I hate musicals. Well, not hate but I am selective of the musicals that I watch. I am more…leaning towards the musicals from the generation ahead of me. South Pacific. Singing in the Rain. The Sound of Music. Those kinds of musicals. Rarely do I like modern musicals. Most of the modern musicals I hated. The two musicals that topped my list were Mama Mia and Straight Outta Compton – if you can call the latter a musical.
Then, that Malek movie came out and damn, it was good!
Critics, especially those in America, were harsh with their reviews of the movie. Sure, the movie ain’t a 100% representation of the life of the mercurial man (pun intended) but if it were made into a true, blue adaptation of his life and times, the movie would have most probably have gotten a rating given to soft porn. What the critics missed is this: it is a short adaptation, the nearest one, if I may go there, of the life of Farrokh Bulsara with his band family and their music.
While Malek had a performance of a lifetime, it wasn’t the acting that got me: it was the music. It brought black a welcome flood of memories and feelings that I had long locked-up unintentionally. When Queen was en vogue, I was a geeky, chubby grade schooler who got introduced to the band by the jeepney drivers who frequented my late mom’s cafeteria during lunch time. Forwarding to the 80’s, I was still paying homage to The Queen by strutting my fat arse to their song “Another One Bites the Dust” whenever and wherever I can. Alas, though, I largely had forgotten about the band when I hit my 20s, like all things one forgets about their high school life.
The first shot of re-interest came early January of 2018 after I got myself a copy of Queen’s Greatest Hits in cassette tape format. I never really intended to get that old, moldy tape as I was looking for something else but something about how it looked and how it sounded (of course I play tested it!) that lured me back to the sounds, the braggadocio and the music of Bulsara, May, Taylor and Deacon. Like a lover from old, once I locked eyes on the faded cassette cover, feelings and memories from a past long buried but not forgotten suddenly surfaced and relationship was rekindled.
I almost never got to watch the movie. A lot of things got in the way but one day, on a whim, my wife asked me if I wanted to watch it. That question that she floated my way made me stop what was doing at that time and asked her “Are you sure?” See, she doesn’t like rock music. Never did. So, we went.
She loved it. I loved it.
She loved it for Freddie first, the music second. I loved it in the reverse.
The movie had two versions, apparently. The we went to see had a karaoke section of which, during times when I forgot that I was inside a movie house full of people, I would belt out a line or two. This earned me a sore left rib after the movie, courtesy of my wife’s sharp elbow. God, did my ribs hurt after that movie but I didn’t care.
Driving for home, my wife asked another question that made me stop at the side of the road. Her question? “Well, you got a cassette copy, aren’t you going to get a vinyl copy today?” So, with that blessing, I made it for the nearest U-turn, put my pedal on the gas and headed towards a fave record store to get the vinyls.
Those vinyls are now hers. Not mine, hers. I got myself a convert.
A few weeks after the movie, its soundtrack got released in cassette format. Had to get me one of those and so I did.
I’ll be frank. The sound quality of the songs in the soundtrack isn’t as good as that of that dirty, faded cassette tape that I got at the beginning of January last year. The difference? Dolby. The old one had the Dolby magic woven into it while the new one hasn’t that magic, which is okay, as the studio that made the recording of the soundtrack cassette had no Dolby because their technology for cassette recordings died years ago. However, a wannabe owner of this fine soundtrack should not get discouraged by this old fart. The soundtrack quality is still very good and the album inlay design is superb. For them young’uns who is just getting into Queen, this soundtrack is a perfect introduction to their music and to their mercurial front man.
The soundtrack, while I dare to say is not a definitive Queen greatest hits, hots a collection if songs that will appeal to both old fans and new fans of the band. I quite liked that they put the iconic song Don't Stop Me Now near the very end of the album, as people who are new to the band will probably not stop getting to know the music of the band through the purchase of their music from their fave record stops - online or physical.
I raised my only child on rock. She plays rock. She loves rock. Although she is now more into the music her age, she still plays Queen tunes on her trusted electric. Her fave song? Love Of My Life. I raised her right.
As the old saying goes, they don’t make them as they used to. This applies to rock bands and rock music as well. Sure, Adam Lambert is doing an excellent job working with May and Taylor but there is only one Mercury – and there is only one, original Queen. For this old, balding rock music fan, only the original serves it best.
Interested in getting the soundtrack of this movie in cassette format or CD format? If you are, check-out the vinyl and cassette tape selection on this site. Better yet, give them a ping. The people who run this site will be more than happy to help you out.