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    Queens Of The Stone Age

    rated r songs for the deaf queens of the stone age

    Queens Of The Stone Age( 1998 )
    Regular John / Avon / If Only / Walkin On The Sidewalks / You Would Know / How To Handle A Rope / Mexicola / Hispanic Impressions / You Can't Quit Me Baby / Give The Mule What He Wants / I Was A Teenage Hand Model

    I've set myself a challenge, Iím going to try to review Queens Of The Stone Age without their stellar tune 'No One Knows' repeating inside my brain the whole time through. It'll be tough, I know. Anyway, those Kyuss guys? I know little about them at the time of writing and not a huge amount about Queens Of The Stone Age compared to certain other bands I could be reviewing. I've never really paid them much attention and from listening to this debut set, I think I know why. Oh, they have their plus points, 'No One Knows' being just one of them. Plus points like? Well, without mentioning individual tunes for a little bit here, they sound great. They sound genuinely impressive, especially turned up loud. Question one, strip away the layers of magnificent fuzz and what are we left with? Second good point, they can play. Josh Homme does a few neat little guitar solos, although I always yearn for them to be longer. The band as whole have a great fuzzy thing going on and clearly are good enough players for us to assume they have 'chops'. Although they do it in such a way they don't go overboard. For all the 70s rock influences carefully hidden underneath, they aren't about to blow it by releasing an album long composition for piano and orchestra. I find myself losing interest during the 2nd half of the album, not because it's a huge amount worse than the 1st half, rather the lack of variety. For all that impresses, I have a nagging suspicion the songs came very easily to Josh Homme and co, too easily. A natural evolution from Kyuss and post Kyuss activities perhaps, but Iíve heard better rock debuts.

    I'll mention a few individual tunes now, 'Regular John' is awesome, a stupendous driving riff powers a tune that's also got just enough vocals to please. Josh Homme isn't a shouter, his voice sort of just sits in the middle of the overall sound, which is always how a good vocalist in a band should be. 'Walkin On The Sidewalks' contains a very dirty sounding guitar riff and sounds so good turned up loud it almost blows away my theory that hard rock albums should also sound reasonably decent listened to quietly. The slightly strange closing tune 'I Was A Teenage Hand Model' makes me yearn that Queens Of The Stone Age had thrown in a semi-acoustic ballad, or just something different, somewhere earlier in the albums tracklisting. 'I Was A Teenage Hand Model' is very throwaway yet works as one of the few different things here. Oh, the very beginning of 'Hispanic Impressions' always makes me think that a Deep Purple song is about to begin. Does anybody else get that? The six minute long 'You Can't Quit Me Baby' is a nod to Led Zeppelin and also something a little more interesting in terms of song-arrangement. A solid debut album overall, rather than an astonishing one, although there is enough within the highlights to suggest that Queens Of The Stone Age can be very good indeed when everything falls in the correct places. Indeed, 'Regular John' is so good I could almost claim it's one of the greatest hard-rock songs ever.

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    top of page Rated R( 2000 )
    Feel Good Hit Of The Summer / Lost Art Of Keeping A Secret / Leg Of Lamb / Auto Pilot / Better Living Through Chemistry / Monsters In The Parasol / Quick And To The Pointless / In The Fade / Reprise / Tension Head / Lightning Song / I Think I Lost My Headache

    A metal classic, i've been told. Lord knows metal fans needed a strong guitar album circa the turn of the new century. Leading alternative bands such as Radiohead and Flaming Lips were turning their back on guitars, whilst all hard rock had to offer was the same old bands. Nothing new. 'Rated R' was a shock to the system for many metal-heads, a cool alternative band that also fitted seamlessly into the much maligned and depleted ( since 'Nevermind' ) proper heavy-metal genre. So, Queens Of The Stone Age suddenly found themselves appealing to both alternative fans and metal-heads and started to shift serious units, thanks to the mostly dapper and thrilling 'Rated R'. Indeed, 'Rated R' is a reasonably diverse set, moving from the thrash of 'Quick And To The Pointless' through to the MTV friendly 'Auto Pilot' and 'Lost Art Of Keeping A Secret', finishing off with the opening tune 'Feel Good Hit Of The Summer'. Hugely enjoyable 'Feel Good Hit Of The Summer' is too', with a demented chorus, and even more demented guitar parts. 'Ca Ca Co-cocaine' was the line all the kids were singing that year, I tell you. Further proof of how perfectly rounded 'Rated R' is as a cohesive whole arrives with the Mark Lanegan sung 'In The Fade'. The ex-screaming trees singer growls and croons his way through a song in which the dirge-like chorus sections neatly offset the sweet slower verses. It's a song with some amount of tension built into it and one of my favourites here. The guitars and anger are turned up for 'Tension Head', a very neat and addictive riff is repeated throughout, and the singer gets a chance to let rip amongst the distortion.

