorite Queen video by a long-shot (though still, within the spectrum of music videos in general, it ranks pretty darn high), “Bohemian Rhapsody” is undoubtedly the most influential, to the point that some people are still under the impression that it was the first music video ever.  If you’ve been paying attention to this blog (or even to this particular post), you’ll know this assumption to be false, yet the very fact that this is a widely-held belief shows how much of an impact the “Bohemian Rhapsody” has had on the history of music and the art of music video.  And perhaps, while not the first music video ever made (remember, Bob Dylan had 10 years on them), it may be one of the first music videos that truly mattered; that proved that the music video was an art form in and of itself and not just a creative way to promote a record.

4.  “Crazy Little Thing Called Love” (The Game, 1979)

When I showed a friend of mine this video about a month ago, her response was that it was “like a bisexual version of Grease.”  I couldn’t have described it better myself, but I’ll try:  to me, this is one of the all-time sexiest videos ever.  Sure, it’s kinda goofy and looks like it was made on a budget of $150 and maybe a blowjob here and there, but that doesn’t matter.  Why?  Because…Freddie Mercury.  Leather.  Superfluous close-up of Freddie’s leather-clad ass.  Brian May in awesome shades.   Freddie Mercury getting his shirt ripped off by his co-ed posse of backup dancers.  Roger Taylor without a shirt.  Freddie Mercury doing what could be described as pole-dancing.  Oh, and did I mention Freddie flippin’ Mercury?  As a side note, is it just me, or does Freddie kind of look like Jakob Dylan in this video?

3.  “One Vision” (A Kind of Magic, 1985)

Okay, this one starts out a little weird, with the warped voices and the wobbly still from the “Bohemian Rhapsody” video, but once you get past that, this is one fun video.  Filmed around the same time as the band’s legendary performance at Live Aid (note the logo on Brian May’s white t-shirt), the video shows the band recording the song and having one heck of a fun time in the process.  I get the impression that someone decided to put cameras in the studio, start recording, and just let the band do whatever the heck they felt like.  Turns out, they’re really silly boys.  Also, Brian really should have worn black tank tops more often.  Because of the sexy.

2.  “I’m Going Slightly Mad” (Innuendo, 1991)

The video for “I’m Going Slightly Mad” is delightful.  More delightful, in fact, than it has any right to be, considering the tragic reality surrounding both the song and the video.  Released mere months before his death, Freddie Mercury wrote this song about his experience with AIDS-induced dementia.  By the time the video was filmed, the singer’s illness necessitated the use of heavy makeup and black-and-white film to disguise his condition.  This same use of makeup and monochrome, however, is part of what makes this video so charming and quirky, which only makes it more tragic when one remembers that all that charm and quirk are coming from a man who’s months away from his death bed, and knows it.  In spite of all that, however, this video made me laugh the first time I saw it, and continues to make me smile.  It’s heartwarming to know that Freddie could still act goofy and irreverent even as his life was coming to a close.  This, along with all the weird goings-on in this video — Freddie’s banana wig, John Deacon as an unenthusiastic jester, and let’s not forget REAL LIVE PENGUINS (!!) along with Brian May in a penguin suit — make this one of my very favorites.

1.  “I Want to Break Free” (The Works, 1984)

This is by far the greatest Queen video of all time.  For lots of reasons, but if for nothing else, for the cross-dressing.  Which is apparently a reference to a long-running British soap opera called Coronation Street.  Which I’ve never seen, but I believe it.  What I don’t believe is that this video is actually marked as “age-restricted” on YouTube.  What the hell, YouTube?  Buncha homophobes need to get the hell over themselves.  They’re the ones who’ll have a bad influence on the children.  But anyway, enjoy the video.  Unless you’re one of those homophobes.  If you are, get your ignorant ass off of my blog and never darken my door again.

