I miss Arena Rock. I’m not talking about The Stones just doing their thing in Wembley or Journey causing the lighters to pop up singing “Faithfully.” No, in a single syllable, I miss Queen. That band epitomized the over the top, thematic, complete celebration of Arena Rock with its heavy guitar, even heavier topics, its struggle and its sense of camaraderie, that together, we could be the Champions, we could prove to all the world that we were right and righteous and everything else that went with being Champions.
Queen is any marching band or sports teams soundtrack. Playing for the game? You better know one of the following: Another One Bites the Dust, We Are the Champions, We Will Rock You. Special Kudos if you roll it into a medley.
No other band has or ever shall be able to recreate Queen either lyrically (um, Fat Bottomed Girls), musically (Brian May, anyone?), or theatrically. Mainly, and smartly as the surviving members of the band have been so gracious to understand, because no one will ever measure up to Freddie Mercury. His voice soared while his presence commanded, even until the very end. He’s left still a hole in the musical fabric that will never be healed. We Miss You Freddie!
But at long last, there seems to be a band dedicating itself and its albums to the resurgence of the very spirit of the champion, the underdog, the fight, and the entertainment that Freddie embodied so well. Ladies and Gents, I give you Muse! I loved Showbiz with its moodiness and its rock edge. Their next few albums didn’t quite grab me back until “Time is Running Out” from the Absolution album.
But Black Holes and Revelations took it into the ionosphere with “Knights of Cydonia.” Even the video seemed to announce their conviction to the cause to bring the theater and pomp back to rock. Spaghetti western in a rock song? Why didn’t Queen think of this?! Throw on a song calling out the W (“Take a Bow”), and what do you know? I am loving it. They’ve gone from emo rock band to kick ass, with carefully constructed image to complement the music.
The first song “Uprising” off the soon-to-be released new album The Resistance cements them in their new genre of what I like to call Victory Rock. And it’s all about the big guitars, the big theatrics, the big chorus. ‘Cause no one’s going to take me alive, dammit! I’m flipping the switch and opening up my third eye. They will not control me. Not while my MP3 player is blaring Muse at me.
The Resistance is due out Sept 14th and is available for Pre-order. “Uprising” is available now on iTunes for download.