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PLEASE NOTE THAT THIS FORUM IS TAKEN FROM PREVIOUS VERSION OF QUEEN SONGS SITE.
Path: Queen Songs - Forum - Song Analysis: Better Lyricists !?Bookmark and Share

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Bruno: Better Lyricists !?07 Jan 2004 19:03
I read somewhere on this forum, i think it's on a topic that compares Beatles and Queen, that, and correct me if I'm wrong, the Beatles were better lyricist than Queen. I think it's totaly apsurd. I'm mean, OK, Lennon did Imagine, but most of the lyrics was from Ono's book. Can you imagine Beatles writing the lyrics of The Prophet Song, or Seaside Rendevouz or Death on two legs ? The best lyricist of the Beatles is Lennon, and I think his Across The Universe is beautiful, but he also wrote Ask Me Why . . . On the other hand Freddie always wrote clever lryics like in My Fairy King, Fairy Feller . . . What do you think ?
1.PD 07 Jan 2004 22:38
Speaking english not very well I'm definitely not the most competent guy to judge lyricism.

Death On Two Legs is definitely more aggressive than anything Beatles ever wrote.
On the other end Love Of My Life (not just lyrics-wise) is more sentimental than any Beatles song. Beatles are said damn good lyricists and I tend to agree with them.
Many complain about bad/dumb Queen lyrics: for example Fat Bottomed Girls, Sweet Lady, Don't Try Suicide. George Starostin (well respected online reviewer) hates Queen lyrics, and says that they are unhonest, pretentious, whatever, but he is admittedly biased against Queen.

Fortunately I never cared for lyrics too much, so I can enjoy these song much.


As for Seaside Rendezvous point: there are also some Beatles lyrics (eg The Walrus) that one can't imagine as penned by any Queen member.
2.Bruno 08 Jan 2004 22:06
PD, you said that Death on two legs is definitely more aggressive than anything Beatles ever wrote. But just recall How do you sleep from the Lennon's Imagine. The song has a pretty much the same message as DOTL but DOTL is done more classy, elegant, if you know what I mean.
3.Sebastian 10 Jan 2004 01:19
I don't think Paul's or Ringo's lyrics are too deep or ... poetic. John and George, from their Dylan influence, are very good lyricists. About Queen, I like all four styles indeed. Freddie is often considered a throwaway lyricist (Bicycle and Body Language being examples) but I do think he wrote very wise poetry, he said they were throwaways just for avoiding questions about their meaning.
4.BrianMay 10 Jan 2004 03:39
For me lyrics are important, if the song is good, and the lyrics are bad, it can ruin the song for me. Even 1 or 2 little lines can ruin, or make a song great. (the awful 'you call me sweet like i'm some kind of cheese' line distroyed Sweet Lady for me)

I think Queen are much better lyricists then the Beatles. I think from the Beatles the best writer was George, and then Paul. Paul wrote simple, but very clever lyrics (Please, Please me)

As for Queen. I think Brian was the best lyricist, with his poetic, Shakespearean writing (White Queen, Someday one Day, Dream of Thee, Another World ) and very few songs which just tell a story (Sleeping on the sidewalk).

Freddie was like Sebastian already said, more of a throwaway writer with simple lyrics (Bicycle Race, Don't stop me now, ), but he had some poetic lyrics aswell (March of the black Queen, My fairy King, Jealousy)

I rate John as high as Freddie, Although John didn't write a lot of deep stuff, his 'throwaway' lyrics were, in my opinion,  much better then Freddie's. (You and I, Need your loving tonight)

Roger, He also wrote good. but simple simple throwaway stuff, But also some really good stuff that makes you think (Nazis 1994, Say it isn't true). And In my opinion Roger has the most forced lyrics. That is, bad lyrics that sounds like they were just throwed in to make it rhyme:

for example:
- We don't make ships and we don't make cars
  But we look real good hangin' out in bars  

