14 Songs, 59 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

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EDITORS’ NOTES

Explicit
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Ratings and Reviews

4.6 out of 5

298 Ratings
298 Ratings

Great cd

Blubun

This is a great cd. I highly recommend this c.d. if you are going to buy a Q.O.T.S.A. cd. I recommend the tracks "Burn the Witch", "In My Head", and "Little Sister" if you are going to buy individually.

One of my favorite CDs...

The Todlich

This is probabbly one of my most favorite CDs,
It has different types of songs for different types of moods, and they always sound good! Quite possibly the best CDs released this year.

iPod Garage reviews Lullabies to Paralyze by QOTSA

iProng.com

I don't know what it was that possessed me to finally go and download QOTSA's new album Lullabies to Paralyze last week. I do know what triggered me to head down the path, though: I came across a story in which Josh Homme finally publicly stated that the reason he had fired the bass player was because the guy had been physically abusing his girlfriend, not due merely to a clash of egos, as had been widely assumed. While it's an interesting social statement, from a musical standpoint, this didn't mean anything to me. But what it did finally make me realize was "Hey, the bass player that can't sing isn't on the new record!" And from there, I just talked myself into buying the thing, despite the fact that I had heard nothing but three cowbell whacks from the first single.

Right away, staring in iTunes, I noticed that the first two tracks on the album were no more than ninety seconds long each, and this struck me as, I don't know, perhaps a bit insane. But I fired it up anyway, and right off the bat, found myself listening to what could best be described as a child's lullaby. No, really, the first track might as well be Rock-a-bye Baby. It's that mellow. And to my astonishment, the first voice you hear on the album is not that of Josh Homme, but that of Mark Lanegan. Wait a minute, didn't he supposedly quit the band before they even started recording this album?

So the first song is a child's lullaby sung by a guy who has recently quit the band. Alright, now you've got my attention. And with that I realized that this whole album was very much going to be insane. You see, there are several times on this album, not just one but several, in which a child's toy piano is one of the featured instruments. There are several songs in which Josh Homme's voice is so distorted that it doesn't sound anything like him. Some of the guitar parts are so distorted, so fuzzed, so messy, that you'd think I was playing them. And I don't play guitar.

And man, is it all ever fun. I cannot ever remember having listened to a new album for the first time and having so thoroughly enjoyed how immensely insane it all is. It's going along and, just after you think you've discovered some kind of twisted influence ranging anywhere from possibly U2 to David Bowie, then it's suddenly time for that toy piano part to make its re-entry at just the right time and you realize that the truer influence is perhaps the devil himself. The the third song is entitled "Everybody Knows That You're Insane," and although the title gets repeated probably twenty times in the course of the song, it never gets repetitive because it's sung completely differently every time. It's also both the fastest and the slowest song on the album. You'd have to hear it to understand. On the fifth song, here comes Lanegan again, and nevermind the fact that he's not in the band, here he is trading lyrics with Homme, at least for one verse, after which Lanegan's part mysteriously disappears (perhaps that's the precise moment at which he quit?). It's one of the easiest songs to sing along with I've encountered, and yet I don't know, and can't figure out, a single word of it. Singing along with it just sort of sounds like "Bum-ba-dum, bum-ba-bum-ba-dum." If you walked down the street listening to this song on your iPod and singing along to it, anyone who heard you would think you had escaped from an asylum and call the cops immediately.

But this highlights what makes the whole thing work so well: at some points, Homme isplaying the part of a traditional lead singer, and at other points, his voice is just another strange instrument to add to the mayhem. For every song like "In My Head" witstraightforward, radio-friendly lyrics (this is likely the next single and probably a big hit), there's a song like "Someone's in the Wolf" in which you really have no idea what's going on at any point during the song, except that it's a lot of fun to listen to. And sure enough, that stupid cowbell at the beginning of the first single, which comes in out of nowhere on the radio, actually works on the album, where it acts as a bridge between it and the song that came before it.

As the album progresses, both the music and the lyrics get weirder. But astonishingly enough, the eleventh and twelfth tracks are two of the catchiest and perhaps the most fun entries on the album. And the fourteenth and final song, "The Long Slow Goodbye," just might be the best of the bunch (and might make its way to radio as well).

I've never been one to fall for gimmick rock. I'm just as unimpressed with the shreiking of System of a Down during their fifteen minutes as I was with the rasp of Marilyn Manson during his fifteen minutes. So what is it that makes QOTSA to completely different than any of these other self-proclaimed insane artists? Well, for one thing, the musicality on this album is really, really good, which is almost a 180 from most bands who go about trying to convince the world how insane they are. And for another thing, Josh Homme doesn't try to be insane in his music -- he just is. He's either blissfully unaware of it, or he simply doesn't care. And the fact that most of his bandmates have left him doesn't seem to have hurt things one bit. I have a feeling that they were just getting in the way of his insane vision for this insanely great album anyway.

