Rating: 9 out of 10
Typically, I’ve come across three types of Queens Of The Stone Age fans, die-hards that have been there since the beginning. Those that were there in the beginning, but bailed once they “sold out”, changed too much and got too popular with Songs For The Deaf. And those like myself that really got into the band with Songs, the track Go With The Flow was what did it for me, that and friend of mine letting me borrow his CD. I was lucky enough to see them open for the Red Hot Chili Peppers while touring behind the album.
The band has always evolved for better or worse, some albums are stronger than others, but I don’t think any of their albums is downright horrible. When I heard they were working with Mark Ronson, I thought to myself “what on earth”, I know him from Duran Duran, Uptown Funk, and an assortment of pop songs, what would QOTSA want with him? It wasn’t that I was opposed, so much as I couldn’t get my head around it, and what he could offer to the band. Then I saw the vignette with them promoting Villains with Josh Homme on a lie detector, and shortly thereafter the single for The Way You Used To Do was released, and I thought, this is cool, not great, but not bad either. The noticeable difference was the drumming on the track, which had a big band feel to it, especially with the way Jon Theodore uses the toms in this track. It at least wet my appetite for what was to come.
The first time I heard the lead off track Feet Don’t Fail Me, with the build that kicks into the main groove you hear throughout the song, I thought holy shit, I understand why they wanted Ronson on here, oh my, I love this. The track, and the album for that matter has a certain bounce to it, a certain swagger, a certain boogie if you will, that is brilliantly brought out of the band. I’m also a sucker for well-played 80s keyboards, after the series Stranger Things came out, people started to go overboard with this sort of thing. But I think Dean Fertita did a good job of adding the necessary ingredients to make the songs better, not drown everything out, case in point Domesticated Animals or Un-Reborn Again where his playing reminds me of Greg Hawkins of The Cars. Adding to each track, not overtaking it. Aside from having Nikka Costa on the album doing some backing vocals, the album is devoid of any real collaborations with name outside guests. No Nick, no Mark, no Trent.
As much as I liked …Like Clockwork, this album really connected with me right off the bat. I would honestly say the lead off single and the closing track Villains Of Circumstance are probably the weakest song on the album. They’re both good, just not up to snuff with the rest. In my opinion, this is their best album since Songs For The Deaf.
Strongest Tracks: Feet Don’t Fail Me, Domesticated Animals, Un-Reborn Again, The Evil Has Landed