Queens of the Stone Age: Songs For the Deaf
By
Mike Hess
9/26/2002 12:56:08 PM

"I begin to wonder if Dave Grohl was sitting at home and thought to himself “Hell, I made the best rock album of 1992, and now that it’s 10 years later, I think I’ll go ahead and make the best rock album of 2002.” "

When Josh Homme whimpers the lines “Heaven smiles above me/ What a gift here below” during “No One Knows”, he’s basically describing the feeling the listener gets when they unwrap and listen to the new Queens of the Stone Age album Songs For the Deaf[Interscope]. Their “stoner-rock” reputation should be put into a bong and smoked…and be exhaled as what it is -- “genius-rock”.

You see, Josh Homme and Nick Oliveri (the two principal members in QOTSA) have been in the music game long enough to know how to manipulate a listener. They mix up vocal registers, slam guitar licks that outweigh Louie Anderson and John Goodman after a night at Sizzler, and add a flicker or psychedelic Southern snarl to each song. Oliveri handles the screamy punk tracks, and Homme’s cotton-soft voice is as comforting and smooth as spreading butter with a branding iron. However, there’s a key element to this album that makes it so fabulous compared to other QOTSA albums – Dave Grohl on drums.

I begin to wonder if Dave Grohl was sitting at home and thought to himself “Hell, I made the best rock album of 1992, and now that it’s 10 years later, I think I’ll go ahead and make the best rock album of 2002.” One eye-glance at Grohl behind a kit in the video for “No One Knows” should automatically send arctic chills up the spine of true rock fans. His staccato snare-slaps, jumpy cymbal work, and tendency to ease up on the kick-drum to let the other instruments shine add an almost jazzy element to the tunes. When all this is laid upon Josh Homme's falsetto-friendly style, it's nothing short of breathtaking.

It must be said that the album does lose a bit of steam along the way, but that certainly doesn’t make a difference after you’ve heard the opening trio. “You Think I Ain't Worth A Dollar, But I Feel Like A Millionaire” opens up after a fake KLON Radio (that’s “clone”) sweeper boasts “We play the songs that sound more like every one else, than anyone else.” Queens have the knowledge and desire to not sound like all the other shit that’s slung out to major radio, and they strive to be different. Oliveri’s tortured punk yelps duel with a super-electrified guitar lead by Homme. Next up is “No One Knows” (the best album debut single you’ve heard in quite some time), and then is followed by “First It Giveth”, a non-radio-friendly track that truly showcases the vision, girth and prowess of the band. Aggro-rock chords pummel alongside floor-tom blasts by Grohl, all melded together by Oliveri’s thumpy basslines.

Queens of the Stone Age bring a songwriting and musical genius edge to a rock genre that’s been bent over a toilet vomiting for quite some time now. Plainly put -- it’s an absolute must-have in any collection.

Check out more about Queens of the Stone Age on their website at : www.qotsa.com, and be sure to watch the video for the brilliant single “No One Knows”

 

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