SONG REVIEW Who wants to break free? By Samin Sakib


‘Queen’ is a classic British rock band formed in London back in 1970. ‘I want to Break Free‘ was the second single taken from Queen’s 11th studio album, ‘The Works’. It was released in the U.K and then in U.S a few weeks apart in April 1984, the single flew up the U.K charts to number three, but stalled at 45 in the latter’s — a clear sign of Queen’s diverging popularity track on each continent. An evenly balanced collection of typically eclectic Queen rock, ‘The Works’ was a worldwide smash on the strength of four hit singles, each one composed by a different member among the band’s talented pool of songwriters.

‘I want to Break Free‘ was bassist John Deacon’s entry, and though it was a fantastic pop song, it’s probably best remembered for the outrageous, wildly popular video made for it. A large-scale production of Hollywood-like proportions, the short film featured the entire band dressed in drag and emulating the ultra-popular British soap ‘Coronation Street.‘ Countering this hilarity, was a beautifully choreographed sequence featuring flamboyant singer Freddie Mercury cavorting with the Royal Ballet, followed by an equally elaborate montage framing guitarist Brian May’s incredibly liquid solo. Of interest, the single’s U.K. mix (issued in six different configurations to better exploit obsessive collectors) differed considerably from the original album cut, forgoing much of its perky shuffle for the benefit of additional synthesizers and an intro melody inspired on the ‘Coronation Street‘ theme (just in case someone had missed the connection the first time). And though it could ultimately do little to salvage the band’s dwindling fortunes in America, pretty much everywhere else, ‘I want to Break Free‘ and The Works album as a whole, became wildly popular and one of Queen’s biggest-selling albums.

This song maintained an excellent footing in both melody and harmony while displaying aggression at the same time. There’s a duality to the music that not many other bands have been able to achieve. Many people assume the solo is played on guitar. Actually it’s not – it’s a synth solo by talented keyboardist Fred Mandel and his every touch was practically dripped with emotion.

I think this is one of those songs that can be interpreted in a lot of different ways. This is a song that connects the versatile perspectives of people wanting to break the shackles to lead a free life, wanting to break free from a world that is just so false, corrupt, untrustworthy and cruel. This song will always be on my chart of most favourite songs, based on not only the fact that it is a brilliant masterpiece but also because the lyric is far more powerful.

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