About Queens of the Stone Age

Formed from the ashes of stoner rock icons Kyuss, Queens of the Stone Age reunited the group's singer/guitarist Josh Homme, drummer Alfredo Hernandez, and bassist Nick Oliveri along with new guitarist/keyboardist Dave Catching. The project's origins date back to Homme, who in the wake of Kyuss' 1995 demise relocated to Seattle to tour with the Screaming Trees; he soon began working with a revolving lineup of musicians including the Trees' Van Conner, Soundgarden's Matt Cameron, and Dinosaur Jr.'s Mike Johnson, recording a series of 7"s originally issued under the name Gamma Ray. After rechristening the group Queens of the Stone Age, Homme recruited Hernandez to begin work on their self-titled debut LP, issued in late 1998 on Loosegroove; after the album was completed, Oliveri left the Dwarves to rejoin his former bandmates, with the subsequent addition of Catching rounding out the roster. In addition to extensive touring, Homme put together a series of albums for the indie label Man's Ruin; the various volumes of the Desert Sessions feature Homme's collaborations with a loose-knit lineup of like-minded musicians, some from bands like Soundgarden, Fu Manchu, and Monster Magnet.

In mid-2000, Queens of the Stone Age issued their sophomore album, Rated R (as in the movie rating; some promo copies were distributed with the original title, II), before appearing on that year's Ozzfest tour. By that point, drummer Hernandez had been replaced by a tag-team combo of Gene Troutman and Nicky Lucero. The group built a healthy buzz courtesy of accolades from such renowned publications as Rolling Stone, and good old-fashioned touring. 2001 saw the group perform at the massive Rock in Rio festival (after which Oliveri was arrested by the Brazilian police for performing nude) and a spot on the year's Ozzfest. The same year, Homme and Oliveri put together yet another volume of the Desert Sessions series, while QOTSA assembled a third studio album.

Ex-Nirvana drummer Dave Grohl was very vocal in the press about his admiration of the Queens, which led to an invitation for him to join the group for the third album's recording and, subsequently, supporting tour. Surprisingly, Grohl accepted, putting the Foo Fighters on hold (despite having a new album completed and ready to go). One of the year's most eagerly anticipated hard rock albums, Songs for the Deaf was issued in August 2002 and was preceded by a tour that saw Oliveri and Homme joined by Grohl on drums, ex-Screaming Trees vocalist Mark Lanegan, and A Perfect Circle guitarist/keyboardist Troy Van Leeuwen. As if their schedules weren't busy enough between QOTSA and their other projects, Oliveri and Homme signed on to pen the musical score to the movie The Dangerous Lives of Altar Boys (with backing by Rage Against the Machine drummer Brad Wilk), and formed a new project, Headband, with ex-Marilyn Manson bassist Twiggy Ramirez and Amen frontman Casey Chaos. Homme also hooked up with old friend Jesse Hughes for Eagles of Death Metal, which issued the Peace Love Death Metal LP in 2004. (Homme played drums.) When QOTSA reconvened for the March 2005 LP Lullabies to Paralyze, the lineup featured Homme, Joey Castillo, Alain Johannes, Van Leeuwan, and Lanegan. The Over the Years and Through the Woods CD/DVD appeared in November that same year. It featured live material from the band's tour for Lullabies, but also included rare and archival Queens footage. In 2007, the band (Lanegan at this point was only a guest) released the excellent Era Vulgaris, which also included contributions from the Strokes' Julian Casablancas, among others.

Era Vulgaris wrapped up QOTSA's contract with Interscope and the group went into a period of inactivity as Homme pursued other projects over the next few years. Chief among these was Them Crooked Vultures, a power trio also featuring Dave Grohl and Led Zeppelin bassist John Paul Jones, who released an eponymous album in 2009. The next year saw a deluxe reissue of Rated R and in 2011, the band reissued their hard-to-find debut and did a small supporting tour behind this deluxe edition. QOTSA began recording a new album in 2012, bringing Grohl back into the fold and also finding spots for Mark Lanegan, Trent Reznor, Jake Shears, and Elton John, as well as Nick Oliveri. Queens of the Stone Age signed with Matador in 2013 and the ...Like Clockwork album was released in June of that year. ...Like Clockwork topped the Billboard 200, as well as the Alternative, Digital, Hard Rock, Independent, and Top Rock charts. Following the success of ...Like Clockwork, Homme and various Queens members participated in the Sound City documentary project and Iggy Pop's 2016 Post Pop Depression album and tour. QOTSA's seventh set, Villains, arrived in August 2017, preceded by the singles "The Way You Used to Do" and "The Evil Has Landed." ~ Jason Ankeny & Greg Prato

ORIGIN
Palm Desert, CA
GENRE
Rock
FORMED
1997

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