Forums > Queen - Serious Discussion > Song Appreciation Thread - "Drowse"

forum rss feed
Author

Lester Burnham user not visiting Queenzone.com

Deity: 5870 posts
add to buddy list send PM

Posted: 03 Nov 05, 22:47 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

In an attempt to jump-kick the Serious Discussion area of this board, I am going to start a weekly thread in which we discuss a song that may have been forgotten in time, or something that we have always loved but never realized how truly brilliant it is.

For the inaugural post, I am going to start with 'Drowse', written by the oft-underrated Roger Meddows-Taylor.

A Day At The Races is a special album for most fans - personally, I rate it as my favorite Queen album, along with Queen II - but we often only think of the hits: 'Somebody To Love' and 'Tie Your Mother Down', most definitely, and even 'Good Old Fashioned Lover Boy'. We often praise Brian for writing some truly awesome guitar riffs, or Freddie for creating some of the most jaw-dropping arrangements for his songs. But we often overlook Roger as a lyricist and arranger.

I know for years that I never regarded Roger as a strong songwriter, and with tracks like 'Fun It', 'More Of That Jazz', and 'Coming Soon', can you really blame me? However, I knew as soon as 'Good Old Fashioned Lover Boy' ended upon first listening to this album that I was in for something special.

From the opening, mournful slide guitar riff and a very muddy production, we are introduced to a more somber, sobering moment of Roger's mind, something he would rarely return to. We always think of Roger as the archetypical rocker: sex, drugs, and rock 'n' roll. He is a drummer, after all, and they are often, by definition, the wild men of the bunch. Strangely, Roger drops character and becomes introspective, thinking back to the days when being a child was so much easier. It's a theme he would later explore in 'These Are The Days Of Our Lives', nearly fifteen years later.

"It's the sad eyed goodbye yesterday's moments I remember," he starts off, as a veritable chorus of Rogers almost pummels the listener. He recalls the "bleak street, weak kneed partings"; "the mistier mists," and "the hazier days". He laments for the "fantastic drowse of the afternoon Sundays," even if they "bore you to rages of tears". There isn't a hint of joyfulness in his voice - certainly a far cry from the passionate 'I'm In Love With My Car' from the year before - but the emotion is all the more apparent with each passing verse.

He concludes with what may just be my favorite verse ever coined by anybody: "Thinking it right, doing it wrong, It's easier from an arm chair. Waves of alternatives wash over my sleepiness; have my eggs poached for breakfast, I guess." Nothing better sums up the whole attitude of the song than that final line, and the delivery of the last two words makes me smile; it almost sounds as if Roger couldn't care how his eggs turn out, and he would eat them all the same if they were scrambled or over easy.

Instrumentally, the song is a triumph, if only for Brian's exemplary slide guitar work (this makes me wish he played more slide guitar on Queen songs). However, Roger creates a terrific backing of rhythm guitar and drums, which, upon first listen, almost seem to plod along, but when we dive further into the lyric he is singing, the almost lackadasical sound is intentional, and works wonders. The star of the show here is Roger, and it's very obvious that Freddie wasn't allowed anywhere near this track. Quite honestly, and call me a heretic if you so desire, I prefer it this way.

Boy Thomas Raker user not visiting Queenzone.com

Bohemian: 969 posts
add to buddy list send PM

Posted: 03 Nov 05, 23:26 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Great stuff Lester. Can't add much except for two things. First, there seems to be an apparent lack of a snare drum presence thoughout the song, something I never noticed until this year. I think it adds to the the down/beat element, along with the washed out production. And my favourite lines are "and half of the time/we broadened our minds/more, in the pool hall/than we did in the school hall." If Springsteen or Dylan wrote that stanza, Rolling Stone would be cumming all over themselves about how the American poet laureates of rock have captured the essence of misspent youth in a song. Then "never wanted to be the boy next door/always thought I'd be, something more" just slays me. Again, it's how he sings the final two words, and the air of resignation in his voice. I loved the Roger and Brian vocal tracks, and I think it detracted from my enjoyment of the later Queen albums when Freddie sang pretty much everything. Freddie was the voice, but those guys were awesome in their own right.


You know, good times are now.
Wiley user not visiting Queenzone.com

Royalty: 1704 posts
add to buddy list send PM

Posted: 04 Nov 05, 00:42 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

I just LOVE Drowse! My first two Queen albums (apart from my parent's GH1 tape) were ADATR and Hot Space in their old HR 1991 editions. The booklets are very worn out because I used to listen to the albums and read the lyrics every day.