Bonus:  “The Great Pretender”(1987)

And here’s a little something from Freddie’s solo career:  his take on a classic by doo-wop group The Platters.  Features clips and re-enactments of his previous videos as both a member of Queen and as a solo artist, some of which are on this very list.  But mostly I decided to put this here because of the cross-dressing.  ‘Cause I’m kinda into that.  And because this video not only gives us a chance to see Freddie in drag once again, but also Roger Taylor.  And there was much rejoicing (coming from me, anyway).

 

Tomorrow I’ll Post Something Awesome, You’ll See… September 9, 2011

Filed under: Queen — yourbirdcansing88 @ 10:47 PM
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So once again, I didn’t have enough time to prepare anything special for today’s post, but I’ve gotten an early start on what I plan to post tomorrow, a list of the top 10 Queen videos.  Right now I’m in the process of watching all their videos (that I can find, anyway) so I can eventually narrow down to the top ten I think are the best.  For today, though, I’m putting up a video that — while good — will not be put on the list, primarily because an unfortunate personal experience prevents me from viewing this video objectively.  That video is “The Miracle”, which is quite a charming and warm-fuzzy-feeling-inducing video in and of itself.  That being said, I had the misfortune of not knowing from the get-go that the Queen look-alikes in the vid were all boys no older than early teens.  The first time I saw the video, at the very beginning I thought the “Freddie” was an attractive young woman in drag, only to realize my mistake a few seconds later…so…yeah.  Not fun.  I can’t really watch this video now without thinking about how for a split-second I was attracted to this 13-year-old boy, but that doesn’t mean the rest of you can’t enjoy the video for what it is.  So I’m posting it here now for your viewing pleasure, since I’d imagine the video won’t have the same effect on anyone who knows what I didn’t know when I first saw it.  Just don’t make me watch it again.  I’ll have plenty of awesome videos to show you tomorrow.  Just give me time to narrow down the videos and tend to my mental wounds.

 

If MTV does something relevant to my tastes, and I’m not around to hear it, does it make a proverb? September 7, 2011

Filed under: Lady Gaga,Queen,Rants and Raves — yourbirdcansing88 @ 11:46 PM
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So…the VMAs were last week.  I didn’t watch it, ’cause I find music awards to be a bit of a disappointment (well, ever since my ill-fated attempt to get a thrill out of the Grammys in 2009), and anyway, the list of musical guests was less than spectacular (Lady Gaga alone was not reason to sit through something that actually paid host to Chris Brown, especially since the last few Gaga hits failed to get more than a lukewarm reaction from me).  And in the aftermath of this year’s VMAs, the most highly publicized moments that the press reported repeatedly in excruciating detail as if it were actually something monumental, merely served as evidence that I hadn’t missed anything.  Blah-blah-blah-Gaga-in-drag (somewhat interesting, but not especially remarkable or surprising), blah-blah-blah-Beyoncé’s-harboring-a-uterine-parasite-precious-little-bundle-of-genetically-unique-cells (like that’s nothing any of our mothers have ever done), etc.  So of course, it wasn’t until Saturday afternoon that a relative of mine, who evidently had sat through the show, casually mentioned to me that Brian May made a surprise appearance during Lady Gaga’s performance.

I’ll repeat that in case you didn’t catch that…BRIAN goddamn MAY appeared at this year’s VMAs.  Of all the “outrageous” things that went on at the VMAs this year that were worth publicizing, and somehow some popstar brat who’s never been born (no offense to Beyoncé, it’s just that the media needs to quit making pregnancy seem like some new phenomenon) got more attention than freakin’ Brian May.  Whose band was instrumental in popularizing (though not inventing, counter to popular belief) the music video format which made stations like MTV possible.  Who had such an influence on Lady Gaga that she took her freakin’ stage name from one of Queen’s songs.  So yeah, Brian May is KIND OF A BIG DEAL, even to MTV watchers and Lady Gaga fans, whether they’ve heard of them or not (though it boggles the mind that a Lady Gaga fan would not at least be aware of Queen, considering her namesake is no secret.  And as for MTV’s current audience…geez, kids these days).  But it’s the post-VMAs press that flabbergasts me.  I mean, you’d think nothing truly impressing happened this year the way they went on about a would-be drag king and a flippin’ fetus.

