Lady Gaga Might Front Queen. Zombie Freddie Mercury Purchases Gun

Are you serious, Queen?

I guess I can understand the thinking — Gaga wants to go in a rock direction, Brian May needs suggestions on how to update his Poodle/Yahoo Serious look. Gaga is “weird” and sings with attitude. Freddie Mercury was “weird” and sang with attitude. Gaga pawns herself off as a gay rights pioneer (seriously, what is she pioneering there?). Freddie Mercury was an actual gay rights pioneer. Gaga has a pointy face. Freddie Mercury had a pointy face. If we’re playing some word-matching game (and does anyone really question whether or not the music industry works at a much deeper level than this?), there are enough words about Lady Gaga that match up with words about Freddie Mercury to make an argument made for this being a good idea.

Nostalgia synergy is a tricky endeavor. The current act (Gaga) has to somehow update the old (Queen) and energize their songs into something new and relevant. This math can work, as it did with Amy Winehouse, and, to a lesser extent, Cat Power’s covers album. But the current act has to be more interesting than the old. When the math doesn’t work, blasphemous diarrhea gets squirted all over the listening public. It’s been fifteen years since the Counting Crows played a similar word game and blindsided Joni Mitchell with their version of “Big Yellow Taxi.” Joni is still wandering some desert in Arizona, searching for broken teeth and what’s left of her dignity. I’m not even going to comment on Beyonce’s version of “At Last,” except to say that if I were to pick a soundtrack for the Rapture, I’d pick Beyonce’s “At Last,” for the moment when the Beast with the 666 tattoo breaks through the earth and starts eating everyone. And, honestly, we’d deserve it for letting that god-awful woman ruin one of the most important songs in the history of American music. At least, we’d deserve it a little.

Gaga-as-Mercury would somehow be worse. I suppose I can see how the first song might sound okay — maybe a slowed-down version of “Killer Queen,” or “We Are the Champions,” but where do you go from there? What happens when the novelty wears off and you realize that what you’re watching is a moderately talented singer, who, without shame or modesty, is butchering all your favorite songs? How long before Gaga goes back to Joe Calderone and the show devolves into a bad Freddie Mercury impression? And once radio starts blasting Gaga’s version of Queen songs everywhere,

Queen, if you must re-boot, here are two suggestions. First, if it’s a Freddie Mercury impression you want, just give the job to Adam Lambert. At least that guy can sing.

Second suggestion. Capitalize on your massive popularity in the Philippines and hire Jovit Baldivino, winner of Pilipinas Got Talent.

Filed Under: Beyonce, Divas, Lady Gaga, Queen

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Jay Caspian Kang is a Grantland contributor. His debut novel, The Dead Do Not Improve, is on sale now.

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