on 14 June 2011
What can I say?! I bought this album belatedly after purchasing Songs for the Deaf, naively thinking that the aforementioned album was a one off masterpiece. How wrong could I have been?!!!
What a way to open an album with 'Feel Good Hit of the Summer'!! C-c-c-co-co- Cocaine!!! A hymn to hedonism i've been waiting for all my life . . .
There isn't one duff track on the album, and the variety of songs on display is stupendous. My personal favourite has to be 'Better living through Chemistry.
If there is a title to be given for the coolest contemporary front man, surely it has to be Josh Homme. The man just oozes charisma, whether it be his singing or guitar playing.
Lullabies to Paralyse is another immense album, but thats for another review ...
on 29 July 2010
This is exactly how i felt ten years ago when Queens of The Stone Age released their second album "Rated R", to understand why you have to go back to the year 2000 when the music world was all about Britney and boy bands and mainstream rock was dominated by loads of nu metal clones, so along with A Perfect Circle's "Mer De Noms", QOTSA's Rated R was a breath of fresh air, real rock played by real musicians! Now ten years later its being released as a two disc Deluxe Edition with a bonus disc of B sides and live performances.
Unlike their self titled debut album which was all written and performed by Josh Homme, "Rated R" was performed by a full by band with loads of guest spots as well. Most famously of course was the addition of Nick Oliveri on bass and vocals. Opening track Feel Good Hit Of the Summer starts of with Oliveri's driving bass and a name check of class A Drugs, and also has Judas Priest's Rob Halford on backing vocals, Josh has also stated this song was meant as a knife into the back of the neck of their stoner rock tag which he has always hated(totally agree with him on that one). The Lost Art Of Keeping A Secret follows next and if anything shows the band's softer side! Former Screaming Trees vocalist Mark Lanegan makes his first appearance on lead vocals on the brilliant In The Fade, he also appears on the tracks "Auto Pilot", "Leg Of Lamb" and "I Think I Lost My Headache" providing backing vocals on those tracks, Lanegan has since of course gone on to appear on every QOTSA album since then, and even performed with the band on tour of this album as well as it's follow up "Songs For The Deaf", One of the real stand out tracks is "Better Living Through Chemistry" which is a song that takes the listener on a magical journey as it twists from mellow to heavy, the influence of Black Sabbath is there for everyone to hear!! The brilliant "Monsters In The Parasol" Which of course originally appeared on Desert Sessions 3&4(A Josh Homme side project where he heads out to the desert for a week with various musicans to record an album worth of material, many QOTSA songs began life as a Desert Sessions track)and features the brilliant line "Paul's sister an alien" and for even better effect listen to it through a pair of ear phones as you can hear Nick Oliveri vocal in the backround better.
Nick Oliveri plays a big part on this album singing on three songs(autopilot,quick and the pointless and tension head) and offers something different from Homme and Lanegan,His take of "The Quick & The Pointless" was famously done in one take and the song "Tension Head" was originaly titled "13th Floor" and appears on Nicks Band Mondo Generators debut album "Cocaine Rodeo" of course those of us that were lucky to see him perform with QOTSA before he got kicked out will testify to the fact that he gave the band a bit of danger, and his vocal performances are missed.
The second disc is made up of B sides that you may or may not own already, there is some good stuff here like the brilliant "Ode To Clarissa" as well as cover versions Never Say Never(romeo void) and Who'll be the next in line(the kinks) as well as the clever You're So Vague which is their version of Carly Simon's You're So Vain(not a cover version). There is also a live recording from Reading 2000 which features songs from their debut self titled album as well, and will have you wishing to see QOTSA live as soon as possible!
This Deluxe Edition comes at a great time(They play Reading festival 10 years after their 1st appearance) and of course it shows that despite alot of line up changes QOTSA were built to last and just beginning on their journey as most of the other fads from 2000 died away quickly. The album might be Rated R but shouldn't be restricted from anyone, if you don't own the original get this now!!
Queens of the Stone Age arose in the 1990s out of desert storm created by the ashes of metal gods Kyuss, a band who featured both the dynamic presence of lead singer/guitarist Josh Homme and the wizard bearded bass fiend Nick Oliveri (if you have never heard "Gardenia" seek it out now). The special thing about QOTSA is that they are a unpredictable, super intelligent hard rock band who defy hard rock clichés. Homme maybe riff obsessed but they are classic riffs with interesting twists and turns, even on something as basic as the greatest steal of German "ommpah" music ever on the brilliant "No one knows". What other band could generate a debate currently raging on the Amazon music forum at the moment whether "Josh Homme is the sexiest musician alive"? Frankly I am rather agnostic about the point but its further proof that QOTSA have a cool credibility and remain the US's most vibrant heavy rock band not least of all in the ability to attract stellar "side musicians" like Dave Grohl and Mark Lanagan.
What a treat then to have their best album released (it was of course voted as the NME writers' album of the year in 2000) in this deluxe edition containing in addition a blistering performance from the Reading festival in 2000 and some wonderful curiosities including a sort of a cover of Carly Simon's "Your so vain" and a nice version of Romeo Void's new wave classic, "Never Say Never". It is the Rated Rx however that is the star of the show. In the ten years since its release it has aged wonderfully. Is there a better album opener on any stoner record than the stuttering "Feel good hit of the summer"? "In "Lost art of Keeping a secret" the band possess one of the funkiest rock songs ever recorded with Homme's scintillating vocal exclaiming "Leap of faith, do you doubt/Cut you in, I just cut you out" before the anthem like chorus explodes and a tight guitar solo follows. Then we have two songs that vie for the title "best song on the album" firstly the volcanic grower "In the fade" sung by Lanagan which reminds you of his scintillating work on Screaming Trees classic "Dust" album and the huge eight minute plus scuzz riff juggernaut "I think I lost my headache". The latter Sabbath like behemoth just steals it not least because of its one of the most epic songs to ever end with a 3 minute insidious avant garde horns infused solo. At a wider level the loud Olivieri punk rock screamer "Tension Head" is all controlled fury; then there is the trippy pop metal of "Monsters in your Parasol"; while finally the bongo driven and riff heavy "Better living through chemistry" is wonderfully sinister although some respite can be found in the gentle instrumental "Lightning song".
Homme and Oliveri were of course to bitterly part at a later stage when the bassist was fired prior to the recording of "Lullabies to Paralyze". Yet Rated R along with "Songs for the deaf" represents their finest work. Overall the extended Rated Rx is hugely welcome visitor to our shores, it is incredibly focused, exhilarating and one of the most storming albums committed to vinyl. Thus please feel free to join me in the reprise. Altogether now "Nicotine, valium, vicodin, marijuana, ecstasy, and alcohol....".
'Rated R' is regarded by many QoTS fans as being the peak of their recorded output. I like the album, but in my humble opinion it falls just short of 'Lullabies to Paralyze' and 'Songs For the Deaf' which seem to be a lot stronger on melodies (perhaps it's my age!)
However, this album has a lot going for it and has come to be regarded by many as a classic. The songs are well written, fuelled by energy and no doubt a lot of sweat and hard work.
A highly original and very clever band.