Somehow this perfect Queen song escaped my attention for my entire life. Sure, I’d probably heard it as a kid, but never on purpose. Never as an adult. How did I not know this song until I was 30 years old? Why?
I can’t answer those questions, but I can thank Grand Theft Auto V for including Radio Ga Ga on the classic rock radio station. This is not merely pop songcraft of the highest order; this is a new favorite Queen song.
The music video was so inspired by Fritz Lang’s Metropolis, actual footage of the original German expressionist masterpiece features prominently. Freddie, Brian, Roger, and John ride a flying car through the bustling, dystopian future city, while the vocals reassure the radio that it is still loved. It’s kind of timeless and weirdly 1980’s at the same time. It’s the kind of video that a major pop star wouldn’t make in 2014. I’ve probably watched it 15 times since last year’s discovery. It’s really that fun.
The handclap moment really does it for me. Most handclap anthems leave me cold or embarrassed. Not Radio Ga Ga. The rhythm drops, the acapella vocals burst, “All we hear is, radio ga ga, radio goo goo, radio ga ga,” and I’m on my feet, hands in the air. One of the best moments in this video involves the band doing exactly that, while wearing shredded bondage gear in front of a cult audience dressed in white. Like I said: perfect.
I’m not sure what is going on in that photo up top. Freddie stands in the background in a white robe. All is still.