Tag Archives: Bohemian Rhapsody

Rocking Babies to Sleep…Musically!

11 Dec

Beatles Baby

Let’s face it, babies just do not understand good music. While we adults turn on Beatles’ tunes and pretend we are Paul or John, babies are content with any mellifluous sound that distracts them from the poop they just made in their diapers. Why pick any old pleasant sound, when you can show your baby what “good music” is before they even have the opportunity to grow up and shriek at some teen idol with meticulously practiced dance moves and vocal manipulation?

Meet Rockabye Baby, an extraordinarily creative music project that since 2006 has created CDs of instrumental lullaby versions of popular rock bands. Since the first releases in 2006 (Coldplay, Metallica, and Radiohead), Rockabye Baby has put out nearly 50 albums, the latest a tribute to U2. So, parents, here is the perfect opportunity to introduce babies to “Enter Sandman” without traumatizing them. “Enter Sandman” goes from advising babies to ignore the voices they hear from the beasts under their bed, closet, and head, to an instrumental that, while also rather freaky, is significantly more baby-friendly than Kirk Hammett’s guitar. Hammett, by the way, bought the Metallica version of Rockabye Baby for his son.

Not a Metallica fan. No worries. Bathe your baby with Beatles music. Here is a lullaby version of “All You Need is Love.”

I am caught between singing along and falling asleep. The version is just…so…relaxing. I *yawn* think I am going to just rest my eyes for a little bit. Forget about the baby, I want this as the soundtrack of my nighttime snooze. A parent (supposing the lyric is appropriate) can sing the song to their baby while rocking them to bed. “All You Need is Love” is certainly appropriate. I might not suggest singing the lyrics to the rendition of “Brain Damage” by Pink Floyd. Even though the baby may not understand what you are saying quite yet, it is probably unwise to alert them of the lunatic in the hall.

The Pink Floyd CD (and The Beatles) will certainly be in my future child’s music collection. Start them young, right? Don’t laugh, a child’s impressionable ears are a horrible thing to waste. My father would play “Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2” by Franz Liszt when I was a baby. I consider it one of most incredible pieces of music I have ever heard. It was hardwired into my fledgling brain!

Talking about Rhapsody, why not introduce your baby to Queen. The lullaby version of “Bohemian Rhapsody” may be the best of all the albums.

Buy the CDs at Rockabye Baby.

A New Bohemian Rhapsody

3 Jul

This is American Idol alumnus Adam Lambert performing “Bohemian Rhapsody” with Brian May and Roger Taylor in Kiev, Ukraine a few days ago. Lambert is playing the impossible part of lead-singer Freddie Mercury during a mini-tour with Queen. If anyone is fit to play the part of Mercury, though, it is Adam Lambert. He has been compared with the late theatrical crooner since he auditioned for Season Eight of American Idol with the famous Queen song that he is seen performing above. So, I guess the question is, how does he compare with the original? The answer is simple. He doesn’t. It is impossible to echo Mercury unless you are Mercury. Since that is now impossible, we must rely on videos, like the one behind Queen as they before in Kiev and the one of Mercury I saw during the performance of the play “We Will Rock You” in London this past June. We can ask, though, how he does in his own right? Overall, I’d give him an eight out of 10.

Freddie Mercury’s voice was unparalleled in his particular genre. He was able to sing with a rock grunt and manipulate his voice in such a way that the song came out smooth, effervescent, and effortless. He also had a naturally high voice and demonstrated such extraordinary range that he was able to  successfully hit notes that fell all over the spectrum. In my opinion, his voice may just be the best (if not one of the best) rock voices ever to be recorded. “Bohemian Rhapsody,”  written by Mercury for the 1975 album A Night at the Opera is his chef d’oeuvre. The song is delightfully theatrical and Mercury’s voice shines, ranging from pugnacious to tearful. It is one of the most masterful examples of singing I have ever heard in a rock song. Hence, it is difficult to reproduce on any level.

Adam Lambert certainly has the “type” of voice to sing the song. It actually does have a similar quality to Mercury’s. It is theatrical. That is a good start. But, in a remarkably similar fashion, it is tremendously controlled. Lambert certainly considers his voice an instrument of power. That actually is some of the problem with this rendition. It is a little too grunty. I find that when a singer cannot reach a particular note (whether the note is too high or just too difficult) they grunt and quickly end the note as to not highlight the inability. This most certainly could have been because it was live. Mercury, himself, sang the opening of the song in short bursts similar to Lambert. I am not saying Lambert’s voice is incapable. He has one of the better rock voices out there today (despite the fact that he continues to release mainstream music – he is in the wrong genre!) He is simply not Freddie Mercury. Listen to the famous scaramouche commedia dell’arte operatic part where Lambert drops out in favor of a light show (like in old Queen Rhapsody performances with Mercury) and Mercury is heard on a recording. Yes, it is a mastered recording so that must be taken into account. If you do listen to Mercury perform the song live, though, you can just hear the buttery smoothness of his voice. It is perfection and while Lambert may be one of the only singers out there that can do this song justice anymore, he cannot hit Mercury’s vocal precision.

However, Lambert absolutely destroys the rock breakdown. He flat-out breaks the song open. He also puts on such an incredible show with Brian May on stage. The interactions are fresh and exciting. Lambert hits a high note, owns it, and then continues rising into this classic rock screech that sends shivers down your spine. Then the song quiets down and, in a similar fashion to the London show “We Will Rock You,”  Freddie Mercury’s hologram ends it. That was the best part of the song and Lambert showed he belongs.

I give Lambert an eight because I feel that he held back a little bit – perhaps because he still wants to settle into the role – and I can’t wait to hear him belt it.

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