Tuesday, 5 August 2014

Supersonic Man

Once upon a time a friend of mine posted on his blog about how the lyrics to Queen songs don't make sense. It was about 7 years ago and it's not that I want to give you the impression I hold a grudge, but I definitely need to address a few of his misconceptions.

The song in question was "Don't stop me now" and his objections included the one that sticks out in my mind:

I'm burnin' through the skies yeah 
Two hundred degrees
That's why they call me Mister Fahrenheit

He stated that there was no link between 200 degrees and Fahrenheit - that the measure you use doesn't affect the actual temperature, and furthermore that things burning through the sky do not necessarily hit 200 degrees by any measure.

To which I am obliged to respond: It's almost certainly a pun, numpty. Fahren"height"; because it's a high temperature and the reference to burning in the sky.

I'm trav'ling at the speed of light
I wanna make a supersonic woman of you

Well, he also mentioned that supersonic is the speed of sound, not the speed of light. Lets face it mate, anyone going at the speed of light has broken the sound barrier and is therefore supersonic. That's just a given.

Now my favourite verse and I'm making up his objections because I can't remember them and I really just want to talk about this verse

I'm a shooting star leaping through the skies
Like a tiger defying the laws of gravity
I'm a racing car passing by like Lady Godiva
I'm gonna go go go
There's no stopping me

Lady Godiva rode naked through the streets of London a few centuries back. I think she would have a) been determined not to stop until she'd reached a place of safety and b) everyone would have been looking at her in the same way modern people gawp at passing racecars.

The first two lines are very interesting. They scan well, and they fit in with the other themes of the song (flying through skies, power, defiance, etc) but if we use the same treatment that the other lines earned and really think about how it could be true, it's very simple. He's not comparing a tiger to a star,

He's comparing himself to a star; then to a tiger. Almost like bullet points.

And isn't that the best thing about this song? It's an anthem of empowerment from one of the greatest writers of all time and only becomes more impressive when you consider his personal trials and how he lived up to the meaning behind these words in the face of them.

It's humorous, intelligent, defiant, strong, proud and beautiful. All the things I imagine the man himself was.

And anyone who has any kind of logical or pedantic objections to the lyrics is welcome to express them. In about a decade I'll respond.


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