What does Under Pressure mean?

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Queen: Under Pressure Meaning

Song Released: 1981

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Under Pressure Lyrics

Um boom ba bay
Um boom ba bay
B-b-boom ba bay bay

Pressure pushing down on me
Pressing down on you no man ask for
Under pressure
That burns a building down
Splits a family in two
Puts people on streets

Um ba ba bay
Um ba ba bay


    #1 top rated interpretation:
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    Jan 14th 2011 report

    I think much of the song has been looked into thoroughly enough, but the one line that still seems to be left in darkness is "this is our last dance." The repetition of the line at the end of the song is a way of telling the listener that the line has a double meaning, one deeper than the other. Combine the two line with "this is ourselves... Under Pressure" and the meaning seems clear to me. Everyone in life struggles between the two pulls in life of self satisfaction, and making a difference. We want to give to the homeless man on the street, but we also want those new pair of shoes. The idea is that we only have one life to live; youth is fleeting and we need to live every day as if it is our last. So, when it comes down to that, who will we be?


    #2 top rated interpretation:
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    Feb 8th 2012 report

    Under Pressure is the constant economic pressure we all face and the pressure to succeed in an arena that is so competatitive that once we do succeed keeping the pace is life-changing and leads only to burnout. Nothing in this life is easy. The idea that people want "out" is that they want a life where they can be themselves and not succumb to the constant rat race. I hear the question, why do we allow our fellow man to be homeless when we have so much? The never raining is the drought our soul feels with the burnout of "success" which brings only unhappiness and stress. There is a drought of love as well. And the pouring is the tears and blood constantly pouring from us and those we choose to ignore. There is the fence idea, where we try to ignore the problems of the world. No matter how much we turn our back, the problems do not go away. The fences we build cannot stop or shelter us from the reality that comes from a society that does not reach out to those in need and make sufficient gains for all. We have the resources and the ability, why must we succumb to competition and not allow mankind to flourish?


    #3 top rated interpretation:
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    Sep 29th 2013 report

    My interpretation of under pressure deals with being gay. Presure pushing down on me to be who I really am. Being gay can split a family into. Having gay friends screaming let me out......again being who you are and coming out. Pray tomorrow gets me higher is a higher awarness to love one self. kicking my brains around the floor these are the days it never rains but it pours. Thinking should I come out or not. Turned away from all like a blind man sat on a fence but it don't work. to not be who we really are is not living.

    Love is an old fashion word....meaning love is between a man and woman. This gay love dares you to care for the people who are different. Peoples old fashion views dare us to challenge ourselves to care about ourselves if we are gay. This is are last dance is the dance of life to love yourself just as you are.

  4. anonymous
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    Jun 21st 2021 report

    Some interesting comments...first, Deacon came up with the bass sound in the very beginning idk what its called, while they were figuring out where to eat lunch. They liked it but after returning from lunch Deacon couldn't remember this cord but Roger did & liking it so much they put a song together. I dont think a songs videos really has much to do with the actual songs. Very well coulda been partially about economics, life is not walk in the park, the ending saying "this is our last dance" I believe is the same for other songs that say basically the same, like Garth Brooks' song "the dance", darn now I lost my thought. Anywho..its straight up, down right a badass song. My favorite following with too much love will kill you & love of my life. All heck I just love the heck outta Queen. They all said they disliked telling people anything about their music & meanings as they'd rather people interpret their songs how they wish to

  5. anonymous
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    Jan 4th 2021 report

    I feel like all of the meanings mentioned here are part of it. It's a little bit about mental health, a little bit about unemployment/the economy, a little bit about morality/fairness, a little bit about death, and a little bit about despair over society's view of their sexuality (both Freddie Mercury and David Bowie were bisexual). And honestly, for me I think the beauty of this song is that there are so many interpretations. It's truly an amazing song.

  6. anonymous
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    Sep 5th 2019 report

    Uh this song has nothing to do with Freddie's sexuality. It doesn't have a specific backstory as far as I know. I just know that David and Freddie were recording for 24 hours powered by cocaine and wine. You all are thinking too hard.

  7. anonymous
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    Oct 26th 2018 report

    I always thought it was about someone receiving letters from a POW (prisoner of war), specifically from the Vietnam War or the Iran-Iraq War. "Under pressure" is my interpretation of the POWs getting beaten and dealing with torture.

