Published Date: 30 September 2008
Seventeen years after Freddie Mercury's death, Queen have just released a new album with Free frontman Paul Rodgers. Their European tour comes to Scotland next month. It's all very exciting.
Dear Paul Rodgers, Brian May and Roger Taylor
So chaps, how did last night's gig at Zurich Hallenstadion go? Did you have the whole house rocking? Did you have the whole town rocking, in fact, to the mighty mighty power of rock'n'roll? Did all of your Swiss fans dance out of the door, dance into the street, all the people swaying to the musical beat? Did you rock down the road and down to the town, where all the people stared and smiled and got down? Did a policeman say "stop this noise!" before the beat took him over and he became one of the boys?
Ha ha! I am, as you have probably spotted, paraphrasing the lyrics of Cosmos Rockin', the blistering opening number from your long-awaited new album, The Cosmos Rocks, a collection of brand new Queen songs that have enhanced the band's reputation in much the same way as your duet with the boy band Five, the critically acclaimed musical We Will Rock You, and Too Much Love Will Kill You, Brian May's touching and sensitively titled tribute to Freddie Mercury, following his death from Aids in 1991.
It really is a splendid album, chaps. I'm particularly enjoying C-Lebrity, your wittily titled critique of celebrity culture. "I can't sing or dance at all. Some may say I'm lackadaisical, and if I was real good I'd stand no chance at all. I want to be a face on TV. Then you can see I'm a c-lebrity." That song will certainly give the likes of Jade Goody and Victoria Beckham something to think about. It's about time someone pointed out that celebrities aren't all they're cut out to be. I mean, some of them are just famous for being famous!
I'm also a big fan of Warboys, a devastating anti-war protest song. "Their language is the language of the bullet and the gun," as Paul Rodgers sings, laying into the Warboys of the title, his voice full of heartfelt anger and passion. "If you can see them coming, baby, better run."
For me, it's a powerful companion piece to Status Quo's In the Army Now and Zombie by The Cranberries , and has certainly made me think about war in a different way. I was particularly moved by the verse where Paul sings "Warboys, warboys, children and their toys, Warboys, warboys, make lot a noise, Warboys, when the lightning explodes, I pray for your soul." Soldiers do make a lot of noise, don't they, with all those tanks and guns? But the most powerful lines are in the closing verse, where Paul reminds us that, even though it's the soldiers who do all the killing in wars, the army is not entirely to blame – no, we must never forget that it's people higher up the chain of power that make the decisions about whether wars happen or not. The soldiers, as Paul points out, are ultimately just "helping to kill, those who deserve to die. Tell me who decides. You and I. We have the power."
That's right, we do have the power. And if we choose to use that power for good, we can do something to stop those evil Warboys from starting all those wars and killing all those people and making all that noise. I'm guessing that using our power might have something to do with spreading the word about songs like Warboys, but I'm going to come along to your gig in Glasgow on 11 October, where I look forward to hearing what else I can do about the Warboys and their noise.
My favourite song, though, is probably Surf's Up… School's Out. I can't think of any other band who'd think of putting those two classic rock phrases in the same song. That old Queen magic is still there! And it's a song that has a message too. "For a perfect life, find a perfect girl. You gotta follow that dream to a perfect world," sings Paul Rodgers. I'm sure Freddie Mercury would fully endorse that sentiment.
The song also contains the kind of inspiring insights into life's brutal truths that only men approaching pension age would have the wisdom and life experience to come up with. "In the town and the country/ We all lay and dreamed our dreams, Then we found the world is tough/ And all is not quite what it seems." Surely everyone can empathise with that. Especially if you've run into one of those Warboys at some point along the way.
Anyway, Paul, Brian and Roger, I just wanted to write and say that it's fantastic that you're still rocking the cosmos after all these years. I'm sure everyone will agree that Paul is a worthy addition to the band's line-up, and could soon even – dare I say it? – eclipse memories of Freddie Mercury. The new songs are definitely up there with Bohemian Rhapsody.
Somewhere up there, Freddie is looking down on you and humming along to your new album – perhaps, even now, he's singing the words to the poignant Say It's Not True: "Say it's not true. You can say it's not right. It's hard to believe/ The size of the crime." http://news.scotsman.com/entertainment/An-open-letter-to-Queen.4539676.jp
The full article contains 906 words and appears in The Scotsman newspaper.
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* Last Updated: 29 September 2008 8:24 PM
* Source: The Scotsman
* Location: Edinburgh
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