The latest release from rock band Queens of the Stone Age, entitled “Villains,” promises to be “honestly the best album ever,” and boy does it deliver on its promise.
The Mark Ronson-produced album boasts a full nine songs starting with the banging “Feet Don’t Fail Me.” The songs plays off themselves, bouncing between Queens multi-instrumentalist Dean Fertita’s intricate ‘80s synths and frontman Josh Homme’s manic guitar playing.
Overall, “Villains” keeps things uptempo, blending with the flavor of “Uptown Funk” by Bruno Mars. It’s as if you had a blender and mixed QOTSA, disco, a tad of pop, some sexy and a whole lot of weird.
The first single for the album, “The Way You Used to Do,” keeps the spirits high and the sexy on full blast, much like the band’s “I Wanna Make It Wit Chu.” It’s the closest thing to a love song you will here on the album. The only other song somewhat pertaining to love is “Fortress.” The song speaks of human emotion, calling back to 2013’s “…Like Clockwork.” Homme pours his heart out in the song, warning the listeners that everyone’s emotional fortress will come down eventually. Though it is not the end, for we are safe within his fortress that has been built up and torn down over and over.
The album takes a sharp turn with “Head like A Haunted House,” a song that shifts to dual riffs played by Homme and guitarist Troy Van Leeuwen before exploding into a drum-and-bass section headed by Michael Shuman and Jon Theodore on bass and drums.
The vocals are all over the place, ranging from a low growl to high falsettos, with innuendo thrown in every which way. It’s psychotic in every sense of the word.
The album slowly drifts into uncharted territory with prominent synths on “Un-Reborn Again” and “Hideaway.” It’s a great departure from the seminal album “Songs for the Deaf” and its heavy tones. “Villains” is a long way away from its predecessors it’s a welcome change, no two QOTSA albums are the same.
The sound of QOTSA has always been ever-changing; as time moves forward, so does their sound.
The album approaches its end with its second single, “The Evil Has Landed,” a song that seems to echo some of Homme’s previous work with the legendary John Paul Jones of Led Zeppelin and Dave Grohl of Foo Fighters in Them Crooked Vultures. Though neither Jones nor Grohl appear on the album, it’s clear that Homme integrated some of his other band’s sound into QOTSA’s.
The album ends with “Villains of Circumstance,” the saddest song on the album and possibly in all of the Queens of the Stone Age discography. It starts with ominous, ambient noise before Shuman comes in with a melancholy bass line.
Homme then drops in his smooth, sad vocals over it. Each syllable is expertly uttered, and the lyrics twist and turn each word playing, off the next. It tells the tale of lovers separated by distance; they are “hostages of geography” and miles apart.
“Villains” is a twisting and turning journey that is unlike any other. It will leave you stunned and wanting more. I give it 4 ½ imps on my back out of 5.