Queen vs. Pink Floyd: who wins the battle of Argentinian favorite songs
Joaquín Vismara FOLLOW
In the seventies, Queen and Pink Floyd were two names that stomped on the local rock scene, which was still built in the image and likeness of what sounded in other latitudes. The native imaginary would hardly have been what it was without Dark Side of the Moon or A Night at the Opera in constant rotation, with equal doses of sophistication and complexity that of stridency and magnitude of stadiums, just before punk broke through without Ask permission to clean spit.
Forty years later, both names match again for the Argentine public. On the one hand, Bohemian Rhapsody, the biopic of Queen directed by Bryan Singer and starring Rami Malek, which aroused accessions of the general public and the repudiation of the most purist followers of the British band. On the other, Roger Waters, the creative genius of Pink Floyd, who tomorrow will give in La Plata the second concert of his fourth visit to the country, with a show focused on several of the band's successes that he knew how to integrate until the mid-eighties.
The encounter is fortuitous, but it is also more than enough excuse for the playlist available below.
"Killer Queen" (Sheer Heart Attack, 1974). The hinge song of Queen's repertoire, right in the transition between the hard rock of her first albums and the pomposity of her later work. Supported by a piano arrangement and a four-piece vocal harmony, "Killer Queen" is a fable created by Freddie Mercury about a prostitute of high standards. At the time of composing and recording the song, Brian May was ill after a tour of the United States, but he arrived in time to add the guitar solo and some phrasing in the stanzas before the final cut.
"Bohemian Rhapsody" (A Night at the Opera, 1975). A suite of more than six minutes, with various sections, no chorus, opera tickets, a hard rock turn and a melancholic coda. "Bohemian Rhapsody" is the reliable proof that Queen prioritized her ambition before massive success, although with the song she managed to unite both worlds: against all the forecasts of her record label, it was an instant number one and sold more than a million copies in less than three months.
"Somebody to Love" (A Day at the Races, 1976). Economy of resources: for the ballad with which he climbed the charts again, Queen became his own gospel choir. With no more tools than their classic base, Mercury, May and drummer Roger Taylor recorded several tracks to create the cushion of voices that adorns the song. With the clear intention of paying tribute to his admired Aretha Franklin, Mercury created a soul ballad that deals with faith, despair, love and spirituality.
Somebody to love
"We Will Rock You" (News of the World, 1977). One of the most ambitious musically bands had one of their biggest hits with a song recorded almost entirely by capella, with no more resources than trampled on, palms and body percussion. Composed as a sort of war anthem for their live performances, Brian May's guitar makes its appearance only in the last thirty seconds of the subject. During his tours, Queen also used to play a second version (known among his fans as "the fast"), full band and with a spirit closer to hard rock.
"I Want to Break Free" (The Works, 1984). After flirting with synthetic pop in Hot Space, Queen sought to return to its origins with The Works (while retaining some of its most recent additions). Composed by John Deacon, "I Want to Break Free" is mistakenly understood as the coming out of Freddie Mercury, when in reality it is a song inspired by the liberating effects of love. In their video, the band appears before the camera characterized as four women from a London suburb, and then in a segment inspired by the "Prelude to a faun's nap" version of Russian dancer and choreographer Vaslav Nijinsky.
PINK FLOYD / ROGER WATERS
"Money" (Dark Side of the Moon, 1973). In the middle of a conceptual album about the great problems, fears and ills of modern society, Roger Waters wrote a parody about the capitalist system. Its protagonist wants everything and, far from being satisfied, goes for more ("New car, caviar, stay in a four star, I think I'm going to buy a football team"). With an irregular metric, "Money" managed to get Pink Floyd out of the progressive rock niche and take the band to an unexpected place: the dance floor.
"Wish You Were Here" (Wish You Were Here, 1975). Far from the progressive paraphernalia of much of his work in the early seventies, in the mid-decade, Pink Floyd surprised with a ballad felt and open to interpretations. Composed by Waters with guitarist David Gilmour, the song was seen as a late ode to Syd Barrett, the first leader of the group, who left the band in 1969 before going completely mad. Waters, however, assures that it is a song directed to himself, to be present in his own life without ties, to be able to experience the world as a whole.
"Another Brick in the Wall, part 2" (The Wall, 1979). The rock opera that Pink Floyd published in 1979 traces the path of Pink, an alienated rock star of dictatorial inflows that builds a wall that separates it from society, in which each brick is a phobia or a mark of the past. The biggest hit on the album is represented by the British education system, understood as an oppressive system that deprives students of their personality and makes it a homogeneous and obedient mass. For more accuracy, watch Alan Parker's film based on the album of the same name, in which boys and girls from a pupil school with masks without facial features walk towards a meat grinder.
"Comfortably Numb" (The Wall, 1979). Pink's odyssey continues in this song sung by duo by Waters and Gilmour who had the tentative title of "The Doctor." In the story told by the album, its protagonist is already collapsed, but his manager and a doctor decide to treat him with an injectable so that the show can continue. The inspiration came from real life: in 1977, Waters had to be treated with tranquilizers intravenously to be able to climb to touch, victim of a stomach ailment. "Those were the longest two hours of my life, trying to carry on a show where I could hardly lift my arm," the musician said years later.
"Smell the Roses" (Is This the Life We Really Want ?, 2017). The man takes his time. It took Roger Waters 25 years to record his fourth solo album, and the wait was worth it. Under the orders of Nigel Godrich, producer known for his work with Beck and Radiohead, Waters made a record that takes the path of his past, but with the sound updated to the present. Without looking at nostalgia, "Smell the Roses" is proof of this: a rock melody that refers to "Have a Cigar", by Pink Floyd, but with a theme that shows that his obsessionary always (wars, corporations, the alienation of consumption) are still as valid today as yesterday.
By: Joaquín VismaraNews source