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YMMV / Queen

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  • Accidental Innuendo: The fact that a flamboyantly gay singer named his band Queen is purely coincidental.
  • Alternative Character Interpretation: "One Vision" was obviously written as a cheesy plea for an end to war, famine, religious intolerance and other problems pop stars tend to call "bad things". However, due to the vagueness of the lyrics, it's more than a little ironic that it can be interpreted as a fascist anthem from the perspective of a frustrated wannabe-fuhrer. The Slovenian art-rock group Laibach did a version in German for this very reason which they re-titled "Birth of a Nation".
  • Americans Hate Tingle: The band's foray into funk with the album Hot Space cost them their American fanbase (kind of, see "Common Knowledge" below), which never truly recovered until after Freddie Mercury's death.
    • The band cross-dressing in the video for "I Want to Break Free" squicked out a lot of the band's American audience at the time, who were unaware the video was parodying the British soap opera Coronation Street.
  • Big-Lipped Alligator Moment:
    • "One Vision" — how many people who didn't already know to look for it were surprised when singing the track on Rock Band 2, and seeing that the last words were "fried chicken" instead of the repeated title? The story as to why they included it is well documented, but the line still comes out of nowhere.
    • Similarly, in their song "I'm Going Slightly Mad", the line "I think I'm a banana tree!"
    • "Get Down, Make Love", a raunchy hard rock tune that breaks into a fit of electronic weirdness about 2/3s of the way.
  • Broken Base:
    • 1982's Hot Space. It's either praised for the band trying something different and is well-liked for the production, vocal harmonies, and some really nice guitar solos on the album (e.g., "Back Chat"). Or it's simply hated and considered to be sub-par to the band's standards, but not because of their attempts at dance music, instead because of their use of synth-bass and drum machines replacing an excellent and underrated bassist and an equally excellent drummer, though both were also multi-instrumentalists and can play guitar and keyboards.
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    • Also over whether the band should have kept going after Freddie died. Some say that Queen isn't Queen without him, others say it 's great that they can still stay relevant. Also over whether Adam Lambert is worthy frontman.
  • Cargo Ship: "I'm in Love with My Car" on A Night at the Opera is a canon example:
    With my hand on your grease gun
  • "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 and the show they were spoofing, Coronation Street, was unknown in the US to anyone other than hard-core lovers of PBS.
  • Covered Up: A rare non-song example: A Night at the Opera and A Day at the Races are better known as Queen albums than as The Marx Brothers movies in some circles.
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  • 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.
  • Dork Age: Many fans hate the disco album Hot Space with a passion. Releasing a disco album in 1982 proved to be a very poor move, and indeed they fell out of favor in the US for quite some time. The only song from it that most people will defend is "Under Pressure", the famous duet with David Bowie. Both John Deacon and Roger Taylor also expressed their dislike for it several times. On the other hand, Freddie virtually wrote its sequel for his debut solo project, and Briannote  still claims that without it, there'd have been no "Thriller" (ridiculous as it sounds). Moreover, while most people tend to acknowledge "The Cosmos Rocks", some of the other activities Taylor have been involved with (e.g. recording with Britney Spears and 5ive) are treated as if they'd never happened.
  • 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!
    • Is this the real life? Is this just fantasy? As covered on the awesome page, "Bohemian Rhapsody" is one of those songs you will know the lyrics for and sing out load.
  • Ensemble Dark Horse: 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 May had 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.
    • Post-Bohemian Rhapsody, Brian May, Roger Taylor, and John Deacon all seemed to amass pretty sizable fandoms individually, especially among younger fans, as evidenced by the avalanche of fan accounts dedicated to each band member on various social media platforms.
    • 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).
    • As mentioned below, Queen II has become quite popular among fans of the band, particularly those inclined toward Progressive Rock.
  • Epic Riff:
    • Lots, from "Keep Yourself Alive" to "White Man" to "Another One Bites the Dust", an epic bass riff.
    • "We Will Rock You". Off the top of your head, how many body percussion riffs can you name?
  • Everyone Is Jesus in Purgatory:
    • 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.
  • Face of the Band:
    • 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.
  • Fan Nickname: Quite a few, actually.
    • “Deacy” for bassist John Deacon
    • “Rogerina” for Roger Taylor’s alter-ego in the video for “I Want to Break Free”
    • “Queenies” for fans of the band
  • Fanon Discontinuity:
    • Narrowly averted with Hot Space, because of the presence of David Bowie on "Under Pressure", the one (and usually only) track that everyone enjoys.
    • To a lesser extent, Made in Heaven, though this is mainly concerning Innuendo's status as a Dying Moment of Awesome to the fandom more than anything else.
