Back Chat

Composer: John Deacon
Meter: 4/4
Key: a-minor

      Intro I - II (A) - III (B) |
      | Verse (BB)  | A |
      | Verse'(BBB) | AA |
      | Verse (BB)  | interlude | B'B' |
      | Solo  (BBAA)| A |
      | Verse"(BBBB)| A |
      | Verse (BB) - outro (CCCC CCCC CCCCC...)

"Back Chat" with its disco beat repetitive backing track and square phrasings is a tipical trendy song of the "Hot Space" album. The form is tad difficoult to analyse. There is mainly one vocal type section, five verses which also feature the title phrase. Four of the five verses are followed by semi-instrumental connectors creating together a cyclic songform. There is a synth-drum interlude which works like a contrasting bridge.
There's a slightly sped up extended mix of this song. The points of extension: intro and but mostly the outro section which switches back to the fourth Verse. The live version they also played faster.
The drumtrack is dominated by synth drums andfeature also some wooden-percussion.

The intro consists of three subsection the second and third of which is exposing the main hooks of the song.
The first subsection is purely on drums. It starts with a Queen-esque rhythmic twist with two possible interpretation:
1) the song starts on the second beat and the 2nd and 4th beats are stressed.
2) the song starts normally on downbeat but the second measure is only 3/4 long.

This analysis goes with the second interpretation:

| 4/4 | 3/4 |

The second subsection is four measure long building up from five ascending triadic arpeggio fragments, the last four of which start on the third degree of the chord. On the other hand the later incarnations of this figure are added power chords that set all these chords in their root position.

| Am    | C     | D     | F   G   |
| i     | III   | IV    | VI  VII |

The first four chords are mainly the legendary "House Of The Rising Sun" chord progression. In the live version these arpeggios were played on piano. This figure is recycled further seven times, usually as semi instrumental connector. The added vocals are different each time, not even variants of eachother. In the second cylce there are two of this figure pieced together the second of which featuring lead vocals.

We have five verses that are backed with a variant of the intro progression. They are added a thin-toned guitar riff doubled by bass. The lead vocal also borrows motifs from this riff eg. the title phrase.

| Am  | Am7/C  | Dm   | F    |
| i   | "III"  | iv   | VI   |
| i   |   -    | iv   | -    | : simplified 

The even numbered verses (ie. the 1st 3rd 5th) consist of two harmonic phrases each consisting of two melodic subphrases (2+2 + 2+2) AB AC.
The second verse is a extended by one harmonic phrase: AD AD ED
The third and fifth verse is a close variant of the first.
The fourth verse is an extension of the second. Its phrasing is: AD 'A'D' ED FG. There is an interesting short "general pause" in the backing track in m.4.

The five measure synth drum (plus hi-hat) interlude is built up of two and a half cycles of the same two measure figure. On the Hot Space tour they put a "B"-type connector before this interlude.

The solo section is roughly substitutes one complete cycle. The form of its backing track is BBAA and it is followed by a single "A" connector. The solo is preceded by two instrumental "B"-type phrases added a slowly descending figure played on synth. Its fourth note (in m.4) fades into a guitar feed-back which is sustained through the remining four measures where the descending figure goes on.
The solo itself is a classic three-fingered solo closing with a descending blues scale run. There is a crossfading additional guitar repeating a double stop in triplets starting on the downbeat of the last phrase.

The outro is developed from the verse. The originally two measure guitar/bass riff is reduced to its first two measures and repeated roughly 13 times while fading out. This riff is altered several times during the outro and added adlib vocals and lead guitar. Mercury uses 3+3+3+3 syncoptaion starting on the 3rd beat of the 10th measure.
In the live version they played 26 cycles of the riff, but they closed the song with two "B"-type cycles followed by a fermata-like closing sőiced with Piquardy third.
In the long version the Outro is extended. The point of departure for the lead guitar is around 11 measure. Instead of fade out the backing track is stripped down step by step to just the hi-hats that opened the song.