The Joy of Experiencing Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody for the Very First Time: Watch Three Reaction Videos

Remem­ber when you first encoun­tered Queen’s “Bohemi­an Rhap­sody”?

I sus­pect many of us don’t. It’s not the Kennedy assas­si­na­tion. Nor does it take long for Fred­dy Mer­cury’s soar­ing vocals and mon­u­men­tal lyrics to leach into the blood stream, cre­at­ing the impres­sion that we were born know­ing every note, every word, every stag­ger­ing tran­si­tion…

(Note to those unfa­mil­iar with this impos­si­ble to cat­e­go­rize 1975 mas­ter­piece: Go give it a lis­ten RIGHT NOW, while the rest of us wait for you here. Here’s the offi­cial video. But first, set up what­ev­er equip­ment you need to film your reac­tion in real time, as Penn­syl­va­nia based YouTu­ber AFRO REACT, does above.)

He’ll def­i­nite­ly remem­ber where he was when he first heard this won­der­ful, sem­i­nal song, as will over 1000 view­ers, most of whom gave him an encour­ag­ing thumbs up.

So what if he mis­pro­nounces both “bohemi­an” and “rhap­sody”?  That he’s unclear whether Queen is the name of the singer or the band? He can cringe later…or not. Such doc­u­ment­ed boo boos may be a gen­er­a­tional haz­ard, the way crimped and moussed 80s hair was for mine.

(I was sur­prised, and grate­ful, that nei­ther he, nor any of the video reac­tion mas­ters fea­tured today, sniped at the ridicu­lous coif­fures of the artists they were watch­ing.)

Per­haps AFRO REACT’s appre­ci­a­tion will lead him to inves­ti­gate those unfa­mil­iar words and more: Scara­mouche, Bis­mil­lah, fan­dan­go (No, not the pop­u­lar movie time site…)

I appre­ci­at­ed how he con­sult­ed his mom pri­or to lis­ten­ing, to see if she thought he’d enjoy the full song as much as he liked the snip­pet he’d heard in a movie trail­er.

My son nev­er asks my opin­ion like that.

Hold up a sec there, AFRO REACT. Why not leave Mom out of it and just give it a spin (as we used to say)?

I sus­pect what he was real­ly eager to find out was whether she thought this track would be wor­thy of a reac­tion video.

The answer, resound­ing­ly, is yes.

I con­fess that his habit of paus­ing the video to inter­ject his own thoughts was dri­ving me out of my gourd. My son does the same thing.

I have since learned this is more than just a symp­tom of being born into a world where pret­ty much every­thing can be paused and restart­ed at will, at least as far as prac­ti­tion­ers of the reac­tion video arts are con­cerned.

Tak­ing fre­quent breaks like that is a sol­id way to get around copy­right claim when includ­ing the offi­cial videos along­side the reac­tion. (Oth­er tech­niques include low­er­ing the vol­ume while offer­ing one’s response or fast for­ward­ing 5 sec­onds a cou­ple of times per minute.)

I sus­pect many old­er fans will feel a lump at the 4:15 mark, as the appre­cia­tive first-timer mus­es, “This man has a beau­ti­ful voice. Like, what hap­pened to him?”

Ask your moth­er, kid.

The real treat comes at 6:15. Scara­mouche, scara­mouche, what­ev­er our young lis­ten­er was expect­ing, it sure­ly wasn’t that!

Thus­ly anoth­er Queen fan is forged. Just a few days ago, he shared his vir­gin response to “Under Pres­sure (Live at Wem­b­ley)

Tuscaloosa-based musi­cian Joey Da Prince takes a more under­stat­ed approach to reac­tion videos. Watch­ing him bob from side to side, brow fur­rowed, appre­cia­tive invol­un­tary smiles bloom­ing now and again, reminds me of com­ing home, strip­ping the cel­lo­phane from a just-pur­chased album (or CD) and giv­ing it a good hard lis­ten, eye­balls glued to the lin­er notes.

He only hits pause once, shocked by the open­ing line of the famous first verse:

Mama just killed a man…

Oh, wait a minute. In a just post­ed 25-minute lyric break­down, Joey reveals that he mis­heard that line, and was, under­stand­ably, tak­en aback by the idea of the singer’s moth­er mur­der­ing some­one.

(Mercury’s tech­nique was impec­ca­ble, so let’s take this as proof that com­mas are eas­i­er to see than hear…)

Like AFRO REACT, Joey quick­ly queued up the live ver­sion of “Under Pres­sure”…and “Some­body to Love,” “Fat Bot­tomed Girls,” “We Will Rock You,” the list goes on…

He’s obsessed to such a degree that he’s even filmed his reac­tion to pop cul­ture essay­ist Polyphonic’s The Secrets Behind Fred­die Mer­cury’s Leg­endary Voice, below. This is what life­long learn­ers do.

It’s worth not­ing that Joey Da Prince tried “Bohemi­an Rhap­sody” on a commenter’s sug­ges­tion.

At the rate he’s going, he’s going to burn through Queen’s siz­able cat­a­logue pret­ty quick­ly, so toss him some sug­ges­tions, peo­ple!

I’m gonna go out on a limb and nom­i­nate Kate Bush’s “Wuther­ing Heights.”

Gamer Qua­max, aka Qua, did not come to “Bohemi­an Rhap­sody” as a total Queen new­bie. By his own admis­sion, he was some­what famil­iar with “We Will Rock You,” “We Are the Cham­pi­ons,” “Anoth­er One Bites the Dust,” and “Under Pres­sure” from their appear­ances in movies and “oth­er pop cul­ture” (which pre­sum­ably does not cov­er some­one else’s reac­tion videos.)

As he lis­tens in an intent for­ward-fac­ing hunch, he seems the most keyed-in to the humor that is a def­i­nite part of this song’s lis­ten­ing expe­ri­ence (and pos­si­bly per­for­mance). He laughs mer­ri­ly at the phrase “Mama Mia, Mama Mia” and avails him­self of some tru­ly delight­ful after effects in the edit­ing process. (Those in a rush may fast for­ward to 4:32.)

Final pro­nounce­ment? It’s “dope and fun­ny” and he real­ly liked the tran­si­tions from one musi­cal style to anoth­er.

Wel­come to the Queen Army, Qua­max! You should try lis­ten­ing to “Under…” oh, you already did.

Read­ers, if these young men’s open-mind­ed­ness and open ears have inspired you to shoot a reac­tion video of your own, you’ll find a good primer here.

What haven’t you heard?

And what do you wish you could hear again for the very first time?

via Metafil­ter

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Hip Hop Fan Freaks Out When He Hears Rage Against the Machine’s Debut Album for the Very First Time

Hear Fred­die Mer­cury & Queen’s Iso­lat­ed Vocals on Their Endur­ing Clas­sic Song, “We Are The Cham­pi­ons”

Queen’s “Bohemi­an Rhap­sody” Played by 28 Trom­bone Play­ers

Watch the Brand New Trail­er for Bohemi­an Rhap­sody, the Long-Await­ed Biopic on Fred­die Mer­cury & Queen

Ayun Hal­l­i­day is an author, illus­tra­tor, the­ater mak­er and Chief Pri­ma­tol­o­gist of the East Vil­lage Inky zine.  Join her in NYC on Mon­day, Octo­ber 15 for anoth­er month­ly install­ment of her book-based vari­ety show, Necro­mancers of the Pub­lic Domain. Fol­low her @AyunHalliday.

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  • ella says:

    omg, I real­ly want­ed to smack him in the head for con­stant­ly paus­ing the music… he could not even absorb the whole mas­ter­piece because all he want­ed to do was to ana­lyze it with his mind. well, at least he appre­ci­ates it now

  • Checkyoself says:

    This guy is a pho­ny, he does this for all cult songs just to attract views…

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