5.Sebastian 10 Jan 2004 12:20
Please Please Me is John's

I don't think Fred's early work is a throwaway, but the stuff from Jazz onwards certainly is. Most of it I mean.
6.BrianMay 10 Jan 2004 15:12
I believe Paul says in one of the Anthology dvds: I was very into doing things with 2 words with different meanings, or something similar to that
7.Sebastian 10 Jan 2004 15:19
JOHN 1980: "'Please Please Me' is my song completely. It was my attempt at writing a Roy Orbison song, would you believe it? I wrote it in the bedroom in my house at Menlove Avenue, which was my auntie's place. I heard Roy Orbison doing 'Only The Lonely' or something. That's where that came from. And also I was always intrigued by the words of 'Please Lend Your Ears To My Pleas,' a Bing Crosby song. I was always intrigued by the double use of the word 'please.' So it was a combination of Bing Crosby and Roy Orbison."
8.BrianMay 10 Jan 2004 18:29
ah yeah, that interview is also on the Anthology dvd, sorry, my mistake. I thought it was paul
9.PD 10 Jan 2004 21:44
Beatles were into wordplays much. Paul or John said once they used wordplays to "play for the market".
10.Sebastian 11 Jan 2004 13:27
the wordplay is evident in 'Hello Goodbye', maybe because Paul wanted it as the MMT single
11.Sebastian 08 May 2004 18:44
Note that, now that I think of it, the phylosophy of the queenies as lyricist is very similar to the way each one worked as musician:

Roger wasn`t at all into technical stuff, but he was very creative, and did some nice not-too-deep things. Of course, lyrically, I feel he had a very rich vocabulary (I think he used/uses to read a lot, maybe that`s why) and came up with interesting rhymes. The lyrics of his last two solo albums are awesome, and very personal. He went way beyond the car/blonde "crap" and went into more real stuff.

John was more elegant and sophisticated, I guess he re-wrote his lines a lot. I love some classic statements of his "what made you change what did I say...". The whole seven days concept is very well done.

Brian wasn`t at all into complex lyrics imo. He just used current vocabulary (as well as rather intuitive and simple musical devices) but only with that he created some amazing stuff. Note the whole `Hammer To Fall` thing, or `Save Me`.

Fred had some really high-class stuff. `Love Of My Life` for example: "everything`s all by the way"... and his epic stories. He could have easily been a poet or a novel writer. I don`t buy the throwaway label he`s been put. I`m pretty sure he just said that because he didn`t want to be asked about his lyrics. And I agree, if I`m ever asked about who I wrote `Out Of Our Minds` for I`ll just avoid the question. If I`m ever asked about my song `Martha`... well, it`s pretty obvious that it was for a girl, named Martha... but I`ll say no more
12.BrianMay 09 May 2004 08:55
I think Brian's lyrics are very poetic aswell (Like Freddie's early years)

But ofcourse the question 'who is a better lyricist' is just a matter of taste.
Some may think Fred's lyrics are great, Some people might think they suck.
Some people may think Rogers lyrics of the last 2 solo albums are great, some people might think they sound forced.

Taste is a wonderful think innit?
13.Sebastian 09 May 2004 10:16
Depends on the style actually. Brian was very good in some poetry, I agree ("I advertise a soul for sale or rent"). In the matter of epic stories Fred went definitely much further. Although Brian covered much more the sci-fi part.
14.BrianMay 09 May 2004 10:24
and i'm sure Roger was master in writing songs about blondes, cars and his childhood
15.Sebastian 09 May 2004 17:52
I don`t think so. One thing is to do something a lot, and other is to do it cleverly. I don`t mean Rog`s lyrics are bad, what I mean is that they`re not that great in terms of litherature. While Brian`s sci-fi lyrics are awesome ("don`t you hear my call though you`re many years away... in the land that our grandchildren knew") and Fred`s mystique ones are marvelous as well ("Serpent of the Nile, relieve me for a while, cast me from your spell, let me go..."), Roger didn`t write anything deep about women, cars or his past. In a similar way, some love songs from Freddie weren`t deep at all (`CLTCL`, if I dare call it a love-song), while others were - `Love Of My Life`, YTMBA -.

I`m not discussing if they`re likeable or not, I mean that their poetic quality (which is something you can to some extent measure) is excellent. In the same way, I can say I don`t like Fairy Feller`s Mastrstroke, musically, and taste isn`t measurable in "right" or "wrong". But what you can measure is that the song is clever, and it is. Btw it was just an example, I do like that song :)
16.BrianMay 10 May 2004 23:31
Oh yeah, I totally agree.

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