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by Dan Grote

“You can’t even hear it,” the generic DJ says in the intro to “You Think I Ain’t Worth a Dollar but I Feel like a Millionaire,” the first track off Queens of the Stone Age’s third album, Songs for the Deaf, and for the first 20 seconds of song or so, you can’t. What comes out is that high-end treble you’d expect from your computer speakers (and perhaps it is, if you’ve already burned the album off the Internet), but then, after you’ve been given enough time to turn your stereo up, the Queens assault your ears and insult the unintelligent, and they don’t let up till the album’s over.

Songs for the Deaf is probably one of the most critically acclaimed and anticipated albums of 2002, and Queens’ founders Joshua Homme and Nick Olivieri do not disappoint, having created one of the best pure rock albums in years. The two get high with a little help from their brand name friends, including A Perfect Circle’s Troy van Leeuwen, Screaming Trees’ Mark Lanegan, and Foo Fighters’ Dave Grohl, back behind the kit (Grohl also supplied drums on the Tenacious D album).

Beyond the scream of “Millionaire,” Songs for the Deaf includes the bouncy “No One Knows,” the breezy “Hangin’ Tree” and the pointed “Another Love Song.” Variety is the spice of Deafness, as vocalman Homme varies between screaming (“Six Shooter”), melodic (“First It Giveth”) and falsetto (“The Sky is Fallin’”), with guitars to match the mood. Grohl rounds out the group as the consummate rock and roll drummer; he supplies a good deal of the album’s power but still manages to stay in the background to let the frontmen shine. And the frontmen do plenty of shining, as guitar solos abound on pieces like “Song for the Dead” and “Go with the Flow.”

Other sonic treats on the album include, “God is in the Radio,” which, in addition to being intro’d by a series of religious radio banterings, sounds suspiciously like the classic rock staple “Spirit in the Sky” by Norman Greenbaum. Another area of variation lies in the hidden track, “Mosquito Song,” on which Homme and Olivieri work on acoustic guitars as opposed to the standard distorted electric. The album also includes skits, centered around the blandness and interchangeability of modern radio.

VERDICT: Songs for the Deaf is going to sell largely without the support of MTV or radio. Queens of the Stone Age aren’t looking for a hit, not singleswise anyway. Fans who liked their 2000 sophomore LP Rated R will love Songs for the Deaf, as the band has truly taken themselves to the next level. Word of mouth (and the deluge of magazine reviews the band has already received) will be what makes the Queens kings.
 
 


CD Info 

Queens Of The Stone Age: Songs For The Deaf
Label: Interscope Records
Rating: 
 
Tracks:
You Think I Ain't Worth A Dollar, But I Feel Like A Millionaire
No One Knows 
First It Giveth 
Song For The Dead 
The Sky Is Falling 
Six Shooter 
Hangin' Tree 
Go With The Flow 
Gonna Leave You 
Do It Again 
God Is In The Radio 
Another Love Song 
Song For The Deaf 
Mosquito Song - (hidden track)
 
Listen to samples and Purchase this CD online


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