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on 25 March 2005
The rush of lengthy reviews for this album are a little tiresome, as is the ridiculous snobery of the reviewer who assumes that a fellow reviewer hasn't listened to QOTSA albums before 'Songs for the Deaf'simply because he alludes to the absence of Dave Grohl- get over yourself man!! The politics aside, this album is a joy. Guitar heaven from start to finish; highlights are the lush 'I never came' which does not 'drag on' as stated by a previous reviewer, but highlights the versatility of Nick's voice, and in placing this track straight after the excellent lead single 'Little Sister' ensures maximum impact. Other high points include CD opener 'This Lullaby' and the fantastic 'Broken Box'. As a whole, the album flows beautifully, yet is more experimental than 'Rated R' and 'SFTD'. Personally speaking I would say 'Lullabies To Paralyze' is the most complete QOTSA album. Bring on Carling Leeds 2005....
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on 15 April 2005
Initial signs for this album weren't promising. The sudden departure of Nick Olivieri marked the departure of the only constant member of Josh Homme's ever-changing QOTSA line-up, and Olivieri seemed as essential to the band as Homme himself. Things could've gone so easily awry for album number 4.
However Josh Homme's track record with other projects (notably Desert Sessions) should've been enough to confirm that he is more than capable of going it alone. Lullabies to Paralyze is a testament to this.
Impressively, the first two songs are knocked off within little more than 3 minutes. The gentle acoustics and tortured-larynx Mark Lanegan vocals of This Lullaby give way to the chugging, razor-sharp Medication, which sounds like a two-minute statement of intent.
The following track is arguably the album's highlight. Everybody Knows That You're Insane starts up as a wailing rock dirge, before a neat shift in tempo takes you into the simple and insanely catchy chorus. Tangled Up In Plaid and Burn The Witch are also superb, both stomp-along anthems of the highest order, before the album's most accessible poppy moment, In Your Head (which also appeared in the Desert Sessions).
Little Sister is fine, if somewhat underwhelming as a lead-off single, whilst I Never Came portrays a subtlety previously unregistered in QOTSA's past works. But it's the next two tracks, Someone's In The Wolf and The Blood Is Love that provide the album's backbone. Both lengthy, brooding, power-chord heavy anthems, they sit perfectly alongside one another. Both recall QOTSA's ability to find a great riff, and then completely bludgeon you with it.
The next three tracks show a dramatic shift in mood, and are amongst the sleaziest things QOTSA have done. The fuzzed out Skin On Skin is a lust fuelled romp, "I hate to see you leave, but I like to watch you go" being one of its more subtle lyrics. Broken Box is like Skin On Skin's angry hangover, whilst You Got A Killer Scene slows things down, but is no less sexy.
That leaves Long Slow Goodbye to tie things up. It's a fitting end, beautiful, but forlorn, and complete with trumpet dirge. Oh, and as ever, the bonus tracks are worthwhile additions as well, Like A Drug portraying Homme's songwriting range in the same way The Mosquito Song did on Songs For The Deaf.
To say that Olivieri isn't missed from proceedings would be a little naïve. Ultimately the album lacks a moment as unhinged as, say, Millionaire. But without Nick, Josh Homme has been able to seize the reins fully, and as a result this is QOTSA's most diverse work to date. To say it's better or worse than anything else they've done is like comparing coffee with tea: it's purely a matter of taste. But whether you regard QOTSA as a band or a Josh Homme side-project, the QOTSA name remains a stamp of quality.
Key moments: Everybody Knows That You're Insane, Tangled Up In Plaid, Someone's In The Wolf, Long Slow Goodbye
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on 9 March 2005
Please ignore the idiot who gave this one star, they are clearly a Grohlite newbie who has no idea about anything and probably doesn't even own Rated R or The Self Titled album...
Most reviews I've read of this spent hald the review talking aboit Nick leaving, so I won't. Josh Homme has said that this record is like the S/T, and certainley with Nick gone (oh dear, I mentioned it) it could quite easily have been a return to the robotic riffery of that record (no, Nick doesn't play on it even though he is on the cover) but I don't see it at all.
I'll do a lazy track by track, 'cos I can't bothered writing a proper review.
LTP begins with a little acoustic ditty called "Lullaby" sung by Mark Lanegan and then goes straight into familiar territory with the pounding stop/start guitars of "Medication" which clocks in at under two minutes.
EKTYI starts out with some nice slide guitar, abut after about a minute you'd be forgiven for wondering where the song is going, but then in comes a big loud guitar-heavy chorus, and you go...."ahh" It sounds like it shouldn't fit, but it does. Great stuff.
Tangled Up In Plaid is quite similar in that it floats about for a minute or two and then the bouncy geetars come in.
There's a few bluesier sounds on this album compared to the others, and this is particularly evident in the magnificent Billy Gibbons-of-ZZ-Top-featuring "Burn The Witch" and the penultimate track "YGAKSTM." "Burn The Witch" is a genius. That's all I have to say on the matter. Mark Lanegan comes in with some gruff backing vocals halfway and it makes you go "woooh."
The next two songs, In My Head (as featured in the Desert Sessions 9&10) and Little Sister demonstrate Homme's ability to write great poppy songs, and while some may think the record company made them put them on the album so it would sell, the quality of the songs holds up. In My Head is a bit faster than the DS version and has some nice Hommey harmonies towards the end, while Lil Sis features a pretty weird solo for a poppy single, and is much better than I first thought it was. Cowbell too, what more could you want?
"I Never Came" drags on a bit to be honest...
Someone's In The Wolf (quite possibly the next single) is genius too. And it features one of those "it's getting faster" "even faster" "has it got as fast as it's gonna get now?" "NO!!! Even faster" moments which hasn't been on a Queens record since that song I can't remember off Rated R because the tracklisting is all messed up.
The "Blood Is Love" maybe outstays it's welcome, but it's pretty good.
"Skin On Skin" is all about sex, incase you didn't know. Josh is horny, get out of his way! More genius, featuring some dubious lyrics and great Zipper noises and then a post-coital Cigarette.
"Broken Box" - catchy goodness, reminds me of Millionaire for some reason.
"Killer Scene" - already mentioned, but it's got a great bluesy groove going on and HANDCLAPS! Yay. I was wondering when we'd get some.
"Long Slow Goodbye" - great song, not especcially Queens-ish, but in a good way. Then there's a big finale thing and we're done.
So overall, on first listen I was disappointed, second/third/fourth I got it, and it seems to be getting better with every listen. I dont see it overtaking the other three Queens albums in terms of greatness (1-S/T 2 -SFTD 3-Rated R) and it doesn't seem as ambitious as those. Lyrically I was quite disappointed too - it's much more open and unambiguous than the first three albums, in a bad way. Having said that, it's an extremely good record, and at a time where every band is ripping off 80's post punk or singing MOR rubbish about nothing, it's a breath of fresh air.
4.5 if I could...
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on 29 March 2005
I'm certain that Josh Homme intended that 'Lullabies to Paralyze' be listened to, loudly, whilst doing the dishes. As I was stood at the sink last Monday night, hands covered in suds, with the third track on this album, 'Everybody Knows that You're Insane', blaring out, I knew this album would turn out to be all that I had hoped it would be.
My other half came into the kitchen. She shot the speakers a terse look, and then scowled at me. "That's crap", she said. Now, 'er indoors likes to listen to a bit of 'Keane' in the car. She's also partial to the jazz tendencies of 'Jamie Cullum'. And thus I was relieved that this new 'QOTSA' set wasn't up her street, just as a few years earlier, 'Songs For the Deaf' was proclaimed 'too heavy'.
So, if you're after a record with the necessary ooomph to get you through the dishes quicksmart, that will also keep the little lady in the front room, glued to the soaps, then buy this album.
I can't say it's better or worse than the previous 3 'QOTSA' outings, but I would say that it's more expansive and diverse collection of songs.
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on 14 March 2005
Remember how you felt when you first heard Songs For The Deaf? I remember liking about 3 of the songs and generally skipping the rest. Get out of that mindset now. If you can't bear to listen to this record - an archetypal "grower" if I ever heard one - more than twice, then you don't understand how to give music a chance.
A Song For The Deaf was always my favourite song on SFTD; with Lullabies to Paralyse, once you get past the fact that yes, there aren't really any Oliveri-screamy songs on there (but try Skin On Skin for a mean slab of meaty riff), you can again appreciate the intricacies of Homme & Co's talents. Listen to Someone's In the Wolf: subtle laying of lead guitars through the song's progression, true QOTSA harmonies, a spittingly evil pre-chorus leading to a chorus that I seriously cannot get the mirrored drums to out of my head. Not that I want to.
The quickfire Medication slips seamlessly into Everybody Knows That You're Insane, a powerful thrash of a song that invades your ears in a way only QOTSA can manage. You've already heard Little Sister, Broken Box is insanely sing-along, leaping into the dark Grimm fairy tale that is You've Got A Killer Scene, which also picks up on the human's subconscious love for songs with wordless phrases (read: Hey Jude, or the excellent E-Pro from Beck - Guero) - both powerful but in altogether polarised ways. It's this ability to entangle you in such a wealth of diversity that makes QOTSA what they really are.
It took about 4 or 5 hearings, but I've fallen into a dark, edgy lust with every song from this album. And if you have any senses then you just might too.
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on 27 March 2005
The first and most important thing to say about Lullabies to Paralyze is that it isn't Songs for the Deaf, as the moronic one-star reviewer (see below) was clearly hoping it would be. If SFTD was crack cocaine (a drug analogy seems appropriate - this is QOTSA, after all), then LTP is 17th-century poets' favourite laudanum; it creeps up on you rather than giving it to you all at once, but the high is ultimately deeper and more satisfying.
As other reviewers have said, this album is a classic example of a "grower". Fans of SFTD and R's immediacy will be disappointed on the first listening - fear not. Chuck it on repeat, fix yourself a pot of coffee and listen to it all night, again and again and again and again and again. After the fourth or fifth time, you'll wonder how you ever lived without the beautifully-handled gear change in Everybody Knows That You Are Insane, the stomping, paganistic euphoria of Burn the Witch, the magnificent (if eclectic) sonic odyssey of album centrepieces Someone's in the Wolf and The Blood is Love... I could easily go on. All you need to know is this - if you don't already own Lullabies to Paralyze, buy it. If you do already own it, buy another one.
It's time to continue our worship at the Temple of Homme. Don't miss out.
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on 21 March 2005
Over the last ten years The Queens of the Stone Age have consistently offered the perfect blend of talent and originality. With each new album, a new mesh of fragmented perverse thoughts have been combined with mold-breaking visions of song structure. In each of these albums artist line-ups have changed, but the core structure, Nick Oliveri and Josh Holmes, has remained constant. And with Nick's forced departure from the band, cynics have predicted the downfall of one of the modern great rock bands. However, Josh's perservering genious in Lullabies to Paralyze has proven the resilience of Queens.
Their fourth and newest album, Lullabies to Paralyze, contains more simple, less guitar heavy songs. The first single, Little Sister, represents the change in direction of the band. In it a repititious riff is combined with a cowbell, which can best be described as a metronome. The song ends with a radio unfriendly, wonderfully perverse minute long guitar solo.
Everybody Know's Your Insane is the only noticable departure from this catalyst, containing a soft and screechy one minute entrance. It then hurls into a pounding chorus, leading into two minutes of fast paced, guitar driven bliss.
While many claim this simplicity to be the demise of the band, it is in fact the repositioning of a band never meant for mainstream America. Every album they made, including Lullabies to Paralyze, has contained a coherence of darkness that, if noticed by TRL motivated listeners, would only last briefly.
The popularity of Lullabies to Paralyze will most likely reflect this unpopularity, especially since their next single appears to be Someone's in the Wolf. This seven minute song is the darkest on the album, containing hounding vocals and a twisted ringing guitar melody. A sixty second preview of the video can be seen at [...] The video contains knives, wolves, and a defenseless woman. Need I say more?
And to Kyuss fans who need Queens to be heavier, Nick may still have a future with Josh and the band. The legendary duo have agreed to work with each other on Nick's new Mondo Generator album, and express a desire to work together on other future projects.
Expect to see more from Queens of the Stone Age, just not on MTV.
