Rated R: Deluxe Edition- Queens of the Stone Age

Anyone who reads this thing consistentantly (ha, fuck who am I kidding?) will know that I’m a huge fan of Joshua Michael Homme. It’s hard for me to hate a 6′ 5″ ginger who plays guitar and could probably murder you in a bar fight. Oh and he slays at guitar and makes it look easy like a pro. What’s not to like?

Earlier this month, Queens of the Stone Age reissued their second album, Rated R. While Songs for the Deaf was definitely their breakthrough album, Rated R definitely holds it’s own and is not forgettable. From the thumping opening bassline for Feel Good Hit of the Summer to the misguided saxophone at the end of I Think I Lost My Headache, this is an album that demands to be listened to with the speakers blared and appreciated.

The album starts off with a thumping bassline and Homme repeating the same words over and over again. “Nicotine, Valium, Vicodin, Marijuana, Ecstacy and Alcohol. Co-co-cocaine!” Apparently a song about Homme’s 2000 New Years Eve (would have loved to be a fly on that wall), the song has become a cult classic over the years for stoners. “The Lost Art of Keeping A Secret” is one of the best songs about discrete fucking I have ever heard while the lyrics on Leg of Lamb are trippy and fun. After that, the album slows down for Autopilot, which previous bassist Nick Oliveri does the vocals for and he nails it. Better Living Through Chemistry is one of the album’s standout tracks. It morphs from the calm, eerie, bongo drums heavy intro, and then morphs into an acid trip gone wrong with fast psychedelic guitars and Homme’s calm falsetto. Tied with the closer for trippiest track on the album.

Next up is a song that is actually about LSD, Monsters in the Parasol. A fun track along with the track that follows Quick and to the Pointless, where Oliveri shows off his trademark screech. After that follows probably my favorite track on the album, In the Fade. This song introduces Mark Lanegan into the Queens family and boy, does he make one hell of an entrance. His chain-smoking, whiskey drenched vocals add a whole new level to the song and it’s downer undertones. This track is a downer, but it’s beautifully done and definitely one of the best Queens has done. The sad mood is broken when Homme launches back into a reprise of Feel Good Hit of the Summer and reminds us he isn’t done with us yet.

The next track, Tension Head, builds on that suspense created at the end of In the Fade where Oliveri utilizes his trademark scream again on top of a metal guitar riff. Not my favorite, but certainely not a bad track. Up next is the album’s last slow track, Lightening Song, a calm acoustic track that throws off the listener, especially when up next is the album closer, I Think I Lost My Headache. The album goes out with a bang as Homme does what he does best; play the fuck out of his guitar. It slowly diffuses into a jazz jam. The saxophone might whimper at the end but this album definitely goes out with a bang.

The deluxe edition comes with the esstential b-sides, such as Ode To Clarissa and Born to Hula as well as a couple of awesome live tracks from the band’s 2000 Reading festival performance. When played live, a lot of these songs take on a new sort of energy as Homme is notorious for making some 3 minute songs turn into 20 minute jam sessions. If they sucked, I’d be bored. Luckily, they don’t!

Overall, I think this album is a must own on many levels. If you want a fantastic introduction to stoner rock, look now further. It’s also a great way to see how Queens of the Stone Age has evolved over the past 10 years. I would recommend picking up a copy asap cause chances are, you were 10 like me when it came out and probably didn’t know the first thing about weed or any of the other drugs on this album. Needless to say, a lot has changed in ten years. However, this album still remains a strong hold.

check out qotsa.com for tour dates and more.

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