Queens of the Stone Age
Songs for the Deaf


3.5
great

Review

by Maximilian Harkness USER (65 Reviews)
March 8th, 2009 | 18 replies


Release Date: 2002 | Tracklist


Songs For The Deaf is a transitional album of sorts. After the perfected hard rock, occasional dips of ambiance and purely excellent song craft of Rated R, Queens were looking for a way to follow up their previous release. Were they going to go with crazier songwriting quirks, a more lyrical assault, or take a much heavier diction and start Kyuss 2.0? Ultimately, they did go into a heavier direction, but not so much into the direction of Kyuss, instead relying more on the heavy chugging and occasional melodic streaks of the heaviest songs of Rated R. Essentially, even more straight forward and catchy hard rock direction with a darker edge. It seemed like they couldn’t fail, and they didn’t entirely. But is this album even close to following up the classic of Rated R?

There is not nearly as much diversity or ambition here as there is on Rated R. For the most part, the songs are excellent, paranoid and heavy (and yet catchy and radio friendly) but something about them just draws me away from the album as a listening experience, and this probably the excessive amount of songs on here. It’s so long and there is so much, yet there is so little, with songs containing the same kind of heavy riffing and structures and such. There isn’t that much to explore. Another one of the big flaws here, unfortunately, is Nick Olveri’s angry screaming. He showed some real angry bursts whenever Rated R, and they were their in only proper circumstances in well formatted songs. On Songs For The Deaf, however, this is different. We open up with the mad crazy Nick Olveri on “You Think You Ain’t Worth A Dollar, But I Feel Like A Millionaire”, and ultimately this makes for an exciting opener, with Nick’s loud shrill screams piercing our ears as heavily distorted southern-twisted rock riffs shuffle along. But on songs like the dubbed out and noisy nature of the filler track “Six Shooters", Nick appears at what seems like the most unnecessary of times.

But alas, despite this long list of negatives, this album has many positives that outweigh these intense negatives. Musically, although not nearly as diverse as any other Queens efforts, shows some diverse songwriting from Homme. From the latter half of the album in particular, with the rushing desert-ous feel and the clomping of pianos in “Go With The Flow”, or the Queen-like epic chorus and the haunting drone of Joshua Homme’s voice in “God In The Radio”. As well as these two astounding highlights, there is also the first five tracks of the album, and though they do sound a bit like eachother, they succeed in packing a fatal and memorable hard rock punch to open the album. These songs, everything form “You Think You Ain’t Worth A Dollar, But I Feel Like A Millioniare”, “No One Knows”. “First It Giveth”, and even “The Sky Is Falling” are all pushing and noteworthy songs full of life and energy, with crunchy guitar riffs and inspired vocals from the droneing yet inspired Joshua Homme and the harsh screechs from Nick Olveri. “Mosquito Song” is a stand out too, just for being so out of place and odd ball, much like “Lightning Song”, but livelier and ultimately better. Folky, somewhat medieval acoustic guitars open the song and Josh Homme croons his way through the song until at a point where the bag pipes come in. The song builds up until the marching neo-classical horns and drums come marching in, with the Homme’s acoustic guitar lightly playing over these layers. “Mosquito Song” is essentially this albums only attempt at the sort of ambiance of Rated R, and it works because it gives you a sort of opening to their next record Lullibies to Paraylize, as well as giving you something different as opposed to the samey hard rock tunes throughout most of the record.

Songs For The Deaf is technically advanced for Joshua Homme, the riffs are more complex, the music is heavier and darker, and ultimately it was probably the better deicision rather than make Rated R Pt.2, but at the same token, its too repetitive and full of filler for its own good. Albiet, the good songs on the album are really good, but for every two good songs, there is one awful, annoying filler track that just causes a bother to me, like “Six Shooters” or “Another Love Song”. Still, it’s a good album that aims high towards success, but instead just falls back in it’s place as a repetitive record with many highlights. In that way, this album is the Toxicity of Queens of the Stone Age, because their first album (or in this bands case, second) went under noticed and underrated by the mainstream crowd, while this record, although claimed by most to be the climax of the bands talent, takes a comfortable chair as one of the bands better efforts, even with its filler tracks. Overall; I’d recommend this album, if only because I love Queens of Stone Age, and anyone who likes this band would probably like this album too. Heck, even non-fans would like this, just be cautious on occasional moments.

