She Makes Me (Stormtrooper In Stilettos) is one of the most unusual songs in the Queen catalog. For a band as eclectic as Queen that is saying a lot. From the unusual song title to the music the song is unique. If I had the opportunity to discuss only one Queen song with Brian May, it would be this one.
She Makes Me is the twelfth and penultimate song from Queen’s third album, Sheer Heart Attack (1974). Penned by Brian May, the song begins with strummed acoustic guitars and drums. The bulk of the song’s verses consist of a repeated two chord pattern. The simplistic chord progression, the song’s tempo and the repetitive drum beats help to create a sense of drama that is hypnotic. Brian May delivers an impassioned vocal filled with a sense of longing. It is not clear who, or what, he is singing about. Whoever the subject was it stirred a great deal of emotion in Brian May. As the song progresses May’s vocal takes on hints of desperation and resignation. In true Queen fashion as the song progresses more and more tracks of May’s vocals are added.
One of the rare attributes of the song is the lack of a guitar solo. The bulk of She Makes Me is carried by acoustic guitars. Brian May’s distinctive guitar orchestrations accent the strummed acoustic guitars. There are tasteful, well placed electric guitar accents, yet Brian May opted not to add one of his characteristic guitar solos. This is an interesting choice that makes this unique song that much more unusual. One will also notice the absence of Freddie Mercury on the song. Brian May ably handles all of the song’s vocals.
As the song winds to its conclusion a bevy of different sounds can be heard. Sustained guitar notes, police sirens, heavy breathing and drum fills create a chaotic wall of sound. It is as if May is desperately walking the nighttime city streets after realizing that the relationship, whatever it may have been, is over.
I do not know much about the origin of She Makes Me. I have long suspected that Brian May’s inspiration for the song was the music of The Beatles. Queen never recorded a song like this one ever again. She Makes Me would seem to be an early musical experiment from Brian May. It is a song that gets very little attention. It truly is one of Queen’s deepest cuts. I have long been a fan of this quirky song and it continues to fascinate me.
Sheer Heart Attack and Queen 2 (1974) constantly vie for the title slot of my favorite Queen album. Sheer Heart Attack gets the edge, for now. It showcases one of rock music’s most unique bands at an early stage in their journey. During this time they were working to find their distinctive sound. The album’s thirteen tracks, including She Makes Me, were all stepping stones on the band’s journey.
I love the whole Queen catalog just about equally. But there is something special about the band’s early albums. The music was so wonderfully experimental and adventurous. For a time Queen was a fearless band musically, seemingly willing to try anything. A song like She Makes Me (Stormtrooper In Stilettos) is a prime example.