Queen is one of the most ridiculous bands ever.
They’re also one of the greatest.
This pair of truisms is hardly unrelated.
After all, the best artists are the most inimitable, right?
And who could ever do what Queen has done the way that they’ve done it?
Bold, brilliant, over the top, absurd: Queen is all these things all at once.
Seriously, though, just how far out there is this legendary band?
Let us count but a few of the ways:
They replaced one of the greatest rock ’n’ roll singers of all time with an “American Idol” runner-up. And they’ve made it work.
Yeah, “American Idol” has given us a few stars, like living, breathing Barbie doll Carrie Underwood and her inverse, Kelly Clarkson, who, to her credit, at least has something resembling the personality of a human being.
Moreover, we’re pretty sure every state fair in the Midwest is happy to have Daughtry around to perform after the corndog eat-off.
Mostly, though, the show has just given us a bunch of future “Jeopardy!” questions.
I’ll take “False Idols” for $400, Alex.
Answer: This guy just valeted your car and is pilfering your change cup.
Question: Who is Bo Bice?
Queen, however, has used their supreme powers of awesome to make former “Idol” runner-up Adam Lambert an exception, though.
Lambert’s first solo record, 2009’s “For Your Entertainment” did well enough in the wake of his second-place finish on the eighth season of the show.
But its follow-up, 2012’s “Trespassing,” came and went with little fanfare.
Despite the guy’s formidable talents, his career was teetering on the brink of Ruben Studdard-dom when he got the call from Queen to form what is a mutual partnership.
Lambert’s got the voice to match Freddie Mercury’s vocal gymnastics, an amalgamation of tenderness, ’tude and window shattering gusto.
He’s also got the presence, judging by his performance with Queen at last year’s iHeartRadio music festival at the MGM Grand, where he commanded the stage with an almost off-handed confidence, sucking in his cheeks and staring down the crowd like someone who had just cut in line in front of him at Sephora.
No one can replace Freddie Mercury.
But Lambert has the stones to carry himself like it should have been his gig all along.
They’ve penned straight-faced jams about ogre battles and fairy kings.
Scan the liner notes to Queen’s first two records and you half expect the lyrics to be credited to one Baggins, Bilbo.
It’s like a rock ’n’ roll renaissance fair.
To wit, here’s a sample of the third verse of “The Fairy Feller’s Master-Stroke” from “Queen II”: “Oberon and Titania watched by a harridan / Mab is the queen and there’s a good apothecary-man / Come to say hello /Fairy dandy tickling the fancy of his lady friend / The nymph in yellow / What a quaere fellow.”
One spin, and you’ll be speaking in ye olde English and striking out with women in no time.
Thing is though, “Queen II” rules even if you’ve never dressed as a druid and your Tolkien-speak is such that you don’t even know your Nandorin from your Sindarin (For the last time, people, Nandorin is the original language of Mirkwood, otherwise known as Greenwood the Great, while Sindarin is the earliest dialect of the elven realm of Doriath. C’mon!).
They introduced rock ’n’ roll to the unitard.
And what an introduction it was.
We presume it went a little something like this:
Freddie Mercury: ’Ello rock ’n’ roll, this is my glittery one-piece man suit. I chose it because it answers the question: What would it look like if I was vomited upon by a seasick disco ball?
Rock ’n’ roll: Pretty sweet. But do you have a bright red one festooned with eyeballs?
And with that, neither rock ’n’ roll nor bulge-highlighting rockwear would never be the same.
Mercury’s stage clothes remain some of the most awesomely outlandish rock ’n’ roll fashions ever.
He looked like his songs: one of a kind.
Now, Lambert doesn’t try to match his predecessor’s flamboyant attire unitard-for-unitard.
He favors a none-more-black wardrobe, with lots of body-hugging leather and futuristic-looking trenchcoats.
Hey, if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em.
Which is exactly what Lambert did.
Three words: Bohemian Effin’ Rhapsody.
This song makes no sense.
Actually, it’s not even a song — it’s three of them club-sandwiched into five minutes and 55 seconds of kick-assness.
Get a load of how absurd it looks on paper: Start with a bittersweet ballad so heartfelt, it could conjure tears from a tire iron. Then, kick said ballad square in the taco with a rippin’ guitar lead that gives way to an operatic passage with lyrics that namecheck 17th century Italian physicists and are partially sung in Arabic. For the grand finale, roar into a full-on hard rock rager that once sprained the necks of former “Saturday Night Live” cast members headbanging their way through an inexplicably popular early ’90s comedy.
If the dudes in Arcade Fire told you that they were going to try to pull off something like that, you’d punch them square in their mouths for even suggesting as much.
And you’d do so to a hardy round of applause.
But Queen didn’t just pull it off, they turned in it into one of the top-selling singles of all time.
Is this the real life?
Is this just fantasy?
For Queen, there has never been much of a difference between the two.
Then, and now.
Contact reporter Jason Bracelin at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-383-0476. Follow on Twitter @JasonBracelin.