One of my earliest memories from my childhood is sitting beside my sisters in front of my mom’s stereo and singing along to oldies music with toy microphones. My mom would let us choose what disc to play, and out of what seemed to be a hundred CDs my sisters and I always found ourselves going back to Queen’s A Day at the Races album. From “Tie Your Mother Down” to “Good Old-Fashioned Lover Boy” we would dance around and pretend to be on American Idol, but once “Somebody to Love” started to play we would calm down and belt out the lyrics from the bottoms of our hearts. Although I did not understand the meaning behind the lyrics, I could understand the emotions being depicted in Freddie Mercury’s voice and the somber, melodic track in the background. “Somebody to Love” is one of my personal favorite songs because of its poetic lyrics, personal significance, and incredible instrumentation.
Lyrics can either make or break a song, and for “Somebody to Love” it is the reason for its adulation. Modern lyricists attempt to incorporate poetry into their songs, but Queen was one step ahead of them; the lyrics reflect a man calling out to God, asking why he works so hard, but can't find love. At the end of the song, he finds hope and decides he will not accept defeat. The entire song is a story that reflects on perseverance and resilience against our own inner turmoil. While the song’s plot is based upon an unknown man, the lyrics are used to portray Freddie Mercury’s own life and struggles. Freddie Mercury’s sexuality is now common knowledge but at the time this song was written he was closeted and fighting an internal war. Through the lyrics of this song he was able to tell his audience the commotion that takes place in his head without revealing his sexual orientation. Songs, and literature in general, were made as a way of self-expression and “Somebody to Love” was exactly that; we are able to explore Freddie Mercury’s most intimate thoughts and feelings by listening to this song which makes it so incredibly unique.
Another reason I love “Somebody to Love” is because it touches on several topics that reflect back on my own struggles. At the beginning of the song, Freddie Mercury says that he dies a little bit every morning and can barely stand on his feet which is suggesting to depression and hopelessness. Everyone can relate to feeling overwhelmingly in despair and I am all too familiar with this. During my Freshman year of high school I fell into a deep depression after my uncle who raised me passed away. Waking up in the morning became excruciatingly difficult because I just wanted to sleep all day and my feet beneath me felt as if they could give out at any moment. The songs narrator goes on to question his religious faith because he feels that there is no relief to the work-filled life he is living. Similar to the narrator in this song I have struggled with religious identity throughout the course of my life because of my beliefs and sexuality. I grew up hearing that there is a reason for everything and at times I would pray for answers about why I was so different than other people my age. As I got older, I realized that it's okay to be different just as the man in the story does. At the ending of the song the lyrics become more triumphant, the narrator says, “Got no feel, I got no rhythm; I just keep losing my beat; I’m OK, I'm alright, I ain't gonna face no defeat; I just gotta get out of this prison cell; One day I'm gonna be free.” I can reflect this back to my own life because there are times I feel like giving up but a switch flips and I can clearly see that there is reasons to keep persevering.
As someone who has a passion for music, I greatly appreciate the music track in “Somebody to Love” and think it ties the song together. At the beginning of the song it is very gospel-like which correlates with the theme of questioning one's faith. It starts of very slow and graceful when talking about depression to set a mood, which causes the listener to feel the same way the musician does. It remains very mellow until it gets to the bridge and then the rock genre kicks in. Towards the middle of the song there is an intricate guitar solo, as most of Queen’s songs have, that sets up the chorus. A unique characteristic about this song’s music is that it crescendo or decrescendo when the tone changes throughout the entire song. For example, at the beginning of the song it says, “I work hard every day of my life, I work 'til I ache in my bones.
At the end (at the end of the day), I take home my hard-earned pay all on my own.” At this part it has a soft and melodic sound but when it goes on to say “I get down on my knees and I start to pray, 'til the tears run down from my eyes. Lord... can anybody find me somebody to love?” it gets louder and faster paced until it abruptly gets soft again. The change in tempo and volume causes a more impactful effect on the listener.
“Somebody to Love” will always be one of my favorite songs because of its artistic lyrics, relatability, and its elaborate melodies. The memories and feelings connected to this song make it extremely personally important to me and I would recommend it to anyone. There is a different message and meaning to take out of this song from everyone who listens. If you would like to contemplate the purpose of life or just want to listen to an eccentric song, “Somebody to Love” is the song for you.