The Shoebox of Delights – Jim Picked Number 15
Songs For The Deaf – Queens of the Stone Age
I was (and had before I went on holiday) going to write a little story about how wonderful charity shops are. This album folks, was until about 0930 Tuesday morning, the last CD I ever bought, found in a charity shop in Exeter for £1.50. An absolute chuffing bargain. On Tuesday whilst in Burlington, Vermont I found a copy of ‘After Murder Park’ by The Auteurs in a thrift shop – price – $2. Now that is the last CD I ever bought and also an absolute chuffing bargain.
But, as I cycled, walked, drove and on one occasion horse rode, through the countryside of Vermont and New Hampshire, this band kept coming on the iPod, the car stereo and I am pretty sure that the horse was singing ‘Feel Good hit of the Summer’ whilst I was on its back. So I thought, bugger it, let’s do an Imaginary Compilation on Queens of The Stone Age. Also I am stuck at an airport for at least three hours and I have time to kill (well it gets me out of shopping with the family – I’ll stay with the bags and this MASSIVE doughnut, you go and have fun, its fine….).
I came to Queens of the Stone Age late. The first album of theirs that I owned was the most recent – but since then I have actively sought out as much of their stuff as I can find, and ‘Songs For the Deaf’ is totally brilliant, it is their third album and they recruited Dave Grohl and Mark Lanegan to bolster their sound – which pretty much turned them into a super group by adding two guys who are always on top of their game. Queens of the Stone Age are a consistently brilliant band, one who have a biit of mystique about them. Their world is a sexual drug filled and somewhat paranoid place that is laced with darkness and humour.
So here is my Imaginary Compilation
‘Feel Good Hit of the Summer’ – There is perhaps no better place to start, that chugging riff at the start which to me is instantly recognisable. An open letter to the (apparent, I wouldn’t know, I’m pretty much a tea total monk) joy of various types of narcotics, with just that simple lyric of seven types of drugs repeated over and over again. Simple, effective and downright incredible despite featuring the bloke out of Judas Priest on backing vocals. Ready everyone…..’Nicotine, Valium, Vicodin…’
‘If I Had A Tail’ – Filth. Utter Filth. This song makes me want to go and have a shower, I’ve never been sure why, perhaps it’s the way its bass line throbs away and the guitar kind of just toys with you. Or perhaps its those lyrics particularly the bit where Josh Homme goes ‘oooh La La’ and talks about sucking and licking. Yes it’s that bit. Definitely. Features a cast of thousands (well Dave Grohl on drums, Alex Turner, Mark Lanegan and Nick Oliveri) as well. On a separate point Nick Oliveri deserves your highest praise because he was once arrested for punching two of Terrorvision.
‘Monsters in the Parasol’ – More filth. This is a butt shaking romp about a transvestite (the monster in the parasol, I assume is a metaphor, is that the right grammar?). It’s really catch again and is a bit of an earworm. One that I know now will be playing over in my mind on the forthcoming flight.
‘First It Giveth’ – In which Josh adopts a painful sounding falsetto and warbles over punishing riffs and then it bursts into full on strop mode for a chorus which I think is best described as apocalyptic. That might be over doing it, but I love it all the same.
‘No One Knows’ – Here the album slightly changes pace a bit and we find ourselves sliding into a nice and sleazy dimly lit bar. This song is song sleazy it may as well be half drunk, reeking of cheap petrol station bought cologne and making a move on your girlfriend/wife/brother/well anything really. Its slime of the highest quality and it is genius.
‘You Think I Ain’t Worth A Dollar But I Feel Like A Millionaire’ – This the greatest strengths of rock at its hardest– stunning riffs, breakneck speed, and guitars that churn and spit like a threshing machine. Yes its full of really old metal clichés but this is the Queens of The Stone Age, this what you expect from them. It’s fantastic and rather like the musical equivalent of a bouncer putting you in a full nelson until you beg for mercy – and then – giving you a hug for your troubles.
‘I Sat by The Ocean’ – One of the more straight forward tracks that the Queens have recorded. The sound here and across the whole of the ‘Like Clockwork’ album is more tight and this track is actually quite poppy. On this track the vocals are shared by Homme and bassist Michael Shuman.
‘Better Living Through Chemistry’ – Possibly the greatest song in the world to start with a bongo drum and perhaps the closest that Queens get to matching the sound of Homme’s previous band Kyuss. Its kind of floaty and it shows that this track was written in the desert. It is one of their greatest songs, epic and somewhat surrealist, if that is even possible.
‘The Lost Art of Keeping A Secret’ – This was supposed to be a macho kind of record but the rumour goes that Homme got stoned whilst recorded it and decided to bring in a marimba and a saxophone and turned it into a wonderful pop record. The chorus is probably the catchiest thing that they’ve recorded. Strangely I nearly left this off for one of its B Sides but changed my mind.
‘……..Like Clockwork’ – I’ll end with what I think is the nicest track that Homme and co have ever recorded. It starts with voice and piano and builds majestically into a guitar sound that is swelled by some strings. Then in comes that falsetto again and he warns ‘Its all downhill from here’. I’m getting on a plane in about twenty minutes – I don’t believe him.
A lot has been written about Queens of the Stone Age, they say that ‘Rated R’ is one of the greatest records ever made, it even made that book ‘1001 records to hear before you die’. It is a wonderful record. If you are new to Queens of the Stone Age, start there and then indulge entirely.
That was supposed to be Number 15, it kind of was. Can I have some more numbers please?
Thanks everyone have a good day.
mp3 : Queens of the Stone Age – Feel Good Hit of The Summer
mp3 : Queens of the Stone Age – If I Had A Tail
mp3 : Queens of the Stone Age – Monsters in The Parasol
mp3 : Queens of the Stone Age – First It Giveth
mp3 : Queens of the Stone Age – No One Knows
mp3 : Queens of the Stone Age – You Think I Ain’t Worth A Dollar But I Feel Like A Millionaire
mp3 : Queens of the Stone Age – I Sat By The Ocean
mp3 : Queens of the Stone Age – Better Living Through Chemistry
mp3 : Queens of the Stone Age – The Lost Art Of Keeping A Secret
mp3 : Queens of the Stone Age – ….Like Clockwork
I’m with the author on the quality of Rated R and the greatness of ‘Lost Art….’ I’m otherwise a bit ambivalent about Q0tSA but there’s no arguing they’re exceptionally good at what they do.