Queen

Liar

Composed by Freddie Mercury

Song Review by

This epic rocker was the centerpiece of Queen’s debut album. The verses take the form of a dialogue between the protagonist (represented in the verses) and the forces against him (represented by the chorus) as they presented a tormented soul who yearns for religious guidance but is shunned as a "liar." By the end, the lyrics spurn organized religion altogether: "Liar, liar, they never ever let you win/Liar, liar, everything you do is sin/Liar, nobody believes you/Liar, they bring you down before you begin." The operatic style of these lyrics is fully supported by the music, which goes through many tempo changes and different sections as it combines folky, ascending verses and a stomping chorus with instrumental and vocal bridges that pull the song in other directions. Queen’s recording of "Liar" wraps this complex tale in a grand, bombastic arrangement that alternates delicate acoustic touches on the verses with surging waves of power chords during the instrumental bridges and the chorus. It also works in a cowbell-driven percussive breakdown for the song’s penultimate vocal bridge that pushes the drama to a frantic peak. Freddie Mercury tops it off with a suitably dramatic vocal that ranges from a falsetto whisper to a baritone roar and his impressive efforts are cushioned by operatic harmonies from Brian May and Roger Taylor. It all added up to an artsy but powerful rocker that became a backbone of Queen’s early live shows and became a cult favorite with the group’s fans. More importantly, its grandiosity a solid prototype for later, even more ambitious pomp-rockers like "Brighton Rock" and "Bohemian Rhapsody."

Appears On

Year Artist/Album Label Time AllMusic Rating
Queen 1973 Hollywood 6:24
Live in Rio [Video] 1991 Masterplan
At the BBC 1995 Hollywood 6:28
The Crown Jewels 1998 Hollywood 6:25
Rock You from Rio: Live 2009 Immortal 1:55
Queen 40 Limited Edition Collector's Box Set 2011 Hollywood / Hollywood Records (UK) 6:24
40, Vol. 1 2011 Hollywood 6:25
An Evening at the Concert Hall 2012
No Image 2014 Hollywood 8:39
The Studio Collection 2015 Virgin EMI 6:27
A Night at the Odeon: Hammersmith 1975 [Video] 2015 Eagle Rock
On Air 2016 Hollywood
No Image Green Hippo
No Image Marc
No Image LLQ
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