Queens Of The Stone Age Self-Titled Album Review — 5 out of 5 Stars
Mon, 10 Jan 2011 09:14:24
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Queens Of The Stone Age never cared about what was currently "cool."
In fact, the Palm Desert rock 'n' roll saviors have redefined what "cool" is on each and every subsequent album they've churned out. Much like your favorite Quentin Tarantino character, there's a combination of wit and wisdom in every line frontman Joshua Homme bellows. However, Queens Of The Stone Age's systematic deconstruction of pop culture began in 1998 with their now classic self-titled debut album, Queens Of The Stone Age. Homme re-visited the album for its reissue [Available soon], re-sequencing the track order and adding three songs. The result is a beefed-up trip back to the desert that makes one of the most essential rock albums of all time even more essential.
Homme and his cohorts begin this timeless journey with "Regular John." Strangely groove-y guitar harmonies bounce along with Homme's unmistakable and undeniable croon. Colorful distortion swells squeal into a driving rhythmic thump that's utterly intoxicating. It's the perfect prelude to the bombastic "Avon," which melds an arena-burning beat to a polyrhythmic guitar stomp. Bathed in distortion, the opening riff to "If Only" remains one of the catchiest and coolest of all time, as Homme soars on the unforgettable refrain. There's a decadent and danceable swagger to the song. It's a form the band slowly began to perfect at this point, laying the groundwork for hip-swingers like "Make It wit Chu," "Little Sister," and "Go With The Flow" later on. Homme's honest words, "I wish we could get away drink wine and screw" impact brilliantly alongside a menacingly gorgeous guitar chug.
Beyond the sexy, sly rock 'n' roll that sounds like Luke Skywalker blunted and driving a speeder across Tattooine, Queens Of The Stone Age excel at building airy soundscapes that swirl around the psyche. Bathed in feedback, "You Would Now" oozes a dark appeal as Homme forewarns, "The devil's got pills in his eyes."
Added to the re-release, "The Bronze," morphs from an elegantly, evil intro into a sensitively dangerous firestarter of a track buttressed on all sides by ominous "Aahs." Then there's "You Can't Quit Me Baby." With a rumbling bass line and calculated fretwork, the track's slow-burning genius makes it hard without adhering to any rules. The refrain, "You're solid gold see you in hell," is the perfect goodbye as Homme rips out a solo that sounds like a combination of droid-speak and Tony Iommi. In other words, it's beyond badass...
Speaking of Star Wars, another added gem "These Aren't The Droids You're Looking For" could freak out Emperor Palpatine with its whistling, futuristic hum. Exceeding six minutes, "Spiders and Vinegaroons" starts with a combination hand-clap and guitar solo. Homme's lead work stands out as rules are given a big middle finger and feel takes over, dipping into otherworldly territory becomes the standard.
Everything culminates on the sound of running water or peeing (depending how filthy your mind is) during "I Was a Teenage Hand Model." It's a shaky send-off that feels completely fitting as Homme says, "And I was singin'."
At the end of the day, even after 12 years, there's nothing cooler than this album. However, it was thankfully only the beginning and with a new record in the wings, Queens Of The Stone Age rightfully reign supreme.
What's your favorite Queens Of The Stone Age song?