For all my love of jazz, 80s pop, English story telling, obscure Scottish bands, and middle eastern melodic thievery, I love me some dirty desert rock and roll. Particularly when there is one hell of a guitarist. And especially when Dave Grohl shows up on drums.
Dave. I love you.
Rightfully, though, QOTSA is Josh Homme’s band, and he’s the astonishing guitarist I adore here. The grimy, driven hard rock licks and clever chords and nasty reverb makes my life complete here. Songs For the Deaf is a modern-day rock and roll masterpiece, soaked in desert sun and waaaaaaaay to many drugs, and is it ever worth the trip.
I mean, I will never accuse Homme of lyrical subtlety (hell, the video for “Go With the Flow” is downright misogynistic weirdness- and leaves no doubt what the damn song is about. Though the appearance of Juggalos is a bit of a WTF moment. Those are Juggalos, right?) But lyrical subtlety is over rated in hard rock, and is often worth slogging through to get to what this genre of music should be about.
It’s all about six strings, virtuosity, and creating a mood strictly from that particular instrument.
Even then, certain songs from these albums that I love for the pure sonic magic become iconic. Songs For the Deaf has many fine tracks, but “No One Knows” remains QOTSA’s apex, and perfect storm of lyrics, music, and attitude. The riff is all memorable, the lyrics track beautifully, it’s a ferocious typhoon of driven perfection.
This is an album I pull out and listen to when I’m raging on the inside. Hard rock soothes the inner turmoil. I find comfort in noise. I hate silence, it allows me to listen to the voices in my head, and believe me, they ain’t nice people. When I fall out of control, I need loud. It’s why punk rock speaks to me, and why bands like QOTSA end up being on lists like these.
Also, Josh Homme using pill bottles as maracas on hideous yet wonderful “Blurred Lines” is just worth seeing, even as he stumbles through the lyrics. He’s just too cool for school.