Monday, April 30, 2007

Under Pressure

You know, the other day - or maybe it was six months ago, who the fuck knows anymore - on one of the memes I've recently done, I was responding rather quickly to the question "What is your favorite song?"

I responded "Ever Fallen In Love" by The Buzzcocks; however, that's not it, really. I can't believe that I didn't respond "Under Pressure" by Queen with David Bowie.

I just remembered how much I love it when it came on my iPod in the car the other day. Three-year-old in tow and in rush-hour traffic, I cranked that sucker to the limits of what is tasteful to have blaring in a car with a child in it, and sang at the top of my lungs.

My first memories of that song were of the video, of course, that played a lot on MTV the year I first got it, in about ninth grade. That video kicked ass - all those old movie clips, even Nosferatu, I think? Remember?

What, you don't remember? Nostalgic You-Tubing commence!*

Brilliance. (And it was probably really cheap, all cut from stock footage, without any star overhead.)

My sister had the album Queen's Greatest Hits, and maybe one or two others, so being the pilfering bratty sister that I was, when she went away to college, I totally swiped it, along with Meatloaf "Bat out of Hell," the B52's first two albums, some Jonathan Richman, and the entire Ramones oeuvre. For at least my sixteenth summer, the year of the '65 Mustang Convertible, that was my soundtrack.

I took that album, and all of the others, away with me when I went to college, as well. Even in the move towards the People In Black, I still listened to all of them, and always Queen.

Right after college, perhaps the finest concert bill that ever was - Spinal Tap opening for the 75-foot screen version of Queen: Live at Wembly Stadium - came to St. Louis. Chris and I bought tickets and drove all the way down and back for that show. Totally fucking amazing. I will never, ever forget seeing the Tap live, and settling back amongst the thick pot smoke to watch a gigantic Freddy Mercury sing "Bohemian Rhapsody" in what was one of his last concerts, I think. (Weirdly, as many Tap fans as I know, when I tell that story, nobody has ever had any idea what tour I'm talking about. And, damn, it took a lot of searching around to find a website that confirms that I didn't dream it. But I did, and it was apparently May 24, 1992, at the Riverport Ampitheater.)

And, as much as I love many of their songs - jeez, "Bohemian Rhapsody," "You're My Best Friend" "Crazy Little Thing Called Love" "Play the Game" and many many others - I have to think that "Under Pressure" may be my favorite of all. (I have to admit, I'm sucker for a song that builds to a crescendo - see "Meatloaf," above.)

Seriously, think about it; it's a perfect song, starting with that immortal bass line - Wikipedia says that some online music magazine named that the "Best Bass Line of All Time" - followed by David's deep, reassuring baritone:

Pressure pushing down on me

Pressing down on you no man ask for

Then Freddie's punctuated falsetto chimes in, providing a passionate counterpoint:

Under pressure - that burns a building down
Splits a family in two
Puts people on streets

It's the terror of knowing
What the world is about
Watching some good friends
Screaming 'Let me out'
Pray tomorrow - gets me higher
Pressure on people - people on streets

By the time Freddie gets to the high howl toward the end and the drums speed the song up, I'm usually in a state of tiny, in-my-own-head-Mom-bliss. Why, indeed, can't we give love, give love, one more chance?

Sigh. And there it is; the Best. Song. Ever. I just thought you should know.

And - and I totally mean this - if I am to meet an untimely end, you are all forthwith instructed to find a karaoke machine for my funeral, and you are all to sing this song aloud, at the top of your lungs.
Oh, and the green tomato debacle had a minorly happy ending. I roasted the skins off those suckers and combined the flesh with a serrano, some onion, garlic, cumin, and lime juice (and would have put in cilantro, had I had some), and made a Roasted Green Tomato salsa. And it was actually pretty good, considering I had no idea what I was doing.

My cleverness astounds me at times.
*The YouTube link to the video doesn't seem to be working this morning. Farg.


Bill Shirley said...

I'm with ya on this.

This song totally rocks,
and the video is perfectly executed.

it's the terror of knowing what the world is about

Badger said...

Okay, well this song is not my fave, HOWEVER the very first album I bought with my own money was Queen's News of the World, and DH and I played "You're My Best Friend" at our wedding. It was our recessional music, actually.

And also I REALLY want some roasted green tomato salsa RIGHT NOW, dammit! I only have four teeny little tomato plants and I know I'm not going to want to sacrifice any for green tomato salsa, either. Maybe you can send YG over to rip off the bandaid for me, figuratively speaking.

Anonymous said...

Twice, in the past 7 days I have been blissed with that song coming on the radio at the precise right time... stress levels from work and life in general exceedingly high, but no kids in car, so blasted it at entirely improper levels for a mommy in a suit driving a Saturn sedan, singing along at the top of my lungs. And it helped me get through another day.