Queens of the Stone Age- Songs For The Deaf
‘Queens of the Stone Age’ have status as quite a standard Foo Fighters-esque, Nirvana-influenced rock band of the 21st century, however I don’t really believe that to be true, the general attitude of the album is a whole do-whatever-the-hell-you-want attitude. I love the whole satirical-radio-show theme running through the album that is just there to take the piss out of the average radio station with stuff like “we play the songs that sound more like everyone else, than anyone else”. The whole concept of the album is just this, the whole thing is meant to represent a journey in the car, tuning in and out of radio stations, except with all the songs being their own.
The first song, in short-hand just called ‘Millionaire’, begins the whole album. This song shows that they aren’t really a generic rock band because there isn’t really any hooks in the song at all, and there is a gap in the middle of the song that seems just a tiny tiny bit longer than you expect. The whole song is just listing all the different types of music that we are bombarded with on the radio, in quite a shallow way, and just the shallowness of culture with things like “Space flunky, four on the floor, fortified with the liquor store”. This is followed on with the big hit of the album - “No One Knows”, which I’m sure anyone reading this has probably heard before, this just stating a general confusion about the world - they talk about religion but then in the end… “no one knows”, there are rules that are made to be followed when even the people making them don’t really know what they’re doing, this is probably the most generic of rock songs on the album, but then in a way it isn’t really with the structure of it, and all the sections, and the radio chatter at the end. The whole thing speeds up after with ‘First It Giveth’ with a great fast-moving feel and an awesome ‘Queens of the Stone Age’ style to it, slow smooth vocals over a heavy-ish backdrop. This one seems to be about a dependency on drugs, providing a slight link to ‘No One Knows’. ‘Songs for the Dead’ has a brilliant groove to it, and a very deathly tone within those backing vocals. The song is pretty self-explanatory, as if it is coming from the mouth of ‘death’ itself. The guitar work in this song is pretty cool too, I always find ‘Queens of the Stone Age’ to have the best sort of rock guitar improvisation, because it is always an unconventional way of using a conventional rock style. The work on the drums is pretty cool too. It’s just a very cool song.
‘The Sky is Fallin” maintains that ghostly vocal style that seems to be made use of throughout the album so far. This song has more of an epic feel than the songs of before it. It seems a little bit more emotional too, the lyrics and music, the lyrics just being about how he’s been wasting his life being pessimistic, and how he only has himself to blame. This one really shows off Josh Homme’s vocals which are actually quite underrated. ‘Six Shooter’ comes after another satirical radio break which mentions “all death metal, all the time”, and it seems like quite a satirical song about pointlessly aggressive music like death metal, with lyrics like “fuck this road, well fuck you too, i’ll fuckin kill your best friend”. A lot of this album likes to make fun of different genres of music. ‘Hanging tree’ comes after this, with a different vocalist, who I quite like the sound of, he really fits the feel of the song. The song has a really mysterious meaning too, very spiritual-sounding, but cool at the same time. I do like it, but can’t really say much about what it may be about. ‘Go With The Flow’ is another of the album’s hits, and it could well be the catchiest on the album, seeming to be about a relationship that seems to not really be going well, except for the sex. However the fact that the sex feels right questions whether the relationship is actually not going well, or whether it matters that the relationship isn’t going well - “don’t say it doesn’t matter anymore” etc. Musically it’s probably the most enjoyable song on the album.
‘Gonna Leave You’ keeps this relationship theme with a break-up song that isn’t the conventional sort of break-up song because it has some unconventional ways of saying things that are usually said in songs of this kind. Musically it’s not the best song, but has some nice harmonies to it. ‘Do It Again’ is another song linking to the relationship theme, about the sex itself in the relationship. The way the drums and guitar work together in this song are really rather catchy in quite a laid-back way. The song ends with more humorous switching through of radio stations, this includes a lot of christian stations, a lot of preaching. This is something that leads well into ‘God is in the Radio’ which is plainly about the influence of the media, as if the media is the most popular ‘God’ that the western world worships - “God is leaking through the station”, “I know that God is in the radio, just repeating a slogan”. The whole song is a very laid-back rock song, that gives Queens of the Stone Age their label of ‘Stoner Rock’, some nice soloing, nice vocals, really cool how they calm the song down near the end, then bring it back in with an unconventional psychedelic-esque solo in the end. And then they use reverb effects in a clever way to make it seem like you are walking away from the band playing the song at the end.
‘Another Love Song’ is then satirizing love songs, and all the cliche things they say in them about break-ups. There isn’t very much going for this song to be honest other than that, it has a very poppy structure, the backing vocals are nicely done, that’s about it. The radio break at the end of it is quite oddly humorous too, this leads into ‘Song for the Deaf’ which has a very dark atmosphere in it, especially in the start and in the verses, some of it seeps away in the chorus. The way Josh Homme sings is rather dark, combined with that bassline and guitar riff. The song seems to just be about how it feels to be deaf, in the same way ‘Song for the Dead’ was quite self-explanatory. Musically this is probably the most interesting song, with the spoken-word parts, the riff, the vocal harmonies, the harmonies between the guitars too, and the melodies in general. The song then ends with a radio break, a minute of silence which is supposed to be an actual song for the deaf, or how a deaf person would hear a song, and then a weird version of ‘Feel Good Hit of the Summer’. ‘The Mosquito Song’ ends the song very calmly, with an acoustic-guitar-and-vocal arrangement. The song sounds like it is about cannibalism, providing a link between humans and animals, which I think is what they were trying to go for. The second half of the song has an orchestral arrangement which ends it in an epic way, with some very spanish-sounding melodies. The last line of the song is then “Huh, what?” which is just a humorous idea of what a deaf person would say after listening to this album.
Genre: Stoner Rock
Recommended Listens: “No One Knows”, “God Is In The Radio”, “Song for the Deaf”
Have a Listen!