Queen’s “We Are The Champions” was the graduation theme song for the class of 1984 at Murphy High School, in Mobile, Alabama. It was probably the graduation theme song for numerous classes before that, since it was released in 1977. I was among six commencement speakers chosen by the senior and junior classes for the ceremony–at which the Murphy High School chorus sang the song, accompanied by the Murphy High School band.
“We Are The Champions” is not even one of my favorite Queen songs, let alone my favorite songs, in general. The lyrics are simpler than those of my favorite Queen songs–and the music is not nearly as complex. Yet note the passionate singing of Freddie Mercury–and the unforgettable instrumentation of the band, particularly the electric-guitar artistry. And note the raw, wild, real, personal, sincere, human interaction between the band and the audience.
Yes, this is the kind of music that was played at graduation ceremonies and sporting events before the Digital Age.
No, this is not a commercial–this is the kind of music that is played at graduation ceremonies and sporting events in this Digital Age. There is no band–all of the music is digitally programmed, and electronically produced. And the lyrics are not just simple–they’re totally simplistic, and indescribably trite. The singing isn’t passionate at all–it’s completely contrived. And there is no interaction with an audience because the only audience is an unseen collective of smartphone addicts–none of whom are even interacting with each other.
This is Digital-Age decadence.