The song is so nostalgic. I remember being obsessed with that song and playing it to death when I was 12, around 1993. I had just moved from my home town to Guadalajara and was starting classes in a new school, full of new people. I remember singing the song very quietly for myself when I was writing or reading and another boy heard me and was amused by how I sang the "more in the POOL HALL..." part. He said it sounded funny and I had to agree, we laughed for a while.

I remember feeling nostalgic listening to that song, remembering my early childhood and almost refusing to grow older. Now, here I am, 24 years old but I don't feel very different. I still listen to it and I feel even more nostalgic. I can't help but smile when I listen that song.

Before the 2005 tour began I posted in a thread that, although it was almost impossible that they would play Drowse, I thought it would be cool for a first encore. Audience cheering for encore and we just see Roger coming to the front of the stage, making some nostalgic comments and singing the song with the crowd joining in.

I didn't think it would be feasable but now I see they played I Was born to love you in an acustic version in the encore for the Japan gigs. That's exactly what I had imagined for Drowse. A very intimate and charming moment, for the nostalgic bunch of hardcore fans. :)

Great song... I love it!

Wiley

boy of destiny user not visiting Queenzone.com

Bohemian: 214 posts
add to buddy list send PM

Posted: 04 Nov 05, 02:00 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

I love Drowse too. Don't really have much to say, but the song just has a great laid-back feel to it.

Daburcor? user not visiting Queenzone.com
Daburcor?
Deity: 9478 posts
add to buddy list send PM

Posted: 04 Nov 05, 03:28 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

I admit it wasn't one of my favorite songs on first listen, but could never figure out why so many people hated it so much. I've thought the lyrics were great, and very clever. Also, the guitar on it is wonderful, not to mention Roger's vocals.


"Elton John and I became really good friends. I don't mean 'good friends' in that sense. I just mean we slept together." -Billy Joel
liam user not visiting Queenzone.com

Bohemian: 596 posts
add to buddy list send PM

Posted: 04 Nov 05, 04:18 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

yeh i love this song. along with im in love with my car its rigers best.


Go, Go, Go, little queenie!!
August R. user not visiting Queenzone.com

Bohemian: 561 posts
add to buddy list send PM

Posted: 04 Nov 05, 05:08 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

One of my favourites. Remember loving it right from the start. The first time I heard that slide guitar, I knew it was a great song. But then again, I tend to like Roger's songs anyway. Great lyrics and and they really fit to the music.

I love the ending, too. Somehow the final lyrics remind me of the ending on Dear Diary (by The Moody Blues) "It's been quite a nice day... somebody exploded an H-bomb today, afraid it wasn't anybody I knew" There's definately a similar feeling in these songs. Both have very intimate, reflective lyrics.

its_a_hard_life user not visiting Queenzone.com

Bohemian: 949 posts
add to buddy list send PM

Posted: 04 Nov 05, 06:53 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

liam wrote:

yeh i love this song. along with im in love with my car its rigers best.


Yeah there great songs...


"I'm a greedy bitch" - Freddie Mercury

REST IN PEACE FREDDIE MERCURY!!
Daveboy35 user not visiting Queenzone.com

Bohemian: 619 posts
add to buddy list send PM

Posted: 04 Nov 05, 07:59 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Great song of a great album agree with all other posts about brian's slide guitar and roger's witty and downtrodden lyrics, i just hope that when they finally finish sifting thru the archives????????????????????????( not holding my breath!!!!!) we may have another track or one in a similar vein.


Yes we'll keep on tryin

we'll tread that fine line

oh oh we'll keep on tryin

till the end of time

till the end of time.



escuderodelareina user not visiting Queenzone.com
escuderodelareina
Bohemian: 231 posts
add to buddy list send PM

Posted: 04 Nov 05, 09:50 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

"Drowse", ONE OF THE BEST COMPOSITIONS OF ROGER.


the logical one is good to think, but it does not to live
Brandon user not visiting Queenzone.com

Royalty: 1803 posts
add to buddy list send PM

Posted: 04 Nov 05, 11:18 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

I couldn't agree more. In my opinion, Roger was the most consitent member of Queen. He rarely swayed from his songwriting peak and never wrote a truly bad song.
Having said that, I really think this and "Tenement Funster" are my two favorite Roger songs.
As has already been mentioned, the lyrics are incredibly strong and inventive. Roger has a unique ability to place together ideas that, at first don't seem to fit.
And the music itself, God, how creative. The song sucks you in and refuses to let go. If there's one thing that can be said about Queen is that the band created very visual music and this is a prime example.
Great topic, BTW.