Recommended Tracks:
First Five or Four Songs
“Mosquito Song”
"God Is On The Radio"



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4.2
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Comments:Add a Comment 
bastard
March 8th 2009


3435 Comments


first review in about two weeks, which is a lot for me.

Thor
March 8th 2009


10200 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

thor cowrote this review

bastard
March 8th 2009


3435 Comments


hahahaha

bustyagunz
March 8th 2009


911 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

good review man, you've gotten better. although i dont agree with the rating =P

DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
March 8th 2009


20857 Comments


For some strange reason, I have yet to give this album a listen.

A pretty good review MaxyBoy as you get your point across well, even if it would be much more useful if the reader had heard 'Rated R'. It sounds like Josh & Co simply tried to get their band more well-known with this LP & there is nothing wrong with that.

'No One Knows' is a killer track!

Douchebag
March 8th 2009


3624 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

A Song for the Dead is great fun to play on guitar, and the drums never fail to amaze me.
Other highlights include millionaire, no one knows, first it givieth and go with the flow.

Spamue1G
March 8th 2009


1292 Comments


I take it you'd recommend Rated R as a better start for QOTSA than this then?
Nice review, I heard a couple of songs off this and was unsure what to think. They sound like my kind of band though, so I'll have to get round to listening to them soon.

Fugue
March 8th 2009


7353 Comments


Good review Max.

It’s so long and there is so much, yet there is so little, with songs containing the same kind of heavy riffing and structures and such.


This pretty much sums up my feelings for the album, Rated R is a lot better. Also unlike many I prefer Lullabies To Paralyze over this as well.


AliW1993
Contributing Reviewer
March 8th 2009


7363 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Great review. I personally prefer this to Rated R, though that album has grown a lot on me recently. I was surprised you didn't mention the drums, a for me they are a real highlight, but otherwise I generally agree. A Song For The Dead is the best song imo.

bastard
March 8th 2009


3435 Comments


I was surprised you didn't mention the drums, a for me they are a real highlight, but otherwise I generally agree.


i tried to go for a review more about the albums overall successes rather than going more in depth on instruments like the drums. My last few reviews before this were like tbt/overalls, and i felt this one should have been much more overall.

KILL
March 8th 2009


71965 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Good review for a great album

Digging: Exodus - Blood In, Blood Out

Burning_October
March 8th 2009


162 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

First off, i'm pretty sure Mark Lanegan is singing on Song For The Dead.

Other then that, pretty good review. I disagree with the rating, and personally I find this one better then R, although they're both great. I actually don't think that theres a bad track here, and the flow of everything makes this one of my favourites of the decade. Just me, though.

bastard
March 8th 2009


3435 Comments


shoot, thanks for the catch.

kygermo
March 8th 2009


996 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Just glad you didnt give this less than a 3. Still, I think Rated R is their masterwork. I like that atmosphere more then Songs For The Deaf's. I just love this band so freakin much, and I thank QOTSA for making me know about Kyuss for obvious reasons.

bastard
March 8th 2009


3435 Comments


yeah i pretty much agree with you, i love this band so much.

Yazz_Flute
March 8th 2009


18811 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I thought you said Go With the Flow was your favorite song? Yet its not on the Recommended Tracks? I'd replace it with the title track personally.

Rated R is so much better than this.

Oh and Toxicity is too.

Digging: Kayo Dot - Coffins On Io

bastard
March 8th 2009


3435 Comments


Toxicity is about this if a little worse, i was just making a comparison between S/t and Toxicity for system, and Rated R and Songs for the Deaf for queens.

Go With The Flow grew off of me, and though i still think its great, 8 songs on a recommended list is a bit ridicolous.This Message Edited On 03.08.09

Mendigo
March 9th 2009


2299 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I pretty much agree, although I don't think Rated R is that much better.



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