From the explosive opener, "Regular John," to the subtle and soulful closing song, "I Was a Teenage Hand Model," this is one splendid debut album by QOTSA. From the gimmicky Mexican-tinged thematics, to the abstract song titles that have seemingly little to do with the lyrics, to the crushing and tuneful guitars and awesome drum work, this is one of the best rock and roll CDs in my collection. It's like Led Zeppelin meeting the Pixies who meet up with the Stone Temple Pilots. There's lots of muscially pleasing stuff here, riff after riff, gigantic chord after gigantic chord, as the songs breezily sail forward before you even know what hit you, without one plain or unworthy musical moment occuring.
Mastermind Josh Homme, he of the pleasing, purely melodious song structures emanating from his head to his guitar on a 24-hour basis, plays stellar guitars while changing his falsetto voice and mood from mournful to pleading to bored as the album moves along. It's not all Homme, though. Part of this album's charm is its pervading darkness, underneath all the big guitars, crass, indifferent attitude and bravado. Much of this ingratiating darkness comes from the heavy bass sound heard throughout. Mixed with Homme's crush-heavy ax guitar is somber, Soundgarden-like tuning down, which makes for great music. These guys are much more akin to Nirvana than bands like the Foo Fighters, Blink-182 or most radio bands today who are slaves to their record companies. In my mind, QOTSA were undoubtedly so sure of themselves back in 1998 for one reason: Their music was unstoppable. It's notable that QOTSA's original drummer was great on the skins; his drums on this album really enhance the overall sound.
One song of special mention is the somber "You Can't Quit Me Baby." Playing the role of a lost, depressed soul, Homme sounds mournful and weary as a heavy bass and hard-popping drums surround his isolated voice like down-and-out bliss. The song is a bit of a respite on this heavy rock record, and it fully makes its point, even stands out quite prominently as the music begins to wind down.
No, this debut record is not as complex or musically diverse as QOTSA's later album, Songs for the Deaf, nor is it as sonically easy on the ears perhaps as Queens of the Stone Age - Rated R, but therein lies its beauty. This is Led Zeppelin for a later age -- Zeppelin with a sense of humor, irony and better tunes.
on May 19, 2003
Finding out about Queens of the Stone Age is like opening that trunk in the basement. The funky one you never really noticed, the one that's been there longer than you can remember, the one that's full of priceless stuff you've always wanted and should've found ages ago.
QOTSA revealed themselves to me on the Heavy Metal 2000 soundtrack which I bought for a one-off Pantera tune, and in the classic form of bad movies having exceptional music attached to them I found the QOTSA sound, playing "Infinity" to the best of their form. About a month later, they were booked for the Winter X Games at Mammoth Mountain. After 3/4 of the floor cleared because their limp aural ethic couldn't handle the QOTSA vibe, it was up to me and twenty devoted friends, by ourselves, to be hit full and complete with a great show that reached well back into QOTSA history. After the show, one of my pals suggested I look into Josh Homme's roots and listen to Kyuss if I like this stuff so much. After you buy this album, go try Kyuss' Blues for the Red Sun and it just gets better. This sound has its own gravity.
The band creates high quality, juicy, sludgy, fat and chewy neo-Sabbath stoner/desert rock without sounding like they're trying very hard at all. Their ability to stick to a groove and play it out is uncanny. "You Would Know" - a weird, jerky phone call-stalker anthem that grows into a exceptionally heavy mini-raga. "Avon" - made for radio but too damn good for people to appreciate. "You Can't Quit Me Baby" - suicide on a stick, a melody rich plea for recognition. None of it's the same - listen and grow into it. All of this sound smacks of garage band production ethics done for the big screen, and the QOTSA sound is uncorruptable. If you like your desert metal big and thick, intelligent and complete but utterly rock & roll with a meaty slab of funky Black Sabbath or Deep Purple-style metal flair, try this on.
on October 30, 2004
I first bought Songs for the Deaf and was pretty blown away. Being a classic rocker, I usually cringe at the sound of modern music these days. The QOTSA sound was unlike any other ive ever heard before and I instanly fell in love with it. The way the album sounded like a radio was also very cool. Anyways, I just recently decided I'd pick up the other two albums of the collection. Rated R was so-so. However, this album, their self-titled debut is outrageous! It's about 3 times better than songs for the deaf, if that is possible. I like every song on this album. I recommend it to anyone that is looking for something different than the nu-metal sound that so many bands posess today. Considering I usually listen to the Floyd, Zeppelin, Beatles, and The Who, you should take it from me that this is an amazing modern band and an amazing album.
on May 27, 2011
Finally the long awaited reissue of Queens of the Stone Age's self-titled debut arrives, much to the delight and anticipation of fans yet to snag a high priced original copy of the out of print classic. For the fans yet to acquire a copy of the original pressing this reissue is a no-brainer, BUY, BUY, BUY! So perhaps the more relevant question should be: Is this a good value reissue worth re-buying for the fans that snared an original copy in years past?
After such a long wait and several lengthy delays I can report that this reissue has been carefully put together with some nice new features and a healthy respect to the great, almost cult status of the original pressing. Firstly the tracks themselves have been updated with a remastering job. Now there is good argument that the original album sounds as crisp, fuzzy and vibrant as ever and a remaster is entirely unnecessary. Those who dispute the idea of a remastering have a good point; however, after piecing together a reissue of an album over ten years old why not give it a nice tune-up? Admittedly the results are quite subtle and it took listening to the older pressing and this new update side-by-side to distinctly discern between them. Josh Homme's vocals are a little clearer and more up front while the guitars and general mix offer enhanced clarity and volume.
