These are what we call the 'YMMV items.' Things that some people find in this work. We call them 'your mileage might vary' because not everyone sees these things in the same way. This starts discussions in the trope lists, a thing we don't want. Please use the discussion page if you'd like to discuss any of these items.
Broken Base: 1982's Hot Space. Some fans praise the band for trying something different and are fond of the production, vocals and some really nice guitar solos on the album (e.g., "Back Chat"). Others simply hate it and consider it sub-par for the band's standards. Not so much their attempts at dance music, but using synth-bass and drum machines when they had an excellent and underrated bassist and an equally excellent drummer.
Common Knowledge: Everyone who's even barely interested in Queen is aware that they lost their American fanbase following the negative reception of Hot Space... except that's not entirely true. Although they did stop touring there and had considerably less icon status in the US (which was also true of everywhere prior to Live AID), they were hardly "unheard of" and definitely weren't "unpopular" by that point.
What eventually did alienate the American fanbase was the video for "I Want to Break Free", since crossdressing was not part of the comedy repertoire across the pond at the time.
Critical Dissonance: Their popularity with the music press was inversely proportionate to their popularity with their audiences. By the onset of the 1980s, they could have legitimately claimed to be the biggest band in the world, but at the same time Rolling Stone was denouncing them as "the world's first fascist rock band". Of course, after Freddie's death, this perspective became vastly different. See Vindicated by History below.
Ear Worm: Ask anyone familiar with "We Will Rock You" from News Of The World (read as: anyone in general), and they will verify this as true: it is impossible to not stomp-stomp-clap along to the song. Aside from that huge one, they have plenty of other ones that probably aren't worth mentioning individually. Come on, it's Queen!
Ensemble Darkhorse: In private, they kept the rule of being four equal parts and having no sidemen, so each one considered himself 25% of the band, no more, no less. In public, however, it wasn't quite like that: early publicity material was focused on Brian, and the first time they had any media coverage it was about the fact Brian'd made his own guitar. Freddie only started receiving attention around mid-70's, and he'd soon become the focal point both in terms of public perception and songwriting... until John Deacon began writing big hits in the early 80's and then Roger Taylor afterwards.
Also, all of their three main producers had to work their way up: Roy Thomas Baker was 'just' an engineer and only took over when the main producer (John Anthony) fell ill, but the band liked him and kept him for future projects; Reinhold Mack was hired as engineer and was made producer after 'The Game' album was so successful; David Richards began as engineer, then helping Roger Taylor on solo projects and was made producer in 1986 (8 years after he'd first met them, 7 years after their first project together).
What exactly are their songs about again? According to the band themselves, whatever you want.
Most of the dissections and analyses of "Bohemian Rhapsody" tend to veer off into this category.
Exact Words: Several sources claimed Freddie recorded "Mother Love" when he only had 'a few weeks' left to live, which thousands of fans have incorrectly interpreted as meaning he'd recorded it around October or early November 1991 (he died on the 24th of November that year). Truth is, he finished recording in May, six months before his death. But hey - 28-30 weeks are 'a few' in the context of a 46-year-old life!
Freddie Mercury. Overlaps in the public mind with I Am the Band, as even the fans who don't regard new singers as replacement Scrappies will tend to agree that there is no Queen without Freddie. Of course, there wouldn't be a Queen without Brian May, either; his distinctive guitar style is just as important to Queen's trademark sound as Freddie's vocals and, according to Freddie himself (Circus mag, 1977), if ANY of the four left, it'd be the end of Queen.
This trope could slightly apply as the band's career went on, with the gradual reduction in the amount of songs with lead vocals by the other members.
Invoked by Taylor in early tour posters which he designed, amusingly boasting 'Legendary Cornish Drummer Roger Taylor... and his band Queen', much to the annoyance of the other band members.
"'39" makes a lot more sense if you understand Relativity...and remember that Brian May was studying for a degree in Astrophysics when the band was formed, and now has his doctorate.
In an interview with NPR Brian May discussed the iconic "stomp stomp clap" intro for "We Will Rock You." The band recorded a few people stomping/clapping, then Brian overdubbed multiple times, with time delays of prime numbers so that the stomping would not harmonize. The results, a sound that sounds like a stadium stomping the intro, despite only being a few people. Ladies and Gentlemen, math rocks.
They were (and still are) wildly popular in Japan, which was acknowledged with the Japanese lyrics of "Teo Toriatte".
According to Brian May, Queen was worried for a time that they'd neglected their native Britain during the seventies (in spite of their considerable success at home) in favour of making it in America, but the massive success of their free concert in Hyde Park in 1977 allayed their fears.
When their 1980s music and Camp image (and a payola scandal on EMI, their second label) alienated much of their American fanbase, they concentrated on England, Europe, Japan and South America both as touring stops and music markets. A large amount of Queen's music became hits overseas, but didn't do nearly as well by comparison in the states.
Growing the Beard: Sheer Heart Attack is regarded as the band's first great album. Hot Space is generally the point where fans agree that they shaved off the beard. Said beard was grown back, depending on one's point of view, either at Live Aid in 1985, with the release of A Kind of Magic and its accompanying tour in 1986 or even as late as 1991, when the band released Innuendo.
The early and late (i.e. no-synth and synth) periods of the band (the former as an art/progressive-rock album band, the latter as a mainstream pop group) are reflected in their long/short hair periods as well as Freddie's moustache.
