I don't know whether this has been mentioned before but here goes...
I was listening to a live version earlier and during it I was thinking about the lyrics. Having seen much recently about how depressed John was in the 1980s because of Queen arguably I Want To Break Free is symbolic for that reason, I thought that this idea could be applied to If You Can't Beat Them. The thing which makes me doubtful is that I haven't heard anything negative about John's mental state in the 1970s.
"Keep your chin up when you're feelin' lonely/Don't let them get you down" - them could apply to the rest of the band. Is it because how he stepped away from all the big arguments from the rest of the group hence making him feel lonely.
"Ain't no use in your sitting all alone/Hangin' around for someone to call" - could this be in the studio? Sitting around waiting to be required either in playing bass or producing. Jazz had Roy Thomas Baker producing again so duties wise Queen wouldn't have had as much as responsibility as on the last two albums (A Day At The Races and News Of The World). And having seen early tracklistings for Jazz, IYCBT isn't on them presumably making this one of the album's later recordings. If true, the lyrical content could be about John's experience making the album. John didn't want to talk about the album in an interview with Music Life in 1984, he only said throw it in a garbage bin suggesting he didn't have a positive experience.
The second verse is harder for me to analyse but as Jazz was the first album to be recorded outside the UK due to the huge taxes bands were having to pay, "Keep your fingers off my money/
Don't try and pull me down". Later on in the verse, "Invite me to your little contract" could be referring to Queen's experiences with the Sheffield brothers as John said that Queen were "badly handled".
Let me know what you think whether I'm on to something or whether it's complete garbage due to being too analytical. Be honest!
Deaky Back Chat
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