But then, to put everything into perspective, most of Lady Gaga’s backup dancers that night had probably never shared the stage with such an outrageous singer.  Brian, on the other hand…

Oh, so here’s the video of Lady Gaga (as her male alter-ego Jo Calderone) and Brian May’s performance at the VMAs.  And if you ask me, “You and I” is a massive improvement over the suspiciously Madonna-esque “Born This Way” and the relatively forgettable “Judas.”  This video also confirms something I’ve been suspicious of for a long time:  Dave Grohl is a geek just like the rest of us.

 

 

So I’ve decided to make this week a themed week, ‘Cause why not? September 6, 2011

Filed under: Queen — yourbirdcansing88 @ 9:24 PM
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And this week’s theme is Queen (yipes.  Try saying that five times fast).  For various reasons, the most obvious being that yesterday was Freddie Mercury’s birthday, but also because this year marks a number of other important anniversaries regarding Queen, including the 40th anniversary of the band’s genesis, and the 20th anniversary of Freddie Mercury’s death (*sob*).  And also because I’ve been meaning to geek about Queen on this blog for the last month or so, as I’ve recently become über obsessed with the band (I’ve been a big Queen fan for most of my life, but until now I was only really aware of some of their more well-known material.  And now I’ve got their first four albums on CD.  With BONUS DISCS!).  So yeah, this week, I celebrate my love for Queen.

So Google did something kinda awesome for Freddie’s birthday yesterday:

My favorite part is around 1:15, because if anyone ever had adorable mustachioed bicycle-riding bears in their royal menagerie, Freddie would have.

 

It’s a very special someone’s birthday today…

Filed under: Queen — yourbirdcansing88 @ 12:50 AM
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I know it’s a bit late in the day to be announcing this, but today (okay, yesterday, by the time this is posted), September 5, 2011, is the sixty-fifth birthday of a rock ‘n’ roll legend.  The man I speak of is quite possibly the greatest rock vocalist of all time, a charismatic performer, and the man I voted prom queen back in 2007 (true story).

I am talking, of course, of the late great Farrokh Bulsara, better known as Freddie Mercury.

Happy Birthday, Freddie!

 Freddie rose to fame in the mid-1970s as the frontman of Queen, one of the biggest rock bands of all time, who remained active up until the singer’s untimely death from AIDS in 1991 (yeah, maybe Freddie’s former bandmates Brian May and Roger Taylor may have re-united under the name Queen and toured with that guy from Bad Company and Free a few years, but I tend not to acknowledge that whole…thing).  The group’s ecclectic array of musical style owes much to Mercury’s songwriting, which draws inspiration from diverse genres ranging from opera to ragtime to old-fashioned rock ‘n’ roll (apparently, there are those who are still fooled into thinking “Crazy Little Thing Called Love” is an Elvis song, despite being recorded after Presley’s death).  With Freddie’s help, Queen stole the show at the already star-studded Live Aid concert in 1985 (to give you an idea of how big a deal this is, they shared a bill with Bono, David Bowie, and Paul McCartney.  That’s right.  They upstaged a freakin’ Beatle).  Other instances of badassery in Freddie Mercury’s career and posthumous legacy include providing the soundtrack to two films (the film adaptation of Flash Gordon and the first Highlander movie.  At least one of these soundtracks was almost certainly better than the film itself), collaborating with Spanish opera singer Montserrat Caballé, having a statue of his likeness erected in Switzerland, and did I mention he was voted prom queen by yours truly at the senior prom (okay, but I didn’t tell you that I also spent most of the dinner course at said prom singing “Bohemian Rhapsody” into my fork, now did I)?