Wednesday, November 12, 2008

17. Queens of the Stone Age - Era Vulgaris

(Side note: you will find that the QOTSA reviews will tend to be longer than most and more like actual reviews, simply because they are my favorite band and I tend to get carried away when discussing their albums)

There's always trepidation when your favorite band puts out a new album. All the anticipation you've built up makes you almost not want to listen to the album when you finally get it in your hands. Or maybe that's just me. I just hate being disappointed by bands I love. So when I sat down to listen to Era Vulgaris for the first time, I remembered how I felt upon first hearing the previous album, Lullabies to Paralyze. I hated it. It was missing the decadence of Nick Oliveri. But, I grew to love it eventually. I guess it's like having an ugly baby. At first you're horrified, then you learn to find the beauty within it.

At first I was ambivalent about Era. I didn't know if I liked it, hated it, loved it. I put it away after the first listen and let it soak in. Then I put it in the car and listened to it over and over again while we drove around Long Island one weekend on a photo taking/authentic Mexican food finding spree. There were songs that I kept repeating: Suture up Your Future, 3's & 7's, Into the Hollow. And I loved the rendition of Make it Wit Chu, a song previously heard on Desert Sessions. More importantly, there were no songs I skipped.

Each QOTSA album is completely different from the others. I know that sounds like a "no shit" statement, but with a lot of bands, you get the same sound, different lyrics on their albums. With QOTSA, each new effort is like discovering a new genre within one band, or a new band within that band (which sort of holds true as the lineup for this band changes so often, and there are so many guests artists on each album).

Era Vulgaris is deeper musically than any of the previous titles. While lyrically it's not as tight as some of the earlier work, there's a lot of introspection here and enough thoughtfulness to keep the words as interesting as the music. The music itself is full, broad and encompasses so many different styles that it's hard to get sick of this album; even after a hundred repeated plays over a two day period, I was still hearing things in songs I didn't hear previously.

It's not my favorite album of theirs, but it is a great album.

Favorite song: Suture up Your Future (live, acoustic version)
An awesome QOTSA fan site


Carin said...

I FINALLY got (some of) my kids to like QOTSA. They started playing guitar - and now they "get it."

steelopus said...

I wouldn't consider myself anything more than just a casual QOTSA fan. I've never heard anything that I didn't like, but I never invested any time into actually becoming a fan.

With that said, Era Vulgaris was my favorite album of 2007. You're spot-on with your statement about listening repeatedly and still hearing new things. Even further, I found that repeated listens inspired more listening. I found myself not even wanting to listen to anything else after a while.

I'm not much of a lyrical guy; I rarely pay attention to what's being said, but sonically this album has exactly what I look for in rock music.

Mike said...

QOTSA is definitely one of my favorite bands and I love this album.

Actually, this review made me go and listen to it again along with the two B-sides albums I have.

Can't get enough Queens.

ALa said...

I like them less after seeing them play --the lead singer is such a tool.

ALa said...

...ooops, sorry. Just read they're your favorite band. Note to self: read review BEFORE you comment! :)

michele said...

For some reason I knew you didn't like Josh Homme - I must have read a review you wrote of the show, or Tesco mentioned it.

I know he can be kind of a dick. Todd has hung out with him before and I heard a few stories. But I still adore him, musically.