    What else can I say about this record? Well, it never once offers a weak track, only occasionally slipping into average, but the sum is more than the combined total of the individual parts. 'Better Living Through Chemistry' fades in and out, playing chops, drugs, a dirty riffing rock and roll ending. The development over and above the bands already decent self-titled debut is clear from one cursory listen to 'Monsters In The Parasol', it's just a piece of well constructed rock music with a cool riff. Queens Of The Stone Age seem to pepper 'Rated R' with cool and memorable riffs, the album contains more of them, all simply constructed, than many new bands manage over the course of a career. So, props to Josh Homme and co. You've convinced me with the very listenable and appealing 'Rated R'. Wide-ranging? Well, yes. What's your next trick?

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    Readers Comments

    Michael McDonell michael-mcdonell@hotmail.com
    I agree with the rating, but not proper heavy metal "depleted." Sure, it wasn't cool after that, but it doesn't mean that really good albums stopped being made ever since "Nevermind." True, some bands resorted to the old tried and true elements but I think the 90's are possibly the most innovative time for metal..... bands like Opeth, Therion, Angra, Agalloch, and even melodic death metallers like In Flames and Dark Tranquillity actually did what QOTSA do here (ie. give "classic metal" a shock to the system), albeit drastically different. If you're talking strictly 80's metal, then I agree that was pretty maligned - hair metal, fantasy metal, glam, etc. probably deserved that but remember that wasn't all that was going on metal wise in the 80's. You would be very surprised.


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    Songs For The Deaf( 2002 )
    You Think I Ain't Worth a Dollar, But I Feel Like a Millionaire / No One Knows / First It Giveth / Song for the Dead / The Sky Is Falling / Six Shooter / Hanging Tree / Go With the Flow / Gonna Leave You / Do It Again / God Is on the Radio / Another Love Song / Song for the Deaf / Mosquito Song

    Josh Homme, Nick Oliveri and..... Dave Grohl! Dave Grohl actually drumming on an album which is something of a rarity since the old Nirvana days. Guess what? He was the missing piece in that Queens Of The Stone Age jigsaw. You wouldn't think a drummer alone could make so much difference, but boy does he make a difference. From the screamed Oliveri opener to 'No One Knows', a song that always, always is so damn exciting. Grohl powers the tune forwards thunderously. The whispers and the bombs and the bass and the spills. It's all just so very good. Oh, trying to give the album a theme is the little snatches of radio station programmes inbetween the tracks. Not really neccessary and these can be ignored. The best that can be said of them is they don't get in the way, although occasionally they do become irritating. Mark Lanegan ex vocalist for Screaming Trees pops up here and there, first of all on the dirge-like 'A Song For The Dead'. Before that however, 'First He Giveth' continues to guarantee the word propulsive is used when describing the album, the bass the star of the show this time, speedily rumbling away with much intent. I've heard people describe the album as inacessibly. It's not really, but it does take a few listens for songs to sink in, 'The Sky Is Falling' initially sounds like a song that meanders away without purpose, but the weird chanting sections, the drums... the grunge guitars. It's heavy yet retains structure and melody. It's very good and the first half of this album actually is peerless, really.

    The second half of the album includes a couple of glam rock beats, more strong performances and although nothing as startling as 'No One Knows' at least ensures there's nothing actually below-par on the album. Everything passes muster, from the anthemic 'Go With The Flow', the dream-like 'Hanging Tree', the six minute epic 'God Is In The Radio', which moves through glam beats with darker sounds and comes out very interesting and pleasing. The closing 'A Song For The Deaf' opens with Dave Grohl banging away, takes nearly seven minutes to finish and closes the album actually, on something of an anti-climax after what's gone before. It's by no means a bad song and the riff grinds away and the drums thrash away, etc. Yet, we needed something astonishing. As it is, the album is almost astonishing. It's consolidation rather than evolution and after this album, we all wanted Queens Of The Stone Age to really fly and prove us right that they are a classic hard rock band not just a mere passing anomaly. 'Songs For The Deaf' is a good album, an excellent listen and the best album long drumming performance from Dave Grohl. That's pretty good and that's quite enough for now.

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    top of page this page last updated 26/2/08


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