More than just that awesome song from Wayne’s World, Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody” is quietly one of the greatest songs of all time. William Shatner has gotten his hand on it and done a cover for his new spoken word album “Seeking Major Tom”, and while of course he hasn’t actually made the song any better (that’s impossible)… believe it or not his rendition does add new depth to Queen’s lyrics in a way I hadn’t really thought possible.
You can listen to it as part of a newly released music video. The video is strange and inexplicable. I guess the premise is: What if two teenagers laid on a hill doing hallucinogenic mushrooms and listening to Shatner’s new album? If they did, it’d be exactly like this:
Here’s why this works for me: It puts new emphasis on Queen’s lyrics which are, simply brilliant. I’ve listened to and sung along to this song a million times before, but I don’t think I’ve ever really just sat and thought about how deep and wonderful the words are. I’m not sure it even really registered with me before as anything other than a great rock song.
Is this a better way to listen to “Bohemian Rhapsody” than the Queen version? Of course not, but this seems almost worthwhile as a companion to their masterwork. It even sort of reminds me of Johnny Cash covering “Hurt” in his waning years. Much as we all want to dismiss Shatner’s whole spoken word obsession, he keeps surprising, over and over again. First it was that kind of wonderful album with Ben Folds, now this. After that “Rocket Man” disaster in the 70s who’d have ever thought this could be good?
If you’re wondering why they went with such a weird and outer-spacey theme for the music video, it’s because that’s kind of the way Queen would have wanted it. Their original “Bohemian Rhapsody” music video has a similar vibe, minus all the computer generated special effects. And, since it’s never a bad time for Queen, here’s their version for comparison: