Queens Of The Stone Age, Songs For The Deaf

Songs For The Deaf Queens of the Stone Age

Sometimes you know instantly that you’re hearing an album that will become an instant favorite.  It didn’t take more than a single verse and chorus of “Give it your own, gimme some more” during the screaming blunt club of an opening number “You Think I Ain’t Worth A Dollar But I Think I’m a Millionaire” on Queens of the Stone Age’s 2002 masterpiece Songs For the Deaf for me to know.  As the song concludes, well-placed hand claps and fake-out ending in tow, I started having thoughts I didn’t even know I had – about how complacent we’d become as music listeners over the past few years.  How we didn’t know what rock was anymore.  As the sexy chug of the hit single “No One Knows” takes over, we’re sure – this is THE GREATEST macho rock album of our generation, a Led Zeppelin II for the age of irony.  Consistently framed by mock inserts of rock radio stations (“KLON – Clone Radio, L.A.’s infinite repeat!”), it’s as if the album itself knows, how the rock world had been faking it for longer than we could imagine.  Even the lineup – Dave Grohl on drums, The Screaming Trees’ Mark Lanegan on guitar – boasted heavyweights of rock’s past proving their chops.  Think heavy rock, chugging guitars, and mind-clobbering riffs and production can’t be emotional or moving?  Listen to the sexy ease with which “God Is In The Radio” convinces you it’s one of the best songs ever made.  Or notice the unexpected gracefulness of “Hangin’ Tree.”  Or, the speed metal that overloads and titillates like a drug kicking in during “Song For The Dead.”  Each song, it seems, winds up hiding a rock idiosyncrasy we didn’t know rock was missing.  No one knows how to make rock records like this anymore, and for one shining instant in 2002, one band of rock saviors figured it out, fixed it, and winked at us to tell us they knew all along.

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