It has been a topic of debate for decades now, that rock and roll is dead. While it may have gone through shifts in recent years over the sound, there is still a fine appreciation of the classics. Queens Of The Stone Age is one such act that is working on that classic feel of rock and roll and bringing it back with the release of their seventh-studio album “Villains.”
For over two decades, Queens Of The Stone Age has been working pretty hard. While vocalist Josh Homme is the only remaining original member for this California-based outfit, the band has gone through as many changes as you would expect with their sound as a band. Their debut self-titled record helped launched the bands career. It was with each subsequent release that the band would further cement their place on the charts bringing fresh ideas to every new album and keeping things from going a bit bland. Homme who spent last year collaborating with Iggy Pop on “Post Pop Depression” is bringing in a lot more of that experience into “Villains.”
“Villains” is a bit of a shorter record only having nine tracks but still clocking in at an impressive 48 minutes in length. When you first listen to it, you can’t help but get more of a nostalgic feeling and that is something the record keeps doing throughout, even though it is all new material and at times really outshines some of the influences that you hear throughout. There is more of an emphasis on glam rock.
Musically, there are some classic campy elements that you can listen to throughout the record. Listening to lead track “Feet Don’t Fail Me” is an example of taking something that isn’t broke and trying to fix it, you can hear the structure and elements build up to more of a classical feel and before the end of the track you will have the sensation of listening to a completely different track. In certain cases, this works well for the record like with “Head Like A Haunted House” and “Hideaway” but can be a little jarring at times in other spots on this record. “Un-reborn Again” takes the computer side of things a bit too far and with no real rhyme or reason stands out as a track that was thrown in for filler for fillers sake rather than fit in with the rest of the tone of the album.
Lyrically, this is where “Villains” starts to shine. While Homme plays homage to a time that has come and gone through the opener “Feet Don’t Fail Me” there are more undertones of a man longing to be in another time. While you are less likely to emotionally connect with what Homme sings about, you are more likely to admire his style and range in tracks like “Domesticated Animals” and “The Evil Has Landed.” You can hear a lot in the lyrics of the Iggy influence especially when listening to something along the lines like “Villains of Circumstance.” While it may not be relatable in a lot of regards, especially to younger generations, you can’t help but admire the elegance that is written throughout.
Should you listen to it? Absolutely
Queens Of The Stone Age have always been a band that has made a niche market for themselves. “Villains” is one of those records that is more about trying to appeal to listeners outside of those markets. In a lot of ways it kinds of turn off long time fans, but a few will appreciate the direction and value that they put into this record. For fans of an older style of rock this is a perfect in to start listening to Queens Of The Stone Age.
Collegian reporter Alec Erickson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @CTV_Ace.