    • The Paul Rodgers album. Many fans feel that the lack of Freddie makes it not a Queen album. Even non-fans have commented that it sounds more like a Paul Rodgers album than Queen.
  • Friendly Fandoms: Thanks to the "Under Pressure" collaboration, Queen fans and David Bowie fans tend to intersect quite a bit.
  • "Funny Aneurysm" Moment: Freddie's statement that "we're going to stay together until we fucking well die, I assure you." Ouch.
  • Genius Bonus:
    • "'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.
  • Germans Love David Hasselhoff:
    • They were (and still are) wildly popular in Japan, which was acknowledged with the Japanese lyrics of "Teo Toriatte". Heck many manga and anime use Freddie's design for their character such as Cromartie High School, Beelzebub, and Diamond Is Unbreakable.
    • 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. Fan opinion is divided on whether or not they lost the beard with Hot Space and when it was grown back.
    • 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.
      • You could say that, rather than having grown a second beard, they... grew a mustache.
  • Harsher in Hindsight:
    • 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.
    • Most of Queen's material post-AIDS diagnosis (The Miracle, Innuendo, Made in Heaven) can be seen as a mixture of this and Heartwarming in Hindsight.
      • Listen to "Khashoggi's Ship" from The Miracle 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).
  • Heartwarming in Hindsight: From "Radio Ga Ga". The scene where Freddie is standing in front of the clock and his band mates materialise in front of him and put their hands on their hips almost like guarding him. When Freddie was diagnosed with Aids his band mates did their best to shield him from media scrutiny denying he was sick.
  • 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.
    • "Radio Ga Ga", which came out right around the time when MTV was starting to take off and become a phenomenon, has one particular lyric: "So stick around, cause we might miss you when we grow tired of all this vision." 30 years later, MTV hardly even plays music videos anymore, while Internet and satellite radio, allowing listeners access to countless songs and genres of music, have become wildly popular.
  • Ho Yay: Freddie Mercury and Roger Taylor: best friends, metrosexuals , 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".
  • Memetic Badass: Freddie. 'Nuff said. AIDS didn't kill him, pure epic power simply overwhelmed his body and he ascended back to the higher plane of existence from whence he came.
  • Memetic Mutation:
    • "Bohemian Rhapsody" is a an example of a classically successful meme.
    • An audition art piece submitted to Marvel comics by an unidentified would-be artist, showing Wolverine wandering around a forest and suddenly being confronted by Freddie, achieved somewhat memetic status among comics fans when it was posted online by artist Steve Bunch.
  • Misaimed Fandom:
    • "Bicycle Race" is often misinterpreted as Freddie Mercury's ode to his own bisexuality. It is simply a song about riding and racing bicycles.
    • "I Want It All" is about ambition (the title deriving from writer Brian May's wife's favorite sayings), not a gay anthem or anti-Apartheid as some have interpreted it.
  • Narm Charm: "Somebody to Love" is a good song, despite — or perhaps because of — the fact that the other three guys sound like the background singers from the older Disney cartoons.
  • Never Live It Down: Although the controversy is now forgotten today, one of the things that harmed the band's American standing in the mid-1980s was their decision to play nine concerts at the Sun City resort in South Africa, breaking a cultural boycott that was implemented because of the country's racist policies. These shows proved to be a mini-Role-Ending Misdemeanor for the band: They were fined by the British Musicians Union, blacklisted by the United Nations and lost considerable face with critics and the general public in both Europe and America. The band told the press that they were promised that they'd be playing to an integrated crowd, although this was something that the organizers often told big-name acts to lure them to play there, and it's entirely possible that they were duped. Although the controversy eventually subsided in Europe, particularly after their iconic performance at Live Aid just a few months later, the Sun City shows damaged their reputation in America. They did not return to widespread popularity in the US until just before Mercury died.
  • Older Than They Think:
    • It's not uncommon to find people under the impression that "Bohemian Rhapsody" was originally written and recorded for Wayne's World in 1992, which happens to be a year after Freddie's death.
    • "Bohemian Rhapsody" is frequently thought to be the first "real" Music Video, but The Beatles, The Rolling Stones and other groups did plenty of music videos throughout the 60s and 70s. Queen themselves had a few videos before that as well. Making videos as part of their marketing strategy wasn't by any means as widespread as it'd become later (thanks, in no small part, to "Bohemian Rhapsody"), but they were certainly common enough back then to already be in common parlance (they were called "pop-promos").
  • One-Scene Wonder:
    • David Bowie joining up for "Under Pressure".
    • Steve Howe playing a relatively short (compared to Yes and Asia standards) flamenco guitar solo on "Innuendo", which has become a classic and one loads of people around the world try to learn and replicate (oddly appropriate given that Brian May asked Steve to do it because he couldn't manage it).
