In honour of today's posthumous release of Freddie Mercury's new song, Time Waits for No One, we decided to shine a light on some other cracking songs that were released after the artist had passed.
5: A Little Less Conversation - Elvis Presley vs Junkie XL
You could call it the return of the King. In 2002 Elvis Presley, with a capable assist from producer extraordinaire JunkieXL, stormed back onto dancefloors around the world with this infectious, hip swinging remix. The song had been a minor hit for Presley back in 1968 after appearing in his film Live A Little, Love A Little, but wasn't widely remembered. But thanks to the nostalgic enthusiasm of the Big Beat revolution and its penchant for adding block rocking beats to long forgotten songs (see also Fat Boy Slim and Moby) Elvis was back again at the top, hitting number 1 in the NZ charts and dominating the conversation.
4: Changes - 2Pac
Anchored around the defeatist chorus vocal and hopeful piano line of the mid-80s classic The Way It Is, this track sees 2Pac imploring for change while calling out the social injustice he saw throughout his life. Released in 1998 the song takes on added poignancy and weight due to the tragedy of his assassination a couple of years prior. He'd always been concerned with contemporary issues but here he comes across as something of a wisend fallen prophet, rapping about police brutality, entrenched racism and the war on poverty. "I see no changes," he says of the time. Today, sadly, his message is still frightening relevant.
3: More than a Woman - Aayliah
With its slinky and seductive synth groove gliding icily over a stilted and jittery hip-hop beat Aayliah's effortlessly genre-mashing track still sounds like the future. You can also make the case that the song's squelchy, bubbly bassline predicted the famed wub-wub's of dubstep by at least three years.
With Timbaland's contagiously fidgety beat rolling continuous it's Aayliah who provides all the counterpoint and drama, pulling you along with the beat and constantly swapping her vocal delivery up to keep things interesting. First, she's the cool, temptress speaking in economic, half-formed sentences, then she's the self-assured, soulful siren promising the world and leading you to the drop before ultimately deciding, "I don't think you're ready for this thing,". Listening to this hypnotically slick futuristic electro-pop-R&B banger, she was probably right.
2: Buffalo Soldier - Bob Marley and the Wailers
Bob Marley is undoubtedly the patron saint of New Zealand and I'd wager more people know the words to Buffalo Soldier then they do our official anthem, God Defend New Zealand. It's not a fair comparison, true, one's a boring dirge and the other's a near perfect example of reggae that's impossibly catchy and in possession of a larger message.
Even if you think you're sick to death of the song - an excusable sentiment as you've no doubt heard at it every BBQ you've ever attended - give the song's funky-reggae groove a few bars and you'll be reaching for the ol' peace pipe before you can say, "woe! yoe! yo!, woe! yoe! yoe! yo!".
1: Love Will Tear Us Apart - Joy Division
Right from its opening second the most miserablist song from the most miserablist band has a weary urgency and solemn desperation about it. Vocalist Ian Curtis' anaesthetised croon detailing the messy emotional turmoil of finding yourself not-quite-broken-up with someone is burdened with a conflicted acceptance and some truly piercing lyrics that paint an almost too real picture of adulthood's domestic angst: "When routine bites hard / And ambitions are low /And resentment rides high". It's a heavy scene, man.
It's also a truly magnificent pop song with a catchy chorus and hooky synthline that stays with you long after it ends.