Queen – Kings in Rock
The band I chose that I chose as my favorite was Queen. Not only do I thoroughly enjoy their music, but I believe that they are such a clear representation and testimony to the greatness of rock music. I am not some hardcore fan of Queen nor am I an aficionado on the genre of rock. Interestingly enough, when I think of the genre of rock, it’s hard to really pinpoint the exact sound of what it is in my head. Rock has so many subgenres, subcategories, instrumentations, etc, that it is difficult to make any kind of generalized description of it. Without thinking about it too deeply however, I always seem to naturally categorize rock as music that includes an overdriven electric guitar, bass, drums, keys, and a spectacularly entertaining lead vocal performance. Without thinking too deeply about what what band would best represent rock music, I think about Queen. To me, they are unmatched in their musical bravado, skill, and influence.
When I think of the spirit and symbolism of rock, I think about a spirit of rebellion and identity. Rock music was the vehicle for a generation that was trying to define itself. Music is an art and an expression that is sourced from the very heart of people’s thoughts and emotions. Therefore, rock music should do the same in representing the thoughts and emotions of the generation in which it is formed. Queen came to popularity in the 70’s where the nation was in the midst of war and turbulence. At the same time, there was a completely different movement of creativity, change, love, peace, and all these grandiose ideas of what the future could be like.
This may be totally irrelevant, but when I think of Queen I also think of their hair. They had phenomenal hair. If nothing else and if it wasn’t the coolest looking, it was definitely impressive. It was also representative of the style of the times and for that alone, Queen could check off the box for accurate cultural representation. However, more than their hairstyle and even their dress, I believe their music was also an accurate representation of the times. Just like the 70’s were a time of creativity, Queen was extremely creative and ingenious in some of their top songs. Songs like “Bohemian Rhapsody” really went outside the box on how a rock song should sound and be arranged. It was unpredictable in form and melody, yet true to the classic rock instrumentaiton of it’s predecessors. The song is not short of great guitar solos, thick distorted guitars, and captivating vocals from lead singer, Freddie Mercury. Other qualities that I associate with rock are high energy and emotional depth; I think of rock anthems and soaring instrumentals that make you slightly tear. “Bohemian Rhapsody” definitely has both of these qualities but so do many of Queen’s most popular songs. “Don’t Stop Me Now” is always a go-to song for me when someone requests a high energy, high octane, and just down-right fun song to listen or even sing along to. The song is full of this spirit of strong attitude and adrenaline that I believe rock music really captures well. Other songs like “We Are the Champions” or “Another One Bites the Dust” also have that same driving, powerful, and exciting feel throughout. “Somebody to Love” starts off with a quaint and melodic piano line and progresses into a full out expression of desire and longing through a medley of vocals and guitar parts.
If I were completely unexposed to the world of rock and someone told me to listen to Queen, I think I would have a pretty good idea of what the world of rock looked like. Of course, not all rock is going to be loud, high energy, rebellious, or even emotionally moving. In fact, there are probably scores of rock songs and rock groups that don’t share any of these qualities. To say however, that a group represents rock solely because of its musical style and interpretation of the genre is not very helpful. Even a non-expert on rock or any genre of music can see that the genre stems from more than just a musical background. Queen represents a distinct musical style of rock yet in a wider spectrum, represents the very soul and spirit of rock: music born from a young 70’s generation that wasn’t content with the world around them and music that continues to inspire and connect with generations of musicians to come.