Body Language

Composer: Freddie Mercury
Album: Hot Space
Meter: 4/4, shuffle beat
Key: Eb mixolydian,Bb-mixolydian, Ab minor pentatonic

      Intro (AAB) | Verse | Chorus |
      Intro (AB)  | Verse'| Chorus |
      Intro (AB)  | Verse"| Bridge (CCCCCCCCCC')|
      Intro (B)   | Verse | outro (AABBBBBBBBB...)

This toe-tapper disco-influented song is one of the most criticized singles Queen ever released. Like many of the Hot Space tracks, the backing thrack of this one is also dominated by synth bass hooks.
The form relatively straightforward with four cycles each opened by a variant of the Intro (see also "Staying Power" or "Was It All Worth It". The third cycle features a predictable Bridge. The Verses vary melody-wise for each cycle.
Lyrically "Get Down Make Love" is a close precedessor.


Synth hooks open each four cycles of the song. There are two riffs backing it, the first of which is pentatonic (without 3rd). The later variants of the intro are shortened and serve for setting the tonal centre form Eb back to Bb. In the last cycle the A figure in Eb is dropped, because the preceding Bridge is in Ab pentatonic.

The first Verse doesn't have chordal backing only the synth riffs. The second Verse adds stray fadein-out guitar chords which help our ears getting oriented still the harmonic functions are fading out toward the end of the section.
The way how the sythn-bass track is constructed from descending three note fragments (8th > M6th > 5th ) is reminiscent of "A Kind Of Magic" (1986).

| Bb  | -   |
| I   | -   |

| Ab  | -   |
| bVII| -   |

| Bb  | -   |
| I   | -   |

| Ab  | -   |
| bVII| -   |

| Db  | -   |
| bIII| -   |

| Cb  | -   |

| Eb1 | -   | -   |     |

The last phrase closes with general pause and uses the familiar 3+3+3+3+2+2 rhythmic pattern. This is a rare example where this gambit is applied in shuffle beat environement resluting a bit of distorsion:

1 .2 .3 .4 .1 .2 .3 .4 .1
* *  **  * *  **  *  *  *

Try to find another example!

The lead vocal of the first Verse is whispered. The second and third verse is sung, and the lead melody roughly follows the synth. The ending of the last verse borrows the synth chord glissando from the Chorus. This quote turns the return of the intro hook (ie outro hook) more expectable.

The chorus is minimalistic in both length, and melody-content. We have three phrases the last of which is overlapped by the next re-intro resulting in the first chorus lasting 4 and half measure long (2 + 2 + 1/2, AAA). Second phrase adds a synth glissando starting on F#6 chord.
Check out the drum-track! It starts like this:

1 .2 .3 .4 .1
*  *  *  * **...

But the first 4 and a half measure Chorus turns it for the rest of the song like this:

1 .2 .3 .4 .1
*  * **  *  *... (see this pattern also "Personal Jesus" - Depeche Mode)

/-------- 2x --------\\   half
| Db-Eb-Db-Eb | -    | Db-Eb-Db-|Eb...
|           I | -    |          |

The second chorus alters the vocal harmony : the top line which originally moved in parallel fiths with the bass-line is lowered here by a halfstep. For the third phrase they throw in a really crazy harmony:

        ... C
        ... A
Db  Eb  F   F#

The purely pentatonic bridge has six melodic phrases (AAAABB) where the tag-extension-like B phrases are identic with the second half of the A phrases. The A phrases are accompanied by two two measure synth figure, the B phrases by only one. The fragments of the synth-bass are ascending here (5th > m7th > 8th). Another contrasting element in the music is the rhythm department is stripped down to fingerclicks.

/----- 2x5 -----\\
| Ab1   | Db1   | Ab1   | -    |

The outro is an extended variant of the intro with the title phrase repeated which is taken from the chorus.
The title phrase is altered both rhythm- and melody-wise. Rhythm wise it is displaced by one beat backwards. Melody wise the leap in the middle is changed from whole step to half (Bb > A > Bb).

1 .2 .3 .4 .1 .2
         * ** *...

After 9 repetition of the title phrase the song fades out while Brian on guitar plays some m7th (Ab) notes.