Bohemian Rhapsody versus the Evie Trilogy
Why compare these two tracks in particular? Well they both are classics of the same era (1974 and 1975 respectively) and both can be described as three-songs-in-one (in the case of the Evie Trilogy cut across three separate tracks).
Why is it controversial to say that the Evie Trilogy is better than Bohemian Rhapsody? Bohemian Rhapsody is universally lauded as one of the all-time greatest songs while there are many who will say “Evie who?” It helps to be Australian to know the Evie Trilogy – it was originally done by Stevie Wright (a big figure in Aussie popular music at the time) and was recently redone (very faithfully) by a hastily constructed band – ‘The Wrights’ – comprising musicians from major Australian bands of this time. In the rest of the world many will never have come across this track. The surprising thing is that I am saying it and am known among friends as a big Queen fan. I am. I have even been a groupy (only in the sense of regularly seeing shows of a local Queen cover band). I think Queen is the best band ever but I can still say that Bohemian Rhapsody is far from the best song ever (one definitely gets over-exposed to it).
So why is the Evie Trilogy better than Bohemian Rhapsody? I find the mix and sequence of musical forms explored in Evie more satisfying than those in Bohemian Rhapsody. Also Evie tells a coherent story anyone can comprehend while Bohemian Rhapsody is - well - who knows what.
The Queen track starts with a piano ballad then changes into mock operetta and concludes with some hard rock. So it starts slow and soppy then gets quick and silly (honestly who is into operetta these days – turn off your Gilbert & Sullivan CD while I’m writing at you!) then finally gets hard and fast. I suspect that most fans of the song are really just into the last bit so they can head bang like in Wayne's World and are prepared to sway loyally through the rest of it.
In contrast the Stevie Wright track starts with hard rock (Part 1) then changes to a piano ballad (Part 2) then concludes with something I am tempted to call soul (Part 3) with the vocals and electric organ in particular giving it a righteous feel. So it starts energetic (Part 1) then gives you a bit of a rest (musically) while elevating the emotional content (Part 2) and finally brings back the musical energy while intensifying the emotion even further (Part 3).
My comments on emotional content need elaborating. Evie tells a story in three parts. Part 1 is the story of a teen date sung by the boy saying how hot his girl is and imploring her to come have some fun on the town. It is raunchy and exuberant. In Part 2 we discover they are still together - it is a love song declaring how much for the better Evie has changed the life of the singer and making reference to the fact that they are expecting. It is soppy and sentimental. Part 3 then brings on the 'shock horror' part of the story - Evie dies in childbirth leaving the singer anguished and shattered. It all fits together and takes the listener on a vicarious ride into a whirlwind tale of life and love and death.
Compare this with Bohemian Rhapsody. What is it all about? What thematically brings it all together? Who can tell? Who even cares? We all just mechanically chant 'Galileo Galileo' for the sheer heck of it.
So that is why I think the Evie Trilogy is better than Bohemian Rhapsody. Anyone care to comment?
Labels: Music Related Stuff