  8. anonymous
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    Nov 13th 2017 report

    He could be under pressure because of drugs or celebrity fame issues, not being able to hide anything, and is think about suicide "this is our last dance" there last time

  9. JaySue
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    Aug 26th 2017 report

    Not MY interpretation but Freddie Mercury's himself: He told a Phila. DJ that the song was about pushing or encouraging the tearing down of the Berlin Wall.

  10. anonymous
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    Jun 23rd 2017 report

    Can't understand why Freddy and David didn't just tell us what this song is specifically referring to so we don't have to guess. As for having to speculate on its meaning, I advise watching the official video but even then, video only gives partial answers.

  11. anonymous
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    Oct 14th 2016 report

    I interpret it in a totally different way. Have been to quite a few young peoples funerals lately. All suicides. After hearing of one particular young and heart breaking suicide I hear this amazing song, and this is what it told me. pressure of life is felt by everyone, how hard and terrifying life is,and if only love could make it all better. It's never worked before,but cant you give it one last chance. Unfortunately they didnt. They had had enough. That was their last dance. They were themselves. If means different things to each and everyone of us,

  12. anonymous
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    Jan 13th 2016 report

    This our last dance means we only go through life once so why don't we love and help others. People screaming let me out is about suicide

  13. anonymous
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    Nov 19th 2014 report

    Its clear this song is a plea to the means in which the world's decision makers mean to unite the world in the burgeoning globalized society and popular cultures figures roles in this becoming and the burden of this knowledge.

  14. anonymous
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    Jan 13th 2013 report

    This song is clearly about Freddy's (barely) repressed homosexuality. "Under pressure to hide being gay. recall he had been dating mostly women early on.

    it's the terror of knowing
    What this world is about

    He's upset about the state of the world he lives in. A world where he simply can't be openly gay and has to hide his true nature.
    it's the terror of knowing
    What this world is about

    and again this part:
    Watching some good friends
    Screaming let me out!
    out of where? The closet that's where

    He talks about family's being split apart
    it was only a couple of years after they legalized homosexuality in great britain. before such a reform I'm sure many families were split apart because of it's(being gay) illegality

    and u know there was something going on with David Bowie, I mean, come on!

  15. anonymous
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    Oct 4th 2012 report

    Having read through the interpretations so far, I think Under Pressure is a collision of the personal (Mercury confronting his own mortality with lines like "this is our last dance") and the wider political problems of the time, in which many people felt the same sense of helplessness and crushing despair because they were watching their livelihoods being destroyed and their belief in a fair society being attacked. Mercury I think is trying to express empathy with people who are feeling every bit as trapped by unemployment etc... as he feels because of his condition and the stigma that goes with it.

    In 1981 unemployment in Britain was racing out of control. There were 1.5 million out of work in 1980 - by 1981 it had nearly doubled. You can hear the "pressure" this placed on ordinary people throughout the song. For example the numerous references to "people on the streets" refers to the fact we began to see homelessness on a scale we'd never seen before during this period. Between the war and the late 1970s we prided ourselves on being a society in which you didn't see people sleeping rough in major cities like you did in the United States. This began to change dramatically in the period this song was written as people lost jobs on an industrial scale.

    You can hear the optimism of the post-war period and the ideals of the 1960s that had shaped society upto this point come clattering down in lines like "turned away from it all like a blind man, sat on the fence but it don't work" and in the desperate plea "why can't we give love that one more chance?".

    I also wonder whether the scat singing throughout the song - a style popularised in the 1930s - is supposed to evoke a memory of the great depression.

  16. anonymous
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    Aug 18th 2012 report

    The be bops are everyday life, the rest is moments of clarity where he realizes that the god given meaning of life has been lost and replaced with the undying desire to succeed. We are driven by this pressure, it has become our life force. People screaming let me out are those that feel like they are losing their mind and their self. This is our last dance, our last contemplation of what life shouldn't be about. There's nothing we can do it about it. Love requires too much of a change and we are unwilling. This is ourselves, we are simply under pressure.

  17. Littlemonsterforeverandalways
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    Jan 19th 2012 report

    Well it is about the world my seem like its crashing down and it is all because of hate if there was love we wouldn't be facing war, insanity, etc.

  18. anonymous
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    Feb 1st 2011 report

    "these are the days it never rains but it pours". I see´this sentence as a man`s constant struggle for survivor.Physical and mental stress is taking over the world and we are the ones who have to cope with it. Some days just feel like you`ve got the weight of the world on your shoulders and it just keeps on coming.Thats what it means.

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