Queens of the Stone Age Rated R (Interscope)

Rated R (Interscope)

Record Reviews

Queens of the Stone Age

Rated R (Interscope)

Somebody notify K-Tel: There's a new free-associative companion to R.E.M.'s "It's the End of the World as We Know It (And I Feel Fine)" and Billy Joel's "We Didn't Start the Fire" -- Queens of the Stone Age's "Feel Good Hit of the Summer." It's a bona fide anthem with a brilliant hook that's part Nirvana, part Jon Spencer, and a list of just seven words, "Nicotine, Valium, Vicodin, marijuana, Ecstasy and alcohol, cocaine." For good measure, there's backing vocals from Rob Halford. It's a doozy of an album opener and perhaps the year's catchiest song, but it's also just about the only track on Rated R that you'd expect from these post-Kyuss stoner-rock godheads. Sure, the rest rocks plenty hard on the back of precision rhythms, fuzzy guitars, and psychedelic lyricism, but the sum total is ultimately pretty surprising: Rated R owes as much to progressive rock as metal and to studio experimentation than plug 'n' play minimalism. In fact, Rated R is less QOTSA II than a long-lost Masters of Reality album, and that's no coincidence; the Masters' Chris Goss produced the album and contributes on half its tracks. For each radio-friendly oddity like "The Lost Art of Keeping a Secret" or "In the Fade" (co-written and sung by Screaming Tree Mark Lanegan), there's a spellbinding swirl of complex, but oddly unpretentious, art rock -- from the Pink Floyd-style "Better Living Through Chemistry" to the nine-minute, could-be-a-Bitches' Brew-outtake "I Think I Lost My Headache." Both the real songs and free-form freakouts blend into something fully original -- a wall of sound, hooks, and quirk that add up to seven more words: "The First Must-Have of the Summer."

***.5

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for almost 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

READ MORE
More Music Reviews
Top 10 Box Sets of 2018
Metallica
... And Justice For All (Deluxe) (Record Review)

Alejandra Ramirez, Dec. 7, 2018

Texas Platters
Portrayal of Guilt
Let Pain Be Your Guide (Record Review)

Raoul Hernandez, Nov. 23, 2018

More by Andy Langer
Margaret Moser Tribute: Chris Layton
Chris Layton
Antone’s, 1979: Hurricane Margaret blows in

June 30, 2017

Margaret Moser Tribute: Jimmie Vaughan
Jimmie Vaughan
“Everything back then felt like us versus them – and she was one of us”

June 30, 2017

MORE IN THE ARCHIVES
NEWSLETTERS
One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

Updates for SXSW 2019

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle