Queens of the Stone Age – Songs For The Deaf

songsdeafWhy hide golden music in such fetid corpsery? Why bury your obvious talent beneath obvious jabs at something that all your fans hate anyway? You’re not convincing anyone, and after the second listen, folks will grow impatient to hear the songs that hide around the jokes. Probably, the uninitiated will not give it the hearing it deserves. And it’s the Queens’ own damn fault.

Songs For The Deaf is one of the best rock albums in years, and probably my fave since Monster Magnet’s Dopes To Infinity or Marilyn Manson’s Antichristsuperstar. The songs are grim, grinding hard rock; steel-tight rhythms and million dollar riffs. The tracks (and by God, this outfit writes songs! Real ones!) contain bizarre textures and lots of unexpected vocal harmonies that drift like spirits. Some terrific MC5-style rocking is present (“Go With The Flow”), not to mention a few oddball semi-ballads (“God Is In The Radio,” which is hard rock with a “Benefit Of Mr. Kite” beat) and morbid fantasies (“Hanging Tree”). Songs stop, shuffle and start at leisure, go all quiet, then blast out again. In short, the Queens have fun with rock and roll.

But why all the goddamn anti-commercial radio jokes? Who cares? I don’t like KROQ, I don’t think Joe likes KROQ, and most people listening to this album don’t like KROQ. We’re all in the same boat. The jokes/skits/radioplays/whatever transmogrify a great collection of songs into an irritating set that fails to add up the way it should. In the end, these things are just distractions that pull away from the whole enterprise.

Get this record, sure. But be annoyed with it.

Rating: A-

About Kent Conrad

To contact Kent Conrad, email kentc@explodedgoat.com