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Queen - Under Pressure - Lyrics Meaning

This song features David Bowie sharing vocals with Freddy Mercury on the 1982 Queen album, Hot Space. The song is about the difficult task of coming out to your family and friends as a homosexual and how society should be more accepting of alternative lifestyles. The "pressure" is this inner turmoil of living a secret life and wanting to get out, but at the same time being fearful of how society and loved ones will react to the news. Mercury sings that this pressure is so great, that it can divide a family and break a home. He says it is sad and also scary to know how the world feels about the gay community in general and he hates to watch his friends struggle with the decision.

Mercury says he has seen friends turn their backs and shut you out, "like a blind man" for announcing your sexual preference. He asks over and over "why can't we give love that one more chance", to which Bowie replies "'cause love is an old fashioned word". Bowie is singing as the conservative side of the argument that does not support this lifestyle and by "old fashioned word" he means that traditional love is meant to be heterosexual in nature. The reply is that this thinking needs to change and people need to re-evaluate how they love and care for each other. The word "people" is used many times throughout the song for the purpose of ambiguity. The band is trying to say that all people should be loved and respected regardless of their sexual orientation.