The Countertop Chronicles

"Run by a gun zealot who's too blinded by the NRA" - Sam Penney of

Monday, May 24, 2004

Monday Song Lyric

Today's song lyric has a double meaning for me. I just sold my Saab 9-3 SE - the first big purchase I made after graduating law school and the sign (to me at least) that I had made it. I had always wanted to get a Saab growing up - and still think at some point I will purchase an older Saab and fix it up. However, the 9-3 ended up being essentially a lemon. The first year was great, but after that I was looking at 1000 to 1500 every spring and every fall on some repair or another - AC compressor, turbo charger, ball joints, information display screen, computer components, etc. It just got to be too much of a hassle - and Virginia was insisting on appraising it for far more than it was worth (the last property tax appraisal was for over twice what i eventually sold it for).

So, while I am happy to have sold the car, I still suffer from a sense of melancholy about the whole ordeal. We haven't purchased another car yet but I suspect that my wife will not let me have a "fun" car for some time now. A period of my life is over.

Notwithstanding the mechanical problems, the car was a beauty. It was fast . . . very fast. It handled like a dream. It was comfortable and the leather seats cradled the driver perfectly.

In its honor - today's song lyric is the classic Queen song I'm In Love With My Car.

I'm In Love With My Car is a rocking number, recently picked up by Jaguar for use in their new commercials, from Queen's masterpiece A Night At The Opera. Most famous for the ode to over the top rock and roll music excess Bohemian Rhapsody, a Night At The Opera for me clearly shines as Queens best album.

Here is what the iTunes music store has to say about it
Though they began their career practicing an artier, more theatrical variant on the Led Zeppelin heavy rock sound, Queen was always capable of much more. Ultimately, Freddie and the boys were popsters at heart, and capable ones to boot. A NIGHT AT THE OPERA is where they begin to show their eclecticism and compositional facility. The album title is probably a reference to the FM rock anthem "Bohemian Rhapsody," which begins as an existential ballad before moving into a mock-operatic section featuring scores of overdubbed Freddie Mercury's.

"Rhapsody" is just the tip of the iceberg here. "Lazy on a Sunday Afternoon" is a music hall ditty that owes a debt to the Kinks. "'39" is a surprisingly poignant folk rocker written and sung by Brian May. "Your My Best Friend" is pure '70s AM melodic pop. Queen even ventures in vaudeville territory (given Mercury's show biz leanings, not as much of a stretch as one might think) on the fatalist, old-timey "Good Company." There are several souped-up rockers here as well, but it's A NIGHT AT THE OPERA'S winning stylistic experimentation that makes it a milestone in Queen history.

While a compentent review, it in no way touches upon the significance of this record for me. When it was released in 1975 and my father purchased it I was 4 years old. I soon found myself listening to this album continually for a couple of years. It became the earliest soundtrack to my life (at least side 1) and started me on a life long journey of finding newer and ever more eclectic music to enjoy. Still, I always find time for the basics. And this is it for me.

The opening track, Death On Two Legs, is heavy metal at its mid 70s best with an erie (D minor) rolling piano intro that is soon overtaken by the pulsating distorted thumping bass of John Deacon and power chords of Brian May before his blistering lead hits. I didn't like this song as a 5 year old, but as I grew into a metal head in the 80s, this was the threshold all others needed to pass. Lazy On A Sunday Afternoon and Seaside Rendevouz delighted my 5 year old senses and was as accessible for a child as any Sesame Street Song. They still send shivers up my spine. Your My Best Friend was instantly recognizable to me as one of the more popular songs of the era and still strikes me as one of the better pop songs to come out of the 70s. Sweet Lady, a top notch arena rocker, improves exponentially on the efforts of Boston and really created the genre. '39 is as good of a folk rocker as any released in the time period.

I never really was a fan of the flip side or Bohemian Rhapsody. While I can respect it, I find the second side mostly a distraction for the ground breaking work on the first side. Bohemian Rhapsody of course is a rock and roll juggernaut (even without Wayne and Garth's assistance). Still it pales (for me) in comparison to the influence of the first side.

Perhaps my favorite song on the album, is of course, today's Song Lyric. In Love With My Car, written by drummer Roger Taylor who also wrote the mega hit Radio GaGa ten years later, was originally released as the B-Side to Bohemian Rahpsody (on which he provided the high notes). Roger Taylor along with Brian May founded the band Smile in 1968 and quickly embarked on a tour in support of Pink Floyd. In 1969 the third member of the band introduced Roger and Brian to Farookh "Freddie" Bulsara and by 1971 he had joined the band and changed his name to Mercury as Smile became Queen. John Deacon, the fourth and final member, joined shorlty afterward.

I'm In Love With My Car Lyrics
Words and music by Roger Taylor

The machine of a dream
Such a clean machine
With the pistons a pumpin'
And the hub caps all gleam

When I'm holdin' your wheel
All I hear is your gear
When my hand's on your grease gun
Oh it's like a disease son

I'm in love with my car
Gotta feel for my automobile
Get a grip on my boy racer rollbar
Such a thrill when your radials squeal

Told my girl I'll have to forget her
Rather buy me a new carburetor
So she made tracks sayin'
This is the end now
Cars don't talk back
They're just four wheeled friends now

When I'm holdin your wheel
All I hear is your gear
When I'm cruisin' in overdrive
Don't have to listen to no run of the mill talk jive

I'm in love with my car
Gotta feel for my automobile
I'm in love with my car
String back gloves in my automolove


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