kagezan1313 user not visiting Queenzone.com
kagezan1313
Bohemian: 940 posts
add to buddy list send PM

Posted: 04 Nov 05, 13:06 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Drowse is the embodiment of nostalgia in the Queen catalogue, as far as I'm concerned, even more so than TATDOOL, also a Roger creation. The even thumping rhythm of the drums, the slide guitar, and the perfect lyrics make this one of my favourites from Queen. I was never really a fan of Roger's early work, being a Freddie freak, but he really nailed it with this one. Its use in the Magic Years video, as the band flies to America to tour, also adds to the flavour of a "good old days" song. I've always been astounded that it wasn't released as a single, since I often think that there's no Queen song I'd rather hear come on the classic rock radio than Drowse, while I'm kicking back on a Saturday. Truly a rock masterpiece.


Thank you, God bless you, sweet dreams you lot of tarts, Good-bye!
Zander05 user not visiting Queenzone.com
Zander05
Bohemian: 860 posts
add to buddy list send PM

Posted: 04 Nov 05, 14:31 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Roger's songs always tell a story in some form or another. Drowse has to be the best. I have no idea what it is, but I really like songs that tell how nobody did anything really special. Just normal kids doing normal things. Life is just incredibly dull and boring and I really like that. Roger hasn't ever really lied about life and how some struggle through it and soldier on even though their jobs may suck, their homes may be a shambles, they're completely and utterly alone, etc. It's not like "me and my friends did all sorts of really cool, crazy shit growing up. Quite frankly, I'm amazed I'm alive and/or not in prison!"

I totally agree with Lester in saying "I'm glad Freddie didn't touch this." Freddie's voice is capable of fantastic things and he is great at getting emotions across, but he wouldn't do Drowse justice.

All I Hear Is Radio Gaga user not visiting Queenzone.com

Royalty: 1181 posts
add to buddy list send PM

Posted: 04 Nov 05, 16:31 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

I love that song, it has such a catchy tune. I think it's one of Roger's better.


"Take The First Step In Faith, You Don't Have To See The Whole Staircase, Just Take The First Step."
inthelapofthegods user not visiting Queenzone.com

Bohemian: 271 posts
add to buddy list send PM

Posted: 04 Nov 05, 21:47 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

"I think I'll be Clint Eastwood. Or Jimi Hendrix, he looks good. William the Conqueror...Now who else do I like?"

I love this song. When I got ADATR, I didn't think that Roger was a very good singer/songwriter, but when I was making my way through the album, I heard that song, and was like "Wow!". I listened again and again...and I love it! The slide work on Brian's part is amazing, but the phenomanal part is Roger's vocals. It IS sleepy and drowsy. He sings it beautifully. The lyrics are great, very nostalgic and charming.
I love this song, and I am puzzled when people say that they hate it!!
Thanks Lester!


don't i know you from the cinematographer's party?



who am i to blow against the wind?
CC1 user not visiting Queenzone.com

Bohemian: 259 posts
add to buddy list send PM

Posted: 05 Nov 05, 12:27 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote


Love the song.....I could listen to Roger warbling for hours.


Im Off To Shoot Myself If Anyone Cares .......
motbq user not visiting Queenzone.com

Rocker: 49 posts
add to buddy list send PM

Posted: 06 Nov 05, 01:49 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

it's probably my least favorite on adatr, but it's still a good song.

Whatinthewhatthe? user not visiting Queenzone.com

Deity: 2210 posts
add to buddy list send PM

Posted: 06 Nov 05, 16:13 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

It was nice for you to spotlight this song, Lester! I've always loved it and rate it amongst my favourite Queen songs. Roger did what most songwriters wished they could: paint a picture with a song. Pretty close to Penny Lane for nostalgia as a subject.
Well done, Roger!! :-))

Freya is quietly judging you. user not visiting Queenzone.com
Meh.
Freya is quietly judging you.
Deity: 5913 posts
add to buddy list send PM

Posted: 06 Nov 05, 17:01 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

I think Drowse is probably my favourite Roger song (except maybe TATDOOL) I just love the whole feeling of the song.