Album Review: Queens of the Stone Age, Villains

by Samantha Schneider

Villains is the perfect album to listen to as we approach Halloween. The band provides eerie riffs and soothing vocals creating a deadly combination that leaves you a little spooked.

Queens of the Stone Age formed in 1997 in Palm Desert, California. Although the band is classified as a pop/rock group, their styles include everything from alternative to hard rock and heavy metal.

The bands sound broke out onto the scene in the early 2000’s with albums like Rated R, Songs For The Deaf, Lullabies To Paralyze and Era Vulgaris. The bands pattern looks as if they put out and album almost every 3 years. . For a band with such diversity it’s no wonder why Queens continues produce and inspire us with their new tunes.

QOTSA always create something catchy. For this new album I think its Feet Don’t Fail Me but back in the day I was singing No One Knows and 3’s & 7’s.

Their sound is derived from rock and electronic music creating such a powerful sound. Hearing Villains blast through my speakers is the equivalent to seeing them live.  After attending Cal Jam I can attest that they definitely know what they are doing. This is a band that created a sound mastered it and found a way shred over your speakers just like they would if you were in the front row at a show. They give it their all and the album represents that. I think their fans are really that open to their new album. The music or the beer really kicked in and had everyone around me dancing and singing along.

Feet Don’t Fail Me is the first song on the album and it breaks through with a groovy guitar and rich vocals. This track shows that the band wasn’t messing around with this album. They want to maintain that rock genre and they do but with a flare of pop.

The Way You Used to Do is another one of my favorites on this album. Like Feet Don’t Fail Me Now it has a little kick that makes you want to find your groove.  My favorite line says, “Is love mental disease or lucky fever dream?” It keeps you thinking and pondering what that means and if that question actually has some truth to it. To me the song is about being loved and how that can make you blind to the negative things happening right in front of you.

Domesticated Animals provides a classic rock vibe. The blues shine through on this number and it really melds well. With lyrics like, “today is the day the be-wilderness comes to reclaim everything” I just think wow this is going have some intense lyrics. The intense lyrics are laced over with a steady pace guitar until finally it climaxes and intensifies along with the vocals. It pauses and picks up with a violin ending, yielding a sense of the song almost showing the tragic demise. The ending of this song is random and beautiful and made a badass transition into Fortress.

From the violin to the guitar trickling in, the song Fortress talks about taking the fall but continuing to get back up regardless. It also plays with the idea that although you feel like your losing it there is always someone that is willing to keep you safe.

Head Like a Haunted House is fast and chaotic yet catchy. The creepy whistling in the beginning gives you a different idea for how the song is going to play out. The song is evil, madness and desperation all in one.  “Drink the Kool Aid and swallow the pills say that you don’t and you wont but you will.” The song plays with the idea of feeling peer pressured or losing sight of yourself and your beliefs. It could be touching on the lack of connecting with ourselves.

Un-reborn Again really uses that electronic portion of QOTSA and combines it with their heavier style.

Hideaway was my least favorite song on the album. It was too light and electric at the beginning. The song just didn’t meet the Queens standards.

The Evil Has Landed is a bizarre edition to the album with vocals that cry out to you. The guitar is rough and gritty and the beat is just awesome. I feel like I’m there in the studio in the middle of a jam session, with the band.

Villains of Circumstance creates a slower pace and starts off with the faint sound of a guitar. The vocals ooze in mixing and dancing with the guitar. The album begins with a little number that makes you want to dance and this song; the last one lets you question the sound of the album before it shows you the consistency. The drums finally break through and the song speeds up into a sound that reminds me of The Growlers, a surf/indie rock vibe. Then the instruments die down and the villain’s vocals creepily whisper to you before the break back into the chorus.

This album had some killer songs on it and I think it’s actually one of my favorite albums this year. Queens of the Stone Age have a very distinctive sound and something about their vocals gets me every time. I was also a total sucker because I love their lyrics. I didn’t have to be the Villain for the album, I give it a 9/10.

1. Feet Don’t Fail Me
2. The Way You Used to Do
3. Domesticated Animals
4. Fortress
5. Head Like a Haunted House
6. Un-reborn Again
7. Hideaway
8. The Evil Has Landed
9. Villains of Circumstance

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