KEEP ON WITH THE FORCE, DON'T STOP: Pitchfork goes Top 200 on Songs of the 1970s, and this is a lovely meditation on #15, "Bohemian Rhapsody":
And yet, at its heart, “Bohemian Rhapsody” holds a secret: What the Bismillah is it all about? For decades, the band guarded it fiercely, demurring only to say that it was the composer’s personal business. Ultimately, his lover Jim Hutton confessed that it is the singer’s coming out.
Mercury sings to his previous sexual partner/flatmate/best friend Mary Austin that he “just killed a man”—his old hetero self—via his first gay affair; the rift it causes is so traumatic that he momentarily comes to the conclusion that many LGBT people—who even today experience rates of suicide far exceeding their straight brothers and sisters—still at times reach: “I sometimes wish I’d never been born at all.”
But Mercury escapes this torment, and plunges himself into a world of man-on-man masculinity embodied by the kick-ass section so beloved by Wayne and Garth and headbangers everywhere. As for the self-hatred and societal obstacles, he gets himself right outta there, and ascends to a place where he can be truly free. Across every religion, that’s the very definition of heaven, of divinity, and that’s why the most secretly gay song of all time is also one of the most universal. It’s the story of Mercury learning to love himself. Who can’t relate to that?