I had to run out after supper this evening and pick up a few groceries, and on the way home I put on the "classic rock" radio station. I think I know their entire playlist by heart, which can be a fun thing if I'm in the right mood. So tonight I caught most of Aqualung (I'm still very fond of Jethro Tull), and that was followed by the definitive Queen rock anthem, "We Will Rock You."
That song immediately takes me back to either a) high school or b) hockey games, since it has become inextricably linked in my mind to both the time period and that testosterone-fueled sport. Sometimes that's unbearable, but tonight I was just in the mood to bang my head along with that pounding rhythm -- stomp stomp clap -- stomp stomp clap.
But then I listened, for the first time in forever, toFreddie Mercury wailing those lyrics, and thought, I hope they play "We Are the Champions," too. Sometimes the radio stations just play "We Will Rock You," and deny you that nearly post-coital satisfaction of the slow building, triumphant ballad after all that thump-thump-thumping.
Well, the radio station did play "We Are the Champions," and I had a chance to really appreciate how well Freddie Mercury could sing, and just how perfect those two songs are. Please note that I'm not saying they're the best pop songs ever written, or even that they are my favorites. I don't even own a Queen album, and doubt I ever will. But this pair of songs, they work perfectly. They've been so over-played and commercialized that it's easy to forget how appealing they are -- and of course they are over-played and commercialized precisely because of their enormous appeal.
But that appeal is all Freddie Mercury, who (AFAIK) wrote the songs as well as being the lead singer. So much talent, and what pipes! I could listen to that man sing the phonebook and be happy, I think. OTOH, the whole Queen scene is definitely a mood thing, because bombastic over-production can definitely get on my nerves -- which explains why I don't own any of their albums.
But still, Freddie Mercury made tonight's errand run a lot more fun than I had any expectation of it being. I found myself grinning like an idiot, a little embarrassed that I like these songs so much, but almost immediately rejecting the impulse to be a grown-up and roll my eyes over a pair of such silly songs. The fact is, they've been a part of my life for decades now, and the associations remain positive. Maybe it's because I hadn't heard these songs, as songs -- not on a commercial soundtrack, or as a pep-rally-style cheer at a game -- for so long, that I enjoyed them so much tonight.
I was surprised by the impulse towards happiness that snuck up on me. I didn't expect to have fun, and I have so much weighing on me that this unexpected levity was frankly amazing. Nevermind being surprised, I remind myself, take your fun whenever you can find it!