Queen – I Want To Break Free (Lyrics Review and Song Meaning)

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The Queen effect on rock music still resonates today. The band’s influence on music in the 80s and 90s was enormous, which was the result of the sheer genius of the four band members. From songs such as ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’, ‘Love of My Life’, ‘We Are the Champions’ and ‘Radio Ga Ga’, Queen showed her versatility in lyricism, singing and music.

One of the songs that has remained mysterious and still is is “I Want To Break Free” from the hit album “The Works” released in 1984. Even after three decades, fans are still arguing over what Queen really meant by this song. It’s either the meaning is too simple for us not to believe, or it’s too deep for us not to grasp at all.

Despite popular opinion, Freddie Mercury did not write this song, which weakens the argument that the meaning of the song is related to “coming out” because Freddie was gay. In fact, Queen bassist John Deacon composed the lyrics for this track.

From left to right: John Deacon, Brian May, Freddie Mercury and Roger Taylor dressed as drag queens.

From left to right: Roger Taylor, Brian May, Freddie Mercury and John Deacon dressed as drag queens. (Image credits: ModClothBlog.com)

“I Want To Break Free” was released with a music video in which all Queen members wore women’s clothing. It was a recreation of the popular soap opera Coronation Street. However, the message was misinterpreted in the United States and MTV banned the video from their networks, as public opinion about drag queens and gay people was not as openly invited at the time.

Today, “I Want To Break Free” is revered as one of the most iconic songs of all time.

Watch Queen’s “I Want to Break Free” Video


Download the single “I Want To Break Free” on iTunes and Amazon

The first part of the clip shows a living room set up as we would see in the soap opera from which this theme was taken. Freddie Mercury dresses like a typical housewife with a pink blouse and a short, skin-tight leather skirt and knee-high, heeled shoes. His outfit is complete with a fake pair of breasts, but he keeps his thick mustache. Brian May comes downstairs wearing a nightgown and pink bunny slippers. Roger Taylor is seen wearing a white blouse, black miniskirt with white knee high socks and black shoes, looking like a typical schoolgirl.

Review of the lyrics and meaning of the song “I want to free myself”

The meaning of this song has been a matter of debate for over three decades. Therefore, we would not end the arguments relying on a single meaning. We will explore different meanings and why meanings have arisen.

Verse 1

Freddie Mercury screams that he wants to break free from something. What does he really want? Only the late great Freddie would know. We therefore open this question up for debate once again.

One of the most popular arguments for the meaning of this song is that Freddie sings about himself as bisexual or homosexual. The cry “break free” is a clue to society’s oppression of the LGBT community at the time. These people have been forced to keep their true nature or identity hidden all their lives by family members, friends and society. This song could be Freddie’s outcry that he can no longer suppress those feelings or his true nature. However, the argument against this meaning is that Freddie Mercury did not write the lyrics to this song. John Deacon wrote the song and he was straight.

Another rendition of “I Want To Break Free” is what is shown in the music video. The beginning of the video shows Freddie Mercury dressed as a woman, working from home. Some claim that this song is a hymn of freedom for women. In the 1970s, gender roles were strongly defined and women were mostly limited to household chores. Freddie is seen vacuuming the floor as he performs the first verse.

Another take on “I Want To Break Free” is the idea that you can be whoever you want to be. You don’t have to live within the chains of social norms and restrictions. You can be gay if you want, and you can be a drag queen if you want, or you can be an astronaut if you want, or a housekeeper if you want.

A line in the first verse “You’re so satisfied with yourself, I don’t need you” implies that the singer feels isolated from the world for some reason. The rest of the world is so happy with everything the singer can’t have. Therefore, the singer says he doesn’t want anything to do with them or need their help either.

Whatever the exact meaning of this song, “I Want To Break Free” is a hymn against oppression and support for freedom.

Verse 2

The second verse of “I Want To Break Free” is where the annotations about the singer’s love life come into play.

Freddie sings that he fell in love for the first time. If we read between the lines, we can understand that what he means is that he found true love for the first time. Is he singing a love story with the same sex?

The singer continually evokes God to tell us that God knows his feelings. It could be a cruel slap in the face to the Church that condemns same-sex love and marriage.

Watch Queen perform “I Want To Break Free” live in 1986

Bridge

For some reason, John Deacon uses the word “strange” to refer to this reason that keeps him in chains. It also sparked interpretations of homosexuality, which was then seen as a “disease” or “strange”.

The singer’s feelings for this person are strong. But he doesn’t want to be stoned by society either. The “door” could be a reference to the popular phrase “coming out” which means accepting that you are gay. Freddie sings that he really wants to experience this new love he feels for the first time. But he also wants to be free from inner and outer torment.

Verse 3

The third verse changes the whole aura of the song. In this, Freddie sings of his acceptance of these chains imposed on him by the world. He tells himself that he will learn to live without this new love if he has no other choice.

The singer also admits himself that life without that other person or the salvation he seeks is a world of heartache. But he gets no help from anyone. It will be marked. He will be outcast and neglected if he breaks free.

Freddie Mercury died in 1991 from complications related to HIV/AIDS. Major breakthroughs in medical research were made very soon after his death. Maybe Freddie was born in the wrong century.

“I Want To Break Free” will forever be remembered as one of the greatest classics in music history. The controversy and mystery surrounding the meaning of the song has left generations perplexed. And it will likely continue to do so in the future.

The comments section is open to your ideas and thoughts. Let us know what you think of “I want to free myself” and its meaning. Or drop your favorite memory of this song and your personal experience of this song. If you liked this article, share it with your friends.

Queen’s “I Want To Break Free” Full Lyrics

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