We Will Roxygen You

Oct 9, 2020

Musician Jonathan Coulton sings songs by Freddie MERCURY with lyrics changed to be about elements on the periodic table. Friendtestants Cecil Baldwin and Kate Jones compete to find out who is Queen of the Noble Gases.

Heard on: Zachary Quinto: Spock-tober.

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.


So no more working together.


EISENBERG: And this game is a music parody game with a touch of science just for you. I know.

KATE JONES: Yup. Yup. This is - it's all coming back.


JONATHAN COULTON, BYLINE: OK, here's what we've done. We have changed the lyrics of songs sung by Freddie Mercury, which is a chemical element, to be about other elements in the periodic table. So all you have to do is name the element. You can name the song - many, many ways to win.

EISENBERG: I think we will also just accept zinc at all times.


COULTON: Zinc is always the right answer.

BALDWIN: Always be zincing.

COULTON: Always be zincing - ABZ.

JONES: Thank you.

COULTON: So the first one is for you, Cecil.


COULTON: (Singing) Driving, you see these signs making night skies full of light. It's this gas that makes them bright. Open, or maybe girls, girls, girls, it might say vacancy while glowing orange red.

BALDWIN: "Bohemian Rhapsody" and neon.

COULTON: Yeah, that is correct.


COULTON: Well done. OK, Kate, this is for you. (Singing) K as the symbol seems strange. Just blame it on Latin - it won't change. Still, what you get'll be a soft metal, electrolytes and bananas and salmon - also prunes.

JONES: So the element is potassium.

COULTON: Certainly is.

JONES: And the song is "We Are The Champions."

COULTON: Yeah, well done.

JONES: It's on. It's on.

COULTON: It certainly is on. All right, Cecil, here is one for you.


COULTON: (Singing) Oh, for transistors and for microchips, this metal ore is so handy, can be sandy, and it's part of a name of a place and a show that's on HBO, oh, as in valley.

BALDWIN: OK. I think the song is "You're My Best Friend."

COULTON: Yeah, you got it.

BALDWIN: And the element is silicon.

COULTON: Yes. Fantastic.

BALDWIN: Not silicone, which apparently is something very different.

COULTON: Different thing.

BALDWIN: My nerdy friends have told me many a time. Silicon.

COULTON: OK, Kate, this is the last one. It is for you. (Singing) (Unintelligible) essential, pour out on the mix, just to put this on everything. Now my blood pressure's high. I got to try eating a little bit less of this guy. Also, it melts ice in rock form.

JONES: So the song is "We Will Rock You." I think it's sodium chloride because it's salt.

COULTON: Yes. We were trying to get you to say just sodium, but you are correct. So we're going to give that to you.

EISENBERG: Sprinkle it on your driveway.

JONES: Definitely don't. It's explosive.

COULTON: Yeah, not plain old sodium. If you put plain old sodium on your driveway and - because sodium interacts with water explosively.

JONES: Water.

COULTON: Is that right?

EISENBERG: All right. How about cumin? Can I put cumin on my driveway?

JONES: Sure.

COULTON: Yeah, it won't do anything.


JONES: Some color.

COULTON: Won't do anything except make it taste better.


EISENBERG: My goodness. That was perfect also.

COULTON: Feel that shame draining away. That shame is gone. It's covered with an intense feeling of pride.

EISENBERG: Yeah. You guys are champions.

BALDWIN: Are we champions of the world?





EISENBERG: Such a pleasure. It's so nice to reconnect with you and reconnect with you, Kate, in this format.

COULTON: Redemption.

EISENBERG: That's right. That's right. It's been redemption by ASK ME ANOTHER. Thank you so much, Cecil Baldwin.

BALDWIN: Thank you.

EISENBERG: Thank you so much, Kate Jones.

JONES: Thank you. This was great.

EISENBERG: Comedian Kate Jones joined us from Switzerland. Cecil Baldwin is the voice of "Welcome To Night Vale" and hosts "Random Horror Podcast No. 9."


EISENBERG: Coming up, I'll talk to actor Zachary Quinto about playing Mr. Spock in the new "Star Trek" movies and starring in the new Netflix movie adaptation of "The Boys In The Band." I'm Ophira Eisenberg, and this is ASK ME ANOTHER from NPR. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.