One of the most unexpectedly upsetting consequences of having a baby is that I can no longer listen to music without bursting into tears. I was relieved to find Stuart Heritage documenting the phenomenon in The Guardian, otherwise I’d have to assume it was just me (again) being mad (again). Certainly, parents I know in real life are always telling me how their baby loves The White Stripes or Kraftwerk or whatever, so I suppose it doesn’t happen to everyone.
But yeah. Ballads, obviously, but even stuff like Shake It Off and All The Single Ladies and literally every song ever included in a Disney movie. Worse, Ben Folds Five makes me cry AND vomit due to a strange Pavlovian commuting/morning sickness scenario. Awful.
So I was sadly resigned to a music-free existence until Chris started playing those cute Rockabye albums on Spotify and suddenly I found that QUEEN was fine – hardly any tears. HOORAY! Thank you Freddie and Brian and the other two! Ooh, you make me live! Etc!
I don’t know why Queen doesn’t make me cry (much). I learned all the words as a weird 90s teenager, so maybe they’ve lost all power. Maybe the mental image of Freddie Mercury doing the Hoovering in a wig is enough to short-circuit my brain. Maybe the alternating of poignant stuff with Fat Bottomed Girls and Flash is emotionally confusing. But I don’t care!
Here’s a guide to the best Queen tunes for fragile parents and the ones you shouldn’t listen to unless your contact lens is stuck on your eyeball.
5 Queen tunes you can (probably) listen to in public (Spotify)
I listen to this when I’m having a bad day because I like how matter-of-factly David Bowie observes ‘This is ourselves… undah presh-ah.’ Yes, it is, David, and we are all handling it very well. Let’s have a coffee and five KitKats. BONUS: If you feel emotional, you can think of Vanilla Ice.
Somebody to love – she’s right there! On the changing table, weeing all over my jeans and trying to shove cotton wool down her gullet! Useful if you’re momentarily wondering why you had children, or if you ‘Take a look at yourself in the mirror/And cry’ most weekday evenings.
Okay, this one is borderline. Maybe listen to this when you’re safely on a train and can discreetly wipe away mascara rather than, say, in the Post Office queue or buying your husband’s martini vodka in a Tesco Extra close to your former workplace.
BARCELONA! What were you doing in 1992? I was enjoying a lovely Highland summer – Eldorado, culottes and this song at the start of every Olympic broadcast. Ahh, happy days. LIKE A JEWEL IN THE SUN! Etc. Will make you wonder if it’s too late to get into opera.
NOTE: Pedants may point out that this is a Freddie song rather than a Queen song. To those people I would say you care less about these things when you have an unknown number of stitches in your hoo-ha.
Yes there is a bit of a rent boy vibe, but you can still sing along and enjoy the innocent pleasure of daydreaming about a glamorous, diaper-free evening out. ‘You pay the bill/I’ll taste the wine’ indeed.
And three you really mustn’t listen to until your child is at least five (Spotify)
Excuse me madam, may I clutch you and weep uncontrollably while we wait for the bus? No? Okay.
Did you know that the final lines of the video were Freddie Mercury’s last spoken words on camera? Are you going to cry now too? Are you? Did you know he’s wearing his favourite waistcoat with cats on it especially? Oh god stop, I’m sorry.
Save me/I’m naked and I’m far from home/Each night I cry…You know this is the camp pop rock anthem of newborns everywhere. I’ll save you, baby! Sob.