IS BELLAMY THE NEW MERCURY?
Matthew Bellamy and Freddie Mercury both share some amazing talents: they are/were both incredible musicians, they have incredible stage presence, they give or gave amazing performances which will leave life-long memories to everyone watching, created some of the most iconic one liners and I am sure that they will leave a rebellious legacy for future generations.
The Music. One thing Matt has going for him is his musical ability, something Freddie didn’t lack, but something Matt has in strides. For instance Freddie and Matt both play/played the piano and the guitar; however Matt also plays the: keytar, organ, mandolin and keyboard (yes the piano and keyboard are different instruments). Freddie was a fantastic pianist creating one of the most memorable songs in history (Bohemian Rhapsody)… whereas Bellamy has not only played and composed all of MUSE’s lead guitar riffs, but is now critically acclaimed as one of the greatest guitarists to ever live. Bellamy has also experimented with a scratchpad, creating some of the most cutting edge guitar solos of the last ten years. Similar to Freddie we have also seen greater risks in Bellamy over the last decade; each album is a different genre. This is not only a risk in terms of ‘it’s not as good as the last album’, but it is a massive marketing problem, the first album MUSE released in 1994 was far more rebellious in terms of sound, since then they have incorporated elements of classical music in their fifth album ‘resistance’ in the form of three symphonies and their sixth album is packed with dubstep; this number genre changes has dramatically changed shifted the target market, something any manager would consider professional suicide. As the sole composer and lyricist it is clear that Bellamy is risking the band’s future, we can only hope that he doesn’t do anything as drastic or controversial as Freddie in the ‘I Want to Break Free’ music video.
Tough Crowd. Wowing the audience is one thing that some people will never manage to do, some go on and are too nervous to pick up the mike. Neither Mat of Freddie have/ had this problem, but how far could they take the audience. The link below is a video of MUSE catapulting money into the audience during a performance of their new song ‘Animals’:
Publicity stunt I hear you say, but Matt has done this at several concerts since the bad was founded, if it is a stunt, it’s one that has lasted for almost 24 years. However this is one area Matthew could now handshake his way out of, Mercury was ballsy, he was willing to really push the boundaries of what was acceptable, losing popularity in countless countries in the process. His performance at Live Aid, not the singing, but the interaction of the audience is (I believe) to be one of the greatest pieces of audience participation there has ever been.
Apparently Danny Boyle agrees, using this video at the 2012 closing ceremony, celebrating everything great about Britain:
Though both performers use aspects of musical theatre in their acts, only Freddie manages to captivate the audience, even if they weren’t there to see him, remember that Live Aid was a variety act and he had to cater to not only a large audience, but one that might not even appreciate Queen, instead showing up for U2, yet not one missed beat with Freddie.
The Voice. There is no comparison or competition, both artists are incredible in their own right. Bellamy is a soprano, Mercury is a baritone/tenor. If they were the same, we could make a judgement, but as it stands they each have/had incredible voices and use/used them fully. The only thing I can say, is that Bellamy sings with his guitar and Freddie with his dance moves. There is more to the act than just the voices.
My conclusion is that Bellamy is not the new Freddie, they are similar in ability, but no one can ever take away or replace the influence that he had over British music, neither can we expect any youngster to step into his trainers. New Queen have tried to revive old music with Adam Lambert, which was done with a similar effect to the last Python show. Lambert is similar to Bellamy if a little more mainstream, they have a similar register, Lambert interacts more with the audience, but… he is NOT Mercury, nor in a hundred years time will anyone be able to replace Lambert or Bellamy. Therefore Bellamy is not the new Freddie, Bellamy is the old…