<u>How to Gain a Name as an Alt Metal Band</u>
Chapter 1: Go With the Flow
Record bizarre, obscure album. Follow up with revised, more accessible version. Gain cult following. Recruit world famous drummer from greatest grunge band to grace its presence upon the modern music scene. Get radio play, gain ego, fire entire band. Find new, less experienced artists capable of mimicking previous record. Record the most bizarre hard rock album to gain top 40 status.
Josh Homme has obviously done his homework. 2005’s <u>Lullabies to Paralyze</u> gained the #5 place on the U.S. charts, hits “Little Sister” and “In My Head” were performed live on Saturday Night Live, and “Burn the Witch” was featured in the soundtrack of 2005’s grotesque blockbuster “Saw II”. Interestingly enough, all three of these songs occur during the first half of the album. Homme has shown conflicted feelings throughout the course of this album, not knowing whether his true wish is to stick to the Oliveri/Homme/Grohl sound of <u>Songs for the Deaf</u> or whether he wants to bring a fresh start to the drastically altered band that once was Queens of the Stone Age. The result is an album pulsating with lessons in riffing and bad opiate trips. The latter of the two seems to have played a remarkable influence in the second half of <u>Lullabies</u>. The album gets progressively weirder and paranoid, leaving the casual listener shocked. I hate to break it to you guys, but “Someone’s in the Wolf” doesn’t stay in your head as easily as the driving cowbell of “Little Sister”.
As for the deeper listener who wishes to broaden his Stone Age horizon, <u>Lullabies to Paralyze</u> is just the right album. Don’t be detracted by the monotonous radio-friendly riffs of the afore-mentioned tracks; the deeper cuts leave any hardcore fan, both stoned and sober, musically enlightened. For the most part.
The album opens with “This Lullaby”, a song that is mildly amusing on the first listen. Sure we’ve never heard Homme exhibit a Johnny Cash growl, but there’s most likely a reason for this. After generic acoustic work, we hear the feedback of (could it be?) an electric guitar. Thank god the Queens didn’t decide to shock the public with a folk album. We were scared there for a minute that we would get an album of acoustic lullabies sounding something like Jack Johnson on opium. The track “Medication” is not a breath of fresh air, however. Instead it’s more generic QOTSA. Things look upward a bit with the tempo-changing “Everybody Knows That You Are Insane”. Sure it sounds like a repeat of <u>Songs for the Deaf</u>, but at least they’re trying. The next 5 tracks are fairly forgettable. Let’s just say that “No One Knows” has been manufactured into a 3 minute formula that Josh Homme knows like the back of his hand.
Things look up, and a little to the sides, then a quick glance behind, then a paranoid glance upward again, as another hectically slow, pulsating anthem is added to the Queens of the Stone Age “must-have” list. The guitar work is simplistically layered in a way that indicates guitarist Troy Van Leeuwen (of A Perfect Circle fame) is either a genius or completely lost. Things only get weirder with “The Blood is Love”, a metal tune tinged with a tad bit of eastern European folk. The album peaks with the bizarre sex-frenzied tracks “Skin on Skin” and “Broken Box”. A little too much high pitched screeching, but its obvious the Queens have taken a drastically shocking turn in their musical styling. The album then gets progressively worse with the two closers: “You’ve got a Killer Scene There Man…” and “Long Slow Goodbye”. The album closer gets a little boring after the first two minutes, and goes on for five more minutes. They weren’t lying. It’s long. It’s slow. And it will most likely make you want to say goodbye to <u>Lullabies to Paralyze</u> until the next time you score a bag of shrooms. Until then, enjoy your sanity and listen to some music that makes a little more sense.