Review Summary: Five albums into their career, this fan feels that QOTSA have hit a brick wall. Hard.
Oh dear oh dear oh dear.
Back in 2002, Queens of the Stone Age were seriously threatening to become my new favourite band. They looked more capable than anybody else of becoming the next Afghan Whigs - they were sexy, sultry, had a genuinely dark undertone to their music, and above all, they just plain kicked ass. Josh Homme was the consummate rock frontman, Nick Oliveiri gave the band a third dimension in voice, presence, and humour, Mark Lanegan's guest appearences were inspired, and for the short time that Dave Grohl was in the band, he helped them sound like the best rock band in the world, bar none. Songs For The Deaf remains probably the finest straight-up hard rock record of the new millenium.....and it's been all downhill from there.
I could forgive Lullabies to Paralyze. With all the departures from the band, it was plainly a record of transition, and bearing that in mind, it was actually pretty good. Better than it probably should have been, in fact - songs like "Little Sister", "Everybody Knows That You're Insane", "Burn The Witch", and "Someone's In The Wolf" were a proud continuation of what was started with "Regular John", all those years ago. Yes, it was a step backward, but that was understandable. It certainly didn't seem like the death of Josh Homme as a creative force.
But this? This is unforgivable. I'm almost speechless to try and explain everything that's wrong with Era Vulgaris. Over the course of these 11 songs, Homme brings all the cocky posturing, but he forgets to bring anything to back it up, making this closer in spirit to Stone Temple Pilots or - gulp - Creed than his previous work. There is absolutely zero melody on 10 of these songs, the transitions between different sections of the songs are poorly executed and annoying, the riffs are all fiddly rhythmic ideas with no power or effect, the rest of the band is simply non-existant, and the production is flat and lifeless. What's worse, John Homme sounds bored. Seriously, seriously bored. Nobody involved in this record sounds like they give a *** how it sounds, how good the songs are, or even whether anybody buys it or likes it. Like I say, unforgivable.
Not a single song here has a good idea running through it. From the moment you expect "Turning on the Screw" to kick off the album in style, as Queens always have, you're setting yourself up for a disappointment, because it sucks. "I'm Designer" has some nice lyrics, but they're plain annoying coming from somebody who, by this point, just expects you to worship him. "Make It Wit Chu" offers a glimpse of melody for the only time, but this sounds nowhere near as good as any Homme/Harvey duet you've ever imagined, nor does it match up to previous joint efforts between the two, or, in fact, ANY duet involving either of them. Both the singles, "Sick, Sick, Sick" and "3's and 7's", have promise, but "3's and 7's" ultimately fails as Homme tries way too hard to make his guitar sound interesting and no time at all making his vocals sound like they're being sung by somebody who has confidence, talent, or experience, and "Sick, Sick, Sick", despite being great for about a minute, is repetitive and dunderheaded to the point where it becomes genuinely annoying - its 3 and a half minutes feel more like 6. Frustratingly, the riff that comes with the drums on "3's and 7's" is a simple descending whistle-stop line, and it's the ONLY riff on the whole album that's capable of getting stuck in your head without bring drilled there (it took about 20 listens of "Sick, Sick, Sick" for me to remember anything about it). What happened to the man who wrote "Regular John", "No-One Knows", "Go With The Flow", and "Feel-Good Hit Of The Summer"? Once upon a time, Josh Homme was being considered by his peers as the best guitarist of his generation. In 2007, his utter failure to deliver is genuinely depressing. "Suture Up Your Future" is as bad as the title suggests, "Misfit Love" and "Battery Acid" are complete makeweights, "Run Pig Run" is utterly embarrassing....need I continue?
The terrible truth is that this album is worse than the new Avril Lavigne, and every bit as bad as the new Kaiser Cheifs. It's a bored, listless shambles, and a disgrace to what was, until now, a massively impressive body of work. Maybe Homme just needs somebody like Olivieri around him to make him raise his game, or maybe his well of ideas has simply run dry. Whatever. Ultimately, this music is not fun, it's not enjoyable, it's not sexy, it's not exciting, it's not powerful, and despite their best efforts, it's not even really that dark or heavy, and while it does rock in small bursts, it's far too fiddly and boring to ever gain momentum. It barely even feels like a Queens of the Stone Age record, given that I know how good they can - and should - be. Bottom line: this is a shockingly terrible album.
There is absolutely zero melody on 10 of these songs
...the riffs are all fiddly rhythmic ideas with no power or effect
Massive yes to both of those.
The terrible truth is that this album is worse than the new Avril Lavigne, and every bit as bad as the new Kaiser Cheifs
The new Avril's not that bad, but yes, yes, yes, the new Chiefs' album is a disgrace.
Both the singles, "Sick, Sick, Sick" and "3's and 7's", have promise, but "3's and 7's" ultimately fails as Homme tries way too hard to make his guitar sound interesting and no time at all making his vocals sound like they're being sung by somebody who has confidence, talent, or experience, and "Sick, Sick, Sick", despite being great for about a minute, is repetitive and dunderheaded to the point where it becomes genuinely annoying - its 3 and a half minutes feel more like 6.
That sentence is way too long, despite the punctuation.
Great review. To be honest, for me the Queen's' best songs are great, but their bad stuff is awful. Apart from Songs For The Deaf, I've never liked any of their albums as a whole. And from the couple of listens I've given this, it looks like it's no exception.
The Phone Convo
Josh *Hey you guys! Its Joshy. So whats up? Good yeah Brodies great and so the kid. So hey, Dave (Grohl) can you drop by my place tonight and help me write a couple of songs and jam on the drums for a while?.
Dave *Oh yeah hey dude, yeah no probs. Hey Jack (Black) is over my house can he come too and just start some funny shit for us? Might be good for a laugh hey? Haha*
Jesse (Huges EODM) * (In the background, pissed on beer as always) Hey Hey you guys! how about me? I can play some...thing too! Hey what the fuck?!*
Josh *Haha! Yeah come over and we'll play a bit for my new record Era Vulgaris..then we can throw down a huge party and just have alot of freaking fun, yeah?*
Dave *Sweet Ill see you in a bit. Jack, come on lets go!*
a month later, Era Vulgaris is the number 1 record all over the world, creating a new genre called Hard Rock/Comedy metal. The funnest and fun filled rock record to come out in the last decade. Foo Fighters break up and Dave is the drummer full time. Jack makes another piss funny movie called My Best Friend Joshy and Jesse is still pissed, but manages to get married again and owns half of Yemen. Success!
sometimes (or should i say a lot) sputnik suck; because of ignorant reviews like this. and the most pathetic thing is, that these reviews tend to follow after a 4.5-5 review. This Message Edited On 06.12.07