Queen have the kind of back catalogue that most bands can only dream. So, having released their own cover of “The Prophet’s Song”, we got Cellar Darling to pick their Ultimate Queen Playlist.
1. Death On Two Legs
Anna: I never knew what this song was actually about until I read up on it. But I could always feel the harshness of the lyrics also being portrayed by the music. Also being on the rather heavy side, this along with the piano arpeggio in the beginning and Freddie‘s trademark vocal layers lets you hear where bands like Muse got their main inspiration from. The lyrics are honest and daring, I admire Freddie for having the courage to truly sing his heart out, without being shy or scared of the consequences. The song is basically a hate letter to a former manager who took advantage of the band.
2. I’m In Love With My Car
Merlin: Quite simply, this is possibly the most bad-ass song ever written. At least if you’re a drummer, that is. Roger Taylor is singing on this one, and his voice is pure attitude — and nowhere is this more apparent than when he pulled it off live, while pounding the drums. I’ve listened to this song a thousand times and I’ll never tire of watching live versions on YouTube.
3. Under Pressure
Anna: I can‘t imagine anyone not knowing this song. As soon as the bassline begins you’re pretty much hooked already. What I like most about the song is the arrangement. Two of the main elements are as simple as can be, but absolutely genius – the bass line and piano hook. And then Freddie just does his thing as always, sometimes following the rules of basic songwriting and then drifting off again completely. The song takes quite a turn and evolves from the simplicity, taking you into a different sphere, drifting off into an epic, progressive journey until we eventually arrive at the beginning again. The Queen trademark, unique and unmatched.
4. I Want It All
Merlin: Personally, I rarely focus on the lyrics of a song. For me, music is more about energy and about a feeling rather than anything conscious. This one, however, hits home both by being an incredible rock song (the beginning of the single version is about as heavy as it gets, in my ears) and by reflecting my general attitude towards life, which is how I pulled off becoming a musician. So that’s why it has a lot of meaning to me.
5. Ogre Battle
Anna: I picked this song because of its heavyness and its lyrics. My musical career kicked off in the folk/pagan metal genre, so I‘m very familiar with heavy riffs accompanying tales of otherworldly creatures and fantastical tales. And when I listen to this track I can’t help but feel that Queen just once again do it better than everybody else. The riffs, the intensity of the storytelling add up to something truly authentic, this song is one of many that puts them ahead of their time.
6. Another One Bites The Dust
Ivo: The simple yet powerful bass line combined with Freddies rhythmic singing got me hooked the first time I heard the song. And even when I didn’t hear the song for years, it sometimes just comes into my mind, out of nowhere.
7. Who Wants To Live Forever
Merlin: When thinking about this list, “Who Wants To Live Forever” immediately came to mind. I love the vibe of this songs, which brings me back to what I said earlier – music just has to feel right, and this does. It also means something in terms of my relationship to the band Queen as a lifelong fan — Freddy’s untimely death is a tremendous tragedy, always struck me as incredibly sad, and I always connected this song to that fact. It’s at this point while choosing my nominees for our list that I realised I keep picking Brian May’s songwriting.
8. We Are The Champions
Ivo: The song you probably hear on most sports events around the world. I’m not a singer, but the catchiness of the iconic chorus is probably my most (drunk) sung melody ever.
9. Bohemian Rhapsody
Anna: This one gets an special mention of sorts, because its status as one of the greatest rock songs of all times is indisputable, but I feel it’s been getting some undeserved hate in recent years precisely because it is so universally loved. It’s become kind of a hipster thing so it’s almost lame to name this song in a “Top” list. But here it is, as it should be.
10. The Prophet’s Song
Anna: Since we‘ve covered this song it‘s become my favourite of them all. As soon as you start working on taking the song apart, trying to make out and replicate what’s going on harmonically, you begin to notice the genius the composition and arrangement. Especially as a singer. Freddie’s style of layering and adding harmonies is unmatched in my opinion, and this song is one of the best examples for it.
Ivo: I did not know the song before we decided to cover it. It took me a while to get into it, but now I can say it definitely grew to be one of my favourite Queen songs.
Merlin: I grew up with rock music because my dad is a fanatic vinyl collector (he owns thousands), so I loved listening to music on his stereo while looking at the artwork and liner notes. That’s how I discovered A Night At The Opera, and it became one of my all-time favourite albums. I think it’s one of the greatest rock albums ever, in fact. Something truly magical must have been going on when they wrote and recorded this one. “The Prophet’s Song” was always one of my favourites, and when we decided to record three covers as bonus tracks, each of one picking one meaningful song, I chose this one. Not only does it mean a lot to me personally, but I think it fits our band very well – lyrically, stylistically, with the slightly folky touch, and in the way it does not conform to any standards. Also, I just knew Anna could pull off the vocal solo, and she certainly has.
Check out Cellar Darling’s version of “The Prophet’s Song: