Monday, 13 January 2014

Under pressure . . .

As the world around me (southern hemisphere at least) have their noses back to the grindstone (or back to work) after the holiday season, we can anticipate that at some points in our jobs we will be put "under pressure".

In a previous post, I talked about David Bowie's "Space Oddity"(see the "Ground Control to Major Tom" post) on how we can look to the year ahead and he features again in today's post with his performance with Queen in "Under Pressure".

I love the scat singing in between the verses and during the repetitive "people on the streets" in the song because it seems as if they reflect the sounds of people chatting, what you hear on busy streets, with that cacophony of sound where words don't make sense because at times the world doesn't make sense.  But come to think of it, the scat singing could also be an individual trying to get away from the pressure with distractions or procrastinations (whichever you prefer), muttering utterances to one's self, anything I guess that helps to relieve the pressure.

When I hear the line "turned away from the world like a blind man", it reminds me of Flight of the Conchords and their style of singing an octave apart but it also signifies in the song, the futility of trying to escape from the harsh reality of the world.

You can hear the intensity start to build to the surface in the last section of the song before the realisation that "this is ourselves" and how we live our lives "under pressure" I can fully understand why Vanilla Ice chose to use the distinctive bass line that almost never was, but luckily one of the band members was able to recall it before it got lost in the space and time continuum of epic riffs.

The 1992 concert (at least I think it's 92) featuring Annie Lennox and Bowie singing the song with the Queen band members showcases the beauty of the song.  I guess depending on one's taste, you can be pretty sick of the song after a couple of times and be quite content to never listen to it again, or for a while at least.  For me it's one of those songs that I can't get sick of because it has everything that a really good, classic, timeless song has - variety, opportunity to improvise, familiar sections, music riffs that can stand alone, and lyrics that speak volumes.

Every song has a bottom line, one sentence that summarises what the song is all about.
So what is this song really about?
I find it in two words  no it's not "under pressure".

It's "give love".

Because after all is said and done, no matter how much pressure we may be under, we must always remember to give love wherever we can.  Not pressured to give love, but that despite the pressure, you still have it in you to love. So give love everyday.  It's hard but the more we are conditioned to do this, it becomes part of our human condition. Give love despite being under pressure.