There’s some saying out there that men like the first album, women like the first album they heard. (Maybe that’s not a real saying, but a friend told me and I believe him) In my household, that definitely seems to be the case as there is often discussion as to the merits of Queens of the Stone Age versus Rated R. I definitely fall into the former category in most cases and especially this one.
Queens of the Stone Age is an instant classic in my mind and it’s finally (Seriously, do you know how many delays this thing has had?) getting the reissue it deserves. Released in 1998 and out-of-print for years, QOTSA features Josh Homme on vox, guitar, bass, and keys and Alfredo Hernandez on drums.
“Regular John” is one of the best album openers ever. Simple guitar riff that just builds into a steady groove and then introduces us to Josh Homme behind the mic. Different than Kyuss, sure, but solid nonetheless. The first song that I fell in love with off of this had to be “Avon”. It has one beast of a beginning and it just pummels you over the head with percussion and riffage. It’s got some good sing-a-long moments, too. The album just gets better and better from there.
My all-time favorite QOTSA song (which conveniently enough is on the debut) is “You Can’t Quit Me Baby”. It has one of the best bass lines ever. It’s simple yet hypnotic and unforgettable. This, I think, is the foundation for some of QOTSA’s spacier moments in later albums (“Better Living Through Chemistry” on Rated R, “Infinity”). Just listen to the wailing guitar with Josh’s “ooh’s” and “aaahh’s” in the background. The degradation of the song into this crazy tempo change that just turns into noise completely encapsulates QOTSA for me. If you only hear one Queens song, this should be the one.
If you, like myself, are lucky enough to own the original version, you’ll be enticed to buy version 2.0 due to the inclusion of 3 bonus tracks (“The Bronze”, “These Aren’t The Droids You’re Looking For”, “Spiders and Vinegaroons”) which Mr. Homme has integrated into the original track listing to make a completely different experience. Of course, if you have the EP’s and splits leading up to this release, you already have the bonus tracks but still, it’s nice to have them all in one place.
Queens of the Stone Age will be out in March. Sometime.