Queens of the Stone Age
Lullabies to Paralyze
/interscope; 2005/








Billy/Bass Wolf is dead. A heart attack. Surely a natural death. After all, dying of a heart attack after 15 years of raw lok n’ lol, drinking whisky and taking cocaine every night is quite acceptable.

I felt quite bad when I heard about that (lovely Barbara H told me about it). I really like Guitar Wolf. I was almost the Guitar Wolf’s specialist in the Only Angels Have Wings’ crew. So I had a kind of privileged relationship with the band. Bulshit. Sorry.

Anyway. There is only one Lemmy Killmister and every bass guitar player in the world should remeber that when they try to emulate him.

I’m very proud I was elected among all the talented reviewers to talk about Queens of the Stone Age’s new record. As I am not an indie boy, I’m gonna deal with a mainstream record (I don’t really care as far as it is about good music. We’ll see...). I sometimes pretend to be very indie to pick up girls but they always find out that I’ve got Iron Maiden records and that I like them. Anyway, I always speak too much when I’m drunk. And after all, I like Iron Maiden.

Well, well, well. Queens of the Stone Age. A new record. I have got to admit that I was quite afraid (as if the record was only meant to be made for me...Bullshit again). Nick Oliveri is gone (was he fired? Did he go away all by himslef? I never really understood). No more songs like Quick end to the pointless, Ode to Clarissa or Six shooter. I mean the kind of really violent style he was into (and still is into as far as I know about Mondo Generator). What was going to happen without the enormous contribution of this talented bass player?

Now that the record has been released, I guess I’m quite reassured. Of course it’s not Songs for the Deaf. And it’s true that it does not reach (Rated) R’s perfection (a masterpiece isn’t it?). BUT. There are songs, good songs, very good songs and nothing really boring or scandalous.

I personnaly like Little Sister more and more. I was quite disappointed when I first listenned to what was to be (I guess) the single. But I think that it’s nothing more than a good simple rock n’ roll song which sticks to your head (the end is very effective. Even if something “effective” may not be something good for a song. I don’t know). Of course, Queens of the Stone Age’s good simple rock and roll songs used to have something more than good simple rock and roll songs...

The record starts with a ballad sung by Mark Lanegan. It’s a very beautiful short song called This Lullaby. I guess it has to do with the whole “concept” of the record. I am not really sure there is a concept here (and I am not really interested). But I guess that starting with a lullaby and finishing with a mellow Long slow Goodbye (one of the best songs in my point of view) is linked. All of this mixed with the art work (quite ugly I guess) dealing with sleep, dreams, insomnia, nightmares, child tales...and you could end up with a concept. Let’s go back to music, I am not an artist, I know nothing about aesthetics...

I am not gonna deal with each songs. As I told before: this is not (Rated) R but it is Lullabies to Paralyze, and it is a good record. We are not going to complain when a record is simply good and not “very good”! Now that Josh Homme is “alone”, I mean now that he is the real and only leader, songs have turned out to be more...”pop”. Maybe you don’t get the pure energy and violence of the previous records. Some songs are quite powerful (Medication for example), but maybe not in the same way. But being more “pop” is also something good. In my head, I never came (very good verse, strange chorus), Broken Box or You’ve got a killer cene here man... are very good songs.

Listenning to Lullabies to Paralyze, you still get the psychedelic QOTSA’s rock (slightly stoner, even if Josh Homme tells that he has never really played in a stoner rock band) that we are used to listenning to Queens of the Stone age. I personnaly am still amazed by the way Josh Homme uses backing vocals and vocals arrangement on the whole.

A good record. Let’s not be petty. We can still enjoy ourselves.

PS1: don’t bother to buy the limted edition. The DVD is not really interesting (except the studio part wich is quite enjoyable).

PS2: i need your help if you’re not too angry about me after having read this review. I hear the lyrincs “Lullabies to paralyze” in the song Mosquito song on Songs for the deaf. Maybe I am realzing things very late but could you tell me if it’s true. It’s just to boast about at maindtraem parties.

PS3: I’m begging for others reviews to shut up my big mouth and get several points of views.

- Horace de Tupolev


What a strange title. Lullabies to Paralyze.

Lullaby refers to something pleasant to hear (a lullaby sung by Mark Lanegan opens the record), bedtime stories and fairytales. Paralyse takes us to the whole range of human emotions, from melancholy to angst and pain, all of which are the listener’s private interpretation. Transposed to QOTSA, let’s say that you bob your head and sing along, plus a lot of air guitar over heavy duty material. So let’s admit that it’s a darker record than the others or maybe that’s just the chiaroscuro cover and the title that reinforce this impression. Whatever.

This record is certainly different from the previous ones. There are some souvenirs from the previous record ‘Songs for the deaf’ on the first half of the album, in order to keep up with the audience. These songs are real good straightforward anthems (medication, little sister) or slightly gloomier tunes (everybody knows that you are insane, tangled up in plaid, someone’s in the wolf), but still in the mood of the heavy tunes that pop-educated fans have come to appreciate. These songs allow a transition to the realm of the new stuff, because on the whole, it sounds much more like a Desert session album. That is to say, less heavy than a QOTSA but full of nuggets. Indeed, ‘In my head’ was first recorded for the last Desert Session album, ‘Burn the witch’ hosts ZZ top bearded guitarist Billy Gibbons for a kind of old school bluesy add-on, Jack Black is a hand clapping guest, Shirley Manson sings, etc… Maybe the absence of Nick Oliveri and Dave Grohl explain the loss of balls, but also took the Queens to the next level. Josh Homme’s singing, both male and female, perfectly fits this new environment of wolves, witches, woods, lap steel and blood. I never came, The blood is love and Skin on Skin may evoke tortured relationships or night creatures; we don’t really have to care because these songs just flow. Maybe it works better if you are not in the mood for happy pop songs but guess what I am not. This record is crafted with obscure sounds and twisted melodies, sickness and shadow behind the light atmosphere. So it’s another good one from the QOTSA.

The special edition DVD is just commercial matters. Inside the studio footage, a video for Someone’s in the wolf, and a parody of therapy session with Josh Homme. Nothing huge, the album should be enough.

-Angus "Headsize" Anderson

/may 1st 2005/