Queen: Under Pressure Meaning
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Song Released: 1981
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Under Pressure Lyrics
Um boom ba bay
B-b-boom ba bay bay
Pressure pushing down on me
Pressing down on you no man ask for
That burns a building down
Splits a family in two
Puts people on streets
Um ba ba bay
Um ba ba bay
anonymous Sep 29th, 2013 9:16am 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.
anonymous Jul 2nd, 2007 7:45pm report
My interpretation for this song was about two different things.
First I want to point out to the second person to submit that freddy mercury couldn't have been homophobic because he was a bisexual himself.
I believe that the song is 2 different songs mixed into one. an example would be the beatles " a day in the life."
The first part of the song is talking about widespread poverty and our lack of compassion for them. The pressure is some poor man begging for money and for Queen and Bowie to "let him out" of poverty.
The second is asking why we can't love our fellow man? poor or rich we are supposed to love all and hate none. and towards the ends mercury sings that it's because love "dares you to care for the people on the edge of the night And love dares you to change our way of caring about ourselves"
There are only two things I don't understand about the song. what do the lines "these are the days it never rains but it pours" and "this is our last dance" mean?
anonymous Aug 8th, 2007 8:11am report
I feel that after quite a lot of pondering on these lyrics that I have the answers to what these two lyrics mean ''these are the days it never rains but it pours" and "this is our last dance". When the song says these are the days it never rains but it pours I think its talking about how the problems of mankind are becoming so much worse and I think poverty is an example of this.
The analogy of pours is a much heavier rain then simply rains. So in a way it also talks into Freddy's life because at this time he has found out he has aids he has so many problems due to the criticism he has received by the press and now after that ''rainy'' period, it gets much worse because he finds out he is soon going to die, this could be seen how life is beginning to pour and become much worse for him. Also poverty is becoming much worse in the world and in that respect we can see how many people dying due to poverty may be seen as a pouring period yet again.
This song highlights many important things about life firstly that of how we are challenged by God to love other people above the selfish love that we all have for ourselves. In a sense this can be reflected in the lyrics ''love dares you to change our way of caring about ourselfs''.
"this is our last dance" can be interpreted to mean that we have a chance right now to help others not after we die or anything like that but right now, and in a sense this is true because it is our last chance to help others before this world becomes blinded by peoples selfishness. Freddie is warning others that just as he is going to die very soon he has realsied that we are on earth for a short time and helping people on streets to do good things can only be the way forward.
anonymous Sep 5th, 9:40pm 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.
anonymous Oct 26th, 2018 10:18pm 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.
anonymous Nov 13th, 2017 11:01pm 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
anonymous Jun 23rd, 2017 6:51am 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.
anonymous Oct 14th, 2016 10:34pm 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,
anonymous Jan 13th, 2016 1:58pm 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
anonymous Jan 13th, 2013 1:20pm 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!
anonymous Oct 4th, 2012 10:27am 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.
anonymous Aug 18th, 2012 8:52pm 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.
anonymous Feb 8th, 2012 2:43pm 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?
anonymous Feb 1st, 2011 2:59pm 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.
anonymous Jan 14th, 2011 1:24am 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?
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