    • The half-minute operatic section on "'Bohemian Rhapsody" is arguably one of the first things people recall about Queen in spite of being very different to 99% of things the band did before or since.
  • Painful Rhyme: From "Radio Ga Ga": "stick around, 'cause we might miss you / when we grow tired of all this visual."
  • Paranoia Fuel: "The Invisible Man".
    I'm your meanest thought
    I'm your darkest fear
    But I'll never get caught
    You can't shake me, shake me dear
  • Replacement Scrappy:
    • 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, although once he actually started performing a substantial number of fans were pleasantly surprised.
    • Though not as much as the lead singers, the bassists who have replaced John Deacon have received their fair share of vitriol from some fans. In some cases, though, they're barely noticed.
    • Happened to their producer Reinhold Mack as well: though loved and respected by the band back when they worked together, Tony Iommi (in his autobiography) suggested Brian wasn't too keen on him at the end. Fans also tend to blame him for what they consider to be the dark period for the band (Hot Space in particular) while they're far more appreciative of Roy Baker (intermittently producing their early albums from Queen to Jazz) and David Richards (The Miracle, Innuendo and Made in Heaven, plus bits of A Kind of Magic).
  • Sacred Cow: Go ahead; say that Queen is a bad band.
  • Signature Song: By album:
    • Queen - "Keep Yourself Alive"
    • Sheer Heart Attack — "Killer Queen"
    • A Night at the Opera — "Bohemian Rhapsody"
    • A Day at the Races — "Somebody To Love"
    • News of the World — "We Will Rock You"/"We Are The Champions"
    • Jazz — "Don't Stop Me Now"
    • The Game — "Another One Bites The Dust"/"Crazy Little Thing Called Love"
    • Hot Space — "Under Pressure" with David Bowie
    • The Works — "Radio Ga Ga"/"I Want To Break Free"
    • A Kind of Magic — "Who Wants To Live Forever"/"Princes Of The Universe"
    • The Miracle — "I Want It All"
    • Innuendo — "The Show Must Go On", or possibly "These Are the Days of Our Lives"
    • Made In Heaven — "Made in Heaven" (even if it's a cover of one of Freddie Mercury's solo songs)
    • Overall — "Bohemian Rhapsody" and the News of the World signatures are the frontrunners, with "Dust", "Pressure" and "Don't Stop" not far behind.
  • Some Anvils Need to Be Dropped: They were no stranger to this. And their most perfect Anvil that needed to be dropped was Is this the World we Created? Especially in their Live Aid performance.
  • Stuck in Their Shadow: While John Deacon is considered one of the best bassists in rock music, his personality was too reserved to make him as memorable as the more dynamic band members (like some other nonetheless talented bass guitarists called John.)
  • 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.
  • Too Cool to Live: Freddie.
  • Uncanny Valley: The cover of News of the World, based on the cover of Astounding Science Fiction (October 1953), features a disturbing childlike giant robot holding bloodied, dead members of the band in his hand.
  • 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. 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.
    • "Scandal" is a searing attack on the tabloid press. The media is still intrusive and the song is arguably more relevant now than when the song came out.
  • Vindicated by History:
    • 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.
      • Interestingly, Progressive Rock fans seem to share May's opinion on Queen II. You would probably expect A Night at the Opera to have the highest rating of any of their studio albums on Prog Archives, since it's almost universally regarded as a masterpiece and has several of the genre's signature songs, but Queen II is actually rated even higher (4.37/5 for Queen II as opposed to 4.27/5 for Opera at the time of this writing).
    • 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.
    • Jazz was originally regarded as a Follow Up Failure for Queen after News of the World, but it's become better appreciated in later years. This tracks with the album's most popular song, "Don't Stop Me Now". At the time of release it was considered a minor entry in their catalogue (they only played it on the Jazz tour before they removed it from their setlist) but its reputation has grown to the point where it's now their second-most popular song ever, behind only "Bohemian Rhapsody".
  • What Do You Mean, It Wasn't Made on Drugs?: With the exception of Freddie Mercury in the 70s, and his cigarette smoking, the band's songs were not written under the influence of anything stronger than tea and alcohol. Brian May actually goes so far as to ban smoking from his later concerts and any building he owns.
    • Special mention to the song "39". While the lyrics sound bizarre and incomprehensible at first, reality is stranger than fiction: they describe space travel on subluminar velocities and time dilation according to Einstein's theory of relativity. Brian May, who wrote the song, is Ph D in astronomy, and certainly knows his stuff. He described the song as "space folk".


Example of: