Though it is clear that many songs have great impact on an audience, very few are as musically astute and brilliantly constructed as Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody,” written and arranged by lead vocalist and pianist, Freddie Mercury. Perhaps because of its intense subsequent commercialization, the musical elements of the song have often been overlooked; however, cautious listening to the piece demonstrates that the lyrics and musical elements fuse together and complement each other to create a whole much larger than the sum of its parts. Throughout the song, which is broken up into three distinct sections, each part carries the message of the song but in a different light. This song is one that is very atypical of its genre. Though it has rock and classical elements in it, it also has a very untraditional opera section. Though the meaning of the song has never been overly explained, analysis of the lyrical content as well as the way the music is presented leaves the song open for interpretation as a song about death and the afterlife. The words “Too late, my time has come…Mama, I don’t want to die” in the first section of the song indicates that the protagonist of the song is facing death, either at his own hands or from an external force that is beyond his control. The notion of a suicide is plausible due to the increased concentration of the line “nothing really matters,” which is repeated several times throughout the song and is prevalent both in the beginning section as well as in the concluding one. It seems that the implication here is that life has been recognized as unimportant, that human existence is seen as trivial and meaningless. The fact Mercury includes the line, “I sometimes wish I’d never been born at all” supports this further, and the clear dichotomy present in the second section also hints at an internal conflict of the protagonist (perhaps in the decision to live or die). The first section of the song is reminiscent of a...
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