I’m sorry to say I had rock bottom expectations before seeing Bohemian Rhapsody with my sisterinos last night, opting for a cheap Tuesdays sesh after Ma and Pa had raved on and on about it over the weekend. Directed by Bryan Singer (of Usual Suspects fame), the film was one big roller-coaster that never took its foot off the gas.
What is truly remarkable about the life and times of Freddie Mercury and his merry band called Queen is that they are rarely, if ever, fêted in contemporary culture. Yet all the same their hits are as pervasive as ever, haunting dive bars, supermarkets, mechanic shops and house parties.
How is it that music from half a century ago transcends generations and remains as relevant as ever? Because the British quartet always maintained an open door policy. They didn’t just want people to lose themselves in their music. They gave people a reason to become an honorary member, to pick up an air guitar and belt out the lyrics right alongside them.
Debriefing on the drive home, Natasha, my twenty-seven year old sister, was amazed to discover she knew the lyrics verbatim to every featured hit while Hunter (sixteen) confessed that the boys in her clique love to scream along to Bohemian Rhapsody at weekend gatherings.
While it’s true to say the legacy of Queen is rather singular in the annals of history, their mission statement is far from exclusive. If you want to cultivate work that transcends a time and place you have to tap into the core needs and wants of human beings. You need to be willing to throw off the current zeitgeist and put it all on the line in service to something greater.
Don’t give audiences a reason to mute your voice. Empower them with the ingredients to your secret sauce and they’ll worship you to the end of time.