First, I have to thank Laurence from Sherlock Analyse for this lovely Christmas present; My Queen collection was missing this CD. Solo, the Queen members has underlined their respective skills, their own interests; their aspirations were different. If Freddie is the songwriter of the vondictive Death on Two Legs (dedicated, if I could say so, to the manager they just parted from and not in an easy way), the one who was always the most incisive, it’s Roger Taylor (his son recently said in an interview that Freddie and Roger was Queen’s bad boys). So, even if his stands (prises de positions) are always ferme, corrisive and assumed, his melodies and lyrics are nonetheless most poetic.
this album is 20 year old, but for me, it hasn’t a wrinkle… (some lyrics, like Nazis 1994, are sadly still very actual… but it’s another question). In Revelation, The Key ou Dear Mr. Murdock, Roger Taylor starts a discussion about what was wrong in the 80s and 90s (and is still wrong… bitter assesment) : hunger wordwild, misery, politic, religion and this dear Press ( with Mr Murdock. Brian May had written Scandal for Queen, talking about the pain the press we now call « people » could do, but remember, it was scandal press). Roger didn’t change the world (the Live Aids didn’t change the world… Would the word be change one day ?), but he has the virtue of being honest and being indignant about all these.
Even in romantic song, there is a touch of causticity (in Touch the Sky, I cannot not smile listening to these lyrics : « When you smile, politicians don’t lie »)
However, it’s a sweet melancolia which inhabit this album, with Happiness, the song which gives it its title and doesn’t forget the question mark, cause, if hapiness is something simple, it’s really difficult to reach. Loneliness answers it, as Everybody hurts sometimes, because life isn’t simple and sometimes, we suffer.
there is especially Foreign Sands, beautiful song (one of my favourites) which calls for tolerance, for discovering the world, others, to observe, understand and accept. And last, there is Old Friends written for Freddie Mercury (who passed away in 1991), one of the most wonderful songs about friendship according to me. Roger doesn’t glorify Freddie, doesn’t give him each and every qualities (as we often do when we lost someone, and we are wrong, because we are all humans, even the departed ones…). Above all, Roger tells us that Freddie was human, that they were friends. I insist on the word « friend » so cliched these days. Freddie was ther for Roger, that is what he tells us, there when things were right and where things were wrong, there for laughing and crying. The last words of the song are for me the most beautiful declaration you could do to a friend.
Sleep in peace old friend, for me you’ll never die.
The Best thing I can say, after all this time, is
You were a real friend, of mine.
This song touches me enourmously, because of its simplicity. I hope one day I could pay my tribute this way, for all they gave me – inspiration – and I hope, if ever their eyes fall on this tribute, they would smile like this song makes me smile, even if the tears are not far behind.
Roger Taylor is not only Queen’s drummer. Roger is not only the one of the four with a corrosive humour who loved to be the naughty boy. Roger is a brilliant lyricist, a man who explains his ideas, directly, but with much more sensibility than you could guess. I haven’t had the occasion to listen to his new album, but Happiness is already a beautiful outcome.