Perhaps the greatest asset of this reissue is not only the inclusion of three hard-to-find B-sides previously available on their early splits with Kyuss and Beaver, but the fact that Homme sequenced them carefully into his once intended order in the original release. This is refreshing after so many reissues slap the bonus tracks at times haphazardly at the end of the album proper, or on an extra disc. Artwork and layout has been slightly altered and updated without losing the cheap charm of the original booklet. The inclusion of all the lyrics is a welcome addition.
Two of the bonus tracks are instrumental (`These Aren't The Droids You're Looking For', `Spiders and Vinegaroons') though both are more interesting than original instrumental track `Hispanic Impressions', especially the latter `Spiders and Vinegaroons' with its hypnotic slow building rhythm and industrial tinged breakdown/climax. `The Bronze' remains one of Queens' early classics and is a must hear song for the uninitiated and a welcome inclusion. This beefs up the playing time of the album without overstaying its welcome.
The original tracks on the debut remain as vital as ever, retaining the smooth grooves, eclectic edges and the hard rocking, fuzzed out vibe and tight jams that made this album such a pleasure to begin with. Alfredo Hernandez (ex-Kyuss) is superb on drums, delivering an energetic, varied performance while Homme's song-writing chops, assured, melodic vocals and guitar work are obvious standouts. Queens Of The Stone Age is a must-have rock album that stands tall when stacked up against their distinguished catalogue, and for that matter, any rock album from the modern era. Recommended to fans old and new.
on August 11, 2013
I realized when buying Like Clockwork I did not own this album, and picked it up at the same time. I don't think this is as good as any of their efforts after, but it's not bad. I have always kind of called QotSA "stoner rock" and this is no different. Put this into a mix with Kyuss, Fu Manchu, other similar bands and it will make a worthwhile addition.
on September 21, 2011
Kyuss dies and QOTSA was born. This was the album that started QOTSA up, and really halped to popularize the stoner rock genre. Up until then, for me at least, it was Kyuss, Nebula, and Fu Manchu with a nof to Clutch, one of my favorite bands, who kind of skirted the genre a bit. After this album, many, many great efforts came out in the genre from a multitude of bands. So really, if you love stoner rock, or just some straight forward driving music, and you havent heard this album, you need to buy it. A landmark, a classic, and an always welcome listen and addition to any collection.
One further note. You know how you cant help but simply feel good listening to something like Steve Miller? This album has that same effect. You cant be upset jamming this. The music simply wont let you.
on January 7, 2015
This is a great album, although why the cover is "censored" is completely beyond me. I guess the record company is afraid some little old lady in Peoria could be offended by the sight of male underwear. This is really rediculous. Let artists be artists and tell the easily offended to get a life.
on December 31, 2008
QOTSA broke the mold here. In a horrible stale and disgusting musical world that we were living in when this came out, I can't thank Josh Homme and the gang enough for creating this 'almost' masterpiece album. (Of course I had to give it 5 stars for being amazing though) Here's why it should be in everyone's top 10 albums of all time list...
When word of this album surfaced rock fans were hurting or giving up on music altogether. The dark age of the mid 90's to about 2001 were musically saved by very few bands, QOTSA was one of them, lucky for us! MTV tried so hard to create another music wave of 'Return of the Rock' with watered down, poor excuses that need not be named during this time that they completely missed out on this gem and sadly their next album. Now you can see how sought after and important this album was.
Queens took what later Kyuss was leaning towards, stuck the plug in the generator and jammed out some amazing tracks for this album. Regular John hits home as a perfect lead-off track that lacks just enough to keep you wanting to see what would come next. The album really does keep mashing out excellent jams one after the other and stays heavy, fun and most importantly true to it's sound.
They don't seem to be trying to sound like anything, just banging out sweet jams that just happen and are recorded. You can put this album up against any rock album from 95-01 and it will either hold it's own or stomp on it's bacon...
I highly recommend this album and especially anything else from Queens. Their Gamma Ray sessions are alot like this album as well if you can find them. Born to Hula not being on this album is the only thing that keeps it from being the perfect album. But where would it have gone? If you can find this album, even if you have to punch a fat kid, pick it up!
on May 5, 2014
I came to the QOTSA parade late, but I'm glad I came after all. This is satisfying rock that isn't mindless, but doesn't require a heck of a lot of thought to enjoy either. It doesn't assault the senses but is chunky and heavy enough to get into my bones. If you are, like me, a Nirvana fan of a certain age who's looking for something to find that "Nevermind" feeling again, I think you'll find this a satisfying choice.
on January 26, 2013
I won't say a whole lot here because I feel music is about like politics and religion, you are into what you are into and no-one is likely going to change your mind, and I like what I like and don't care to argue about it.
I used to really dislike QOTSA to be honest, and I blame it totally on the singles they or their record company chose to release on the radio. Which is the same with a lot of bands. It's almost like the purposely release the bad stuff and the diamonds remain in the rough and its up to you to find them. I guess if you don't care to sell albums that's one way of doing it, but it's not how I would do things.
This is one of their best albums if not the best in my opinion. Most of the songs are very solid with great hooks and progressions. Very good dynamics and feel here. If I would have heard any of these songs before "no-one knows" which got played into the ground on the radio I would have been on board as a fan from way back the start. Too bad I guess.
I also can't say Kyuss is a favorite, which also turned me off to QOTSA at first. It's very amateurish sounding, almost to the point of sounding like a bad inside joke or something, maybe it was... Who knows. But it was a precursor to QOTSA and they were still looking for a footing. It's sort of mind blowing that this album came out in '98.
Josh Homme is like a chameleon. You know who it is the moment your hear him, but he's still so very diverse with all the projects he's tied to and he shifts between them with such ease. He almost makes making music sound easy, but he's just gotten excellent at writing music. No question.