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on 25 May 2005
Rarely, does an album achieve a totality, in which that it threatens to gatecrash true 'classic' album status. 'Lullabies to Paralyze' is such a work.
Those familiar with previous albums such as Rated R, and Songs for the Deaf, may be concerned that with the departure (sacking) of founder member Nick Oliveri, that some of the Queens anarchic magic may be lost.
This, sure as hell, is Josh Homme's band now. Oliveri thrash metal gems such as 'Tension Head' are no longer on the menu.
Sentimentality for Oliveri aside, this shift in direction displays far more control, discipline and ingenuity, than in any previous work.
Make no mistake however, this is a hard edged, dark, rocker of a Queens album.
Where 'Lullabies' departs from previous releases, is in their brand of west coast psychedelic rock (which has always ran parallel to their hard metal aspirations); has been developed and integrated to a better and more consistant effect.
'Lullabies' flows effortlessly from track to track in the way which all 'classic' albums should. It is simply a first track to last journey; there is nowhere to skip a track here or there. Each track is so well constructed and positioned to its neighbours, that it is impossible to offer anything in the way of stand out tracks. It is all superb!!
If anything, this cd can be defined by its 2 'bonus tracks' (usually the ones not as good as the duffers on lesser bodies of work). Either could easily be 'stand out' tracks elsewhere.
Indeed the bonus tracks provide the best insight into the balance between blues rock and psychedelia to which this album so skillfully straddles.
I'll leave it other reviewers to catalogue 'Lullabies' on a track by track basis. Me, I'm off for a wholely unneccessary drive in my car for the next hour and a bit.
A masterpiece!!
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The last album by the Queens of the Stone Age was "Songs for the Deaf," a frenetic collection of the hardest kind of rock. It was a thrilling, visceral experience, not one soon forgotten. Then nude bassist Nick Oliveri departed from the band, taking the wilder edge of the band with him. Oh, what would become of the Queens of the Stone Age?
Well, if "Lullabies to Paralyze" is any indication, then they are doing fine. This album relies on Josh Homme, and it's stripped down to... well, not down to the bare bones, but some very strong, lean sinew. The albums opens with a little acoustic ballad, "Lullaby," which starts things off on a strong footing.
From there on, things get stranger -- fast paced songs that just keep speeding up, ominous buildups, and nightmarish undertones.There are moments of quieter catchiness -- "Little Sister" seems perfect for the album's first single. And a few tracks feel a bit like filler. But overall, "Lullabies" is very much in the flavour of the Queens' second album, "Rated R." Only darker and somehow more whimsical.
Singer/songwriter/guitarist Josh Homme gets to rule in this one. Truth be told, he ruled all through the Desert Sessions, Kyuss, and now he sits in the middle of the Queens of the Stone Age, like a sinister-but-not-evil mastermind. Oliveri's manic style and gimmicks are gone, and in their place is steady, dark rock'n'roll that takes strange and unexpected twists.
It's not a concept album, but it feels that way -- the mood gets generally creepier as "Lullabies" goes on. Fuzzy guitars, dark metallic riffs, and eerie harmonies get a few unusual flourishes, such as that broken music box. And Homme's vocals blend into the songs like another instrument -- great stuff. It only emphasizes how central he is to the band's unique sound.
Queens of the Stone Age seemed to be endangered when Oliveri departed, but "Lullabies to Paralyze" shows that the band is just fine. Not quite perfect, but a solid creation.
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on 25 March 2005
Having only heard 'little sister' up to this point, my hands were clammy with excitment putting 'Lullabies to Paralyse' into the cd tray. I was a little dissapointed at first as this did not live up to my expectations after 'Songs for the Deaf'. That was my mistake, how could anything live up to what is arguably one of the best albums ever. After two more listens, I was hooked. Nick Oliveri is clearly missing, and missed, but this still rocks. Rumours abound that Nick and Josh are resolving their differences so hopefully this is only a temporary absence? This album proves once again that QOTSA are one of the most versatile and original bands out there today. QOTSA fans will buy this regardless of reviews but if you are new to QOTSA buy 'Songs for the Deaf' first, once converted, buy everything else and explore the desert! Was tempted to give this 4 stars but I know it will deserve 5 after another couple of listens. Enjoy?
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