Queens of the Stone Age are a bizarre institution. Their brand of skronky, greasy art-punk-metal has captivated fans of fringe music enough to make them a household name, and Villains provides a heaping dose of meaty yet melodic QOTSA, with just a dash of neo-psychedelia thrown into the mix.
Taken as a whole, the album can be a bit disorienting. I always recommend listening to an album straight through in one sitting, and by the end of Villains, you’ve taken a trip into the dark, ethereal, shapeshifting world of Queens of the Stone Age. Josh Homme’s signature songwriting ability shines through on their twisty-turny carnival ride, and it’s truly the alternative music you should be listening to.
Compared with previous QOTSA records, Villains appears to have quite a bit of focus on the vocals, as Homme rings loud and clear over multiple time signatures and moods, with some truly beautiful harmonies thrown in towards the end of the album (the final track in particular makes you wish the record wouldn’t end).
Basically, this album is potato chips; I can’t quit listening to it. As with most QOTSA music, there’s a lot to dig into and dissect, requiring multiple listens. But that’s the beauty of an album like this; QOTSA have really perfected the art of making music that at first listen seems like middle school stoner rock, but when you really pay attention, there is some dazzling songwriting that is truly unlike anything else on the market today.
In an increasingly homogenous music world, Queens of the Stone Age remain a singular voice with a style that is wholly their own. They’ve been a defining force in the alternative rock world for decades now, and they show no signs of slowing down. Get in touch with your inner caveman and check out Villains. You’ll be glad you did.
Queens of the Stone Age Villains Rating: 8 out of 10