Upon the release of music biopic “Bohemian Rhapsody” last November, legendary rock group, Queen, has once again taken the world by storm through a renewed interest in their acclaimed discography and riveting rise to fame. Loyal followers have praised the recognition of the group and film through their academy wins and box office triumph, yet remain divided on the attitude towards a growing fanbase.
New fans, particularly teenagers and young adults, have flocked to various social media platforms with a desire for mutual communication regarding the film’s cast, members of Queen and a love for the music that unifies them. As a new fan, it’s been a journey to witness our group discover aspects of the band for the first time. However, being a fresh follower comes with its fair share of backlash from longtime supporters.
A stereotype has been placed upon us for being “bandwagon fans”, a term frequently used for those who latch onto a specific music artist, sports team or other cultural phenomenon due to its increasing success and popularity. “True fans” may assume that “bandwagoners” have little to no appreciation for Queen’s music and are simply following the trend of admiring the band due to the favorable opinions surrounding “Bohemian Rhapsody.” Having called ourselves Queen fans for a minimal amount of time, we are considered inferior to those who have been around prior to the film’s release, and continue to be ridiculed for our insufficient knowledge and lack of interest in the band beforehand.
It’s understandable for current fans to long for the same amount of loyalty from newbies. Still, it baffles me that in a community which favors a sense of belonging, many resent the idea of new fans developing an interest in a music group and wanting to learn more.
The stereotype that new fans are “fake fans” is an ugly one. Unfortunately, there are people who tend to jump into the trend of liking a band for their admiration, which becomes all that the public sees. However, it isn’t the case for every new listener.
From various Twitter interactions I’ve observed between fan accounts, their knowledge is limited, for obvious reasons, but the passion to acquire said knowledge thrives. Discussions are held regarding controversial topics relating to the band. Acknowledgement of underrated tracks and albums are prevalent. Questions are asked in terms of when certain events took place. We are able to learn from each other in a team effort.
The majority is willing to guide new fans on topics across the board. However, hearing they’ve come from the “Bohemian Rhapsody” creates a prejudiced lens, with questioning of their loyalty to the group.
Why should their road to discovery be the paramount concern?
I tend to stand before the music world with open arms, gathering every bit of information I can on the artists I love. It doesn’t always come so easily. Simply listening to a music artist won’t always give me the push I need to explore their entire discography. I require something greater, like a documentary, a movie or a book. Whatever the format, I need something to spike my attention. In the case for recent Queen fans, “Bohemian Rhapsody” was able to do the trick, bringing an undiscovered world of music to the forefront. We have the ability to get the gist of Queen’s story before going to explore in greater detail, if we choose.
The film accomplished an unspoken goal of introducing Queen to a new generation of fans. The legacy of the group will carry on through their admiration and newfound knowledge. A fan is a fan, regardless of timing or means of entering the fanbase. We share the same intentions and taste. Ultimately, the music matters above all.
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