Some of the lyrics of Bohemian Rhapsody, especially the ones relating the impending death of Freddie's character.
"Hammer To Fall" really sounds as if it was written after Freddie was diagnosed with AIDS, the lyrics are eerily apt, but it was actually written a couple of years before he even contracted HIV. On top of that, it was written by Brian May, with the Cold War in mind.
For an example of why people made this connection, the line "Build your muscles while your body decays" is actually about the superpowers wasting disproportionate amounts of money on military assets and nuclear bombs while their economies stagnate, but it takes on a whole new context when you know one of the symptoms of AIDS is atrophying muscle mass.
Listen to "Khashoggi's Ship" for an example, as Freddie sings "Who said that my party was all over?/Uh huh, I'm in pretty good shape" with the knowledge that he'd be gone in a few years time. Ouch.
There are a BUNCH of songs from that period that can be considered "farewell songs", intentionally or not, for this reason. This includes "The Miracle", "Was it All Worth It" (allegedly intended to be a Dying Moment of Awesome, as Freddie didn't expect to make as much material as he did later in life), "Don't Try So Hard", "These Are the Days of Our Lives" (notable for being Freddie's final on-screen appearance in the music video), "Delilah" (a farewell to his favorite cat), "Bijou", "The Show Must Go On", "Mother Love" (the last recorded song Freddie ever sang on), and "A Winter's Tale" (the last song Freddie ever wrote).
Hilarious in Hindsight: When inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Roger Taylor said that it was just like getting a Ph.D. A few years later, Brian May actually got his Ph.D. in astrophysics.
Ho Yay: Freddie Mercury and Roger Taylor: best friends, metrosexuals (and one of them actually queer), exceptionally good with high falsetto vocals, party animals, heavy smokers (at least at some point) and drinkers. It's probably no surprise that Freddie and Roger roomed together as college students. Need more proof? Just listen to unreleased track "Dog With a Bone".
Double-subversion regarding their whole 'no synths' thing: When they were recording their first single, Brian added some guitar effects via multi-tracking, varispeed, pedals and an amplifier John built. Some people in the record company and the press thought they'd used a Moog synthesiser instead, and the whole 'no synths' claim was born. As it's entered cultural osmosis (especially amongst Queen fans), a lot of people have gone to the other extreme: they think every single effect on Queen records was made by Brian's guitar. Of course, sometimes that was the case (e.g., the 'shivers down my spine' bit on "Bohemian Rhapsody", done with harmonics and EQ), but sometimes the effect was something else (e.g., prepared piano on "Nevermore"), and sometimes it was indeed a synth (e.g., near the break of "Coming Soon"). "Another One Bites the Dust" takes it up to eleven, as it's got many sound effects throughout, some of which are indeed the Red Special (with pedals and EQ and stuff), some of which are synths (reversed) and some of which are neither (reversed piano, e-drums).
From Hot Space onwards, the band started to programme drum machines, which sometimes would complement Roger's playing (e.g., "Dancer") and sometimes would replace him completely (e.g., "Body Language"). That creates a lot of confusion, even today, as sometimes Roger did play the part on an actual drum set but because of his precision and because of the mix (not as 'in your face' as in the 70's), people believe it's a machine.
People not familiar with Queen tend to think they had a female backing vocalist on some songs such as "Bohemian Rhapsody" and "Somebody to Love", when actually it was just them singing falsetto (usually Roger Taylor, sometimes Freddie Mercury and very occasionally Brian May). Doubly subverted on "Let Me Live", where they did hire female backing vocalists.
Paul Rodgers. His tours with the band and the addition of Bad Company and Free songs to the set were actually fairly popular with fans, but the less said about the original album they recorded, the better. Though Rodgers wasn't a replacement. It was "Queen teams up with Paul Rodgers", not "Paul Rodgers becomes a member of Queen".
Any singer who has performed with Queen since Freddie's death (except from the Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert) has been seen as a Replacement Scrappy by fans.
A new contender for "Most hated Queen lead vocalist who isn't Freddie" is American Idol singer Adam Lambert. Reaction to his announcement of a tour with Queen was met negatively to say the least.
Suspiciously Similar Song: "Another One Bites The Dust" is this of the disco band Chic's "Good Times". Justified as Chic's Bernard Edwards says that John Deacon, the song's writer, hung out at their studio, leading to this song.
Values Resonance: Like The Buggles' "Video Killed the Radio Star", "Radio Ga Ga" was written as a commentary about the decline of the influence of radio as the primary mass medium in the late 70s/early 80s, getting overtaken by television. Despite being a Painful Rhyme, the line "Stick around, 'cause we might miss you when we grow tired of all this visual" is still hard-hitting in light of how the internet has overtaken both radio and television itself as the primary mass medium.
Brian May has said that, in retrospect, he thinks that Queen II was probably the strongest album the band ever recorded. Similarly, some critics have reconsidered the first album and judged it to be a perfectly good hard rock debut.
Freddie himself: while alive, he was regarded by many tabloids as a conceited gay showman with some (but not too much) talent and more often than not Brian was shown as the musical anchor (although his personal life was heavily criticised especially in the 80's). Recently, the press tends to refer to Freddie as a great late musical genius without whom Brian and Roger are nothing.
Hot Space has become much more appreciated in recent years, what with the revival of funk and disco music by modern artists, especially those in the electropop genre.
So has the band's '80s output in general, as evidenced by the Memetic Mutation of Freddie's '80s appearance via rage comics.