Queen’s Innuendo is one of the last songs that Freddie Mercury sees published. Its release dates back to January 1991 and Mercury dies about 9 months later. This is also why the London band has never played this song live.
The song presents a mix of musical styles (rock, flamenco, bolero, operetta), which makes it very similar to Bohemian Rhapsody.
The part where you hear the flamenco guitar was made by Steve Howe, Yes guitarist.
The music video of the song is really enigmatic, a kind of testament for posterity. In this review I want to point out 3 details that announced some historical events later!
Images with filters, effects, pictorial styles
The video contains images of Queen’s repertoire and pieces of previous videos. However these images have been reworked and filtered.
1. Freddie Mercury looks like a pastel or pencil drawing on old paper. It reminds us of the famous music video by A-ha “Take on me”, where the protagonist emerges from a comic strip.
2. Guitarist Brian May is filtered with a punctual style, reminiscent of the art made with the technique of xylograph.
3. The image of drummer Roger Taylor is treated with the filter of abstract expressionism and closely resembles Kandinskij’s paintings.
4. Bassist John Deacon has turned into a Cubist opera by Pablo Picasso.
A music video, therefore, that announced the future: how many are smartphone apps and softwares that manipulate the images to post on social networks?
What is the pack of puppets in the video Innuendo by Queen
Innuendo means “allusion”: the video is full of allusions and references to other things. Let’s see them in detail.
The location is a miniature cinema. In the room there are no people but puppets and dolls.
On the screen you can see black and white video of wars (in particular the Second World War and the Gulf War).
Bombs, armies that march, plane crashes, people in prayer and the emblematic image of massed locusts.
What is the meaning? Capitalism makes us a bunch of small, huddled beasts. It uses the mass media to entertain and shapes our minds. And it bombards us with information to make us confused and unarmed, used to the scoop and the sensational, eager for struggle and conflict. It massifies us like swarms of insects and takes away our identity as if we were puppets.
Here there are a prophecy about the future of humanity, with wars, local conflicts, religious struggles, holidays, manifestations of false happiness and cheerfulness.
Video editing techniques
And now we come to the scenes where there are cartoons: clowns made by clay move with the techniques of stop motion and rotoscope. Stop motion is an animation technique that consists in taking pictures sequentially and moving objects slightly. The pictures, projected in series, give us the impression that objects can move. Typically 24 frames per second. Rotoscoping is another technique for making cartoons. It uses videos and photos of real people that are traced by the designer.
The parallel universes theory by Stephen Hawkins in Innuendo music video
In Innuendo music video by Queen there is a marked symbolism. The animated drawing that you see at the beginning (and also on the album cover) is a clown juggler, who rotates spheres smilar to worlds and planets together with a banana.
It has a kind of marsupium from which another planet like the Earth is about to come out. At his feet we see other worlds similar to the Earth and on one of these there is a man. He looks scared.
This representation derives from a book by Grandville (aka Jean Ignace Isidore Gérard), “L’autre Monde” (1844). It’s about a surreal world parallel to ours.
What is the meaning of this figure in the video Innuendo? It means that in the universe there is a divine spirit that enjoys creating so many worlds. But it does not do it with malice, there is no evil and desire to harm the human being: it’s just a game.
What does this metaphorical vision anticipate? Before he died, Stephen Hawking was just studying parallel dimensions (multiverse) and was trying to give it a mathematical proof. Ours is only one of the possible realities but there are many others.
The message of Innuendo by Queen
Maybe Freddie Mercury in the video of Innuendo wanted to tell us this: in a parallel universe he is not dead and today he is still alive and continues to sing. But in that universe we can enter only if we put aside our senses, our mental patterns, the sense of fear and submission that mass society imposes. We must open our hearts to impossible things and our mind to freedom.