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.
First Five or Four Songs
"God Is On The Radio"