Queens of the Stone Age - Rated RX

2010-09-27 09:19
"Nicotine, Valium, Vicodin, marijuana, ecstasy and alcohol. C-c-c-c-c-cocaine." It’s been ten years. Can you believe it? And to celebrate, Queens of the Stone Age (or rather, Josh Homme) has re-released the band’s breakthrough major label debut Rated R, now renamed Rated RX and repackaged with five b-sides and 10 live tracks.

Rated R is the quintessential Queens of the Stone Age album. The lyrics are off the wall (or rather, climbing the wall) - everything in excess. The riffs don’t stop. ("Heavy enough for the boys and sweet enough of the girls"). And the chemistry between frontman Josh Homme and booted bassist Nick Oliveri is electric.

Oliveri didn’t just play bass; he’s credited with percussion, guitar, backing vocals, concept and "art conception". And his lead vocals on "Quick and to the Pointless" and "Tension Head" could peel paint. His mellower vocals on "Auto Pilot" remind me of Red Hot Chili Peppers' 1995 album One Hot Minute.  

Josh Homme put together an all-star desert-rat, stoner-rock crew of buddies (and riffs) for Rated R From previous band Kyuss, his revolving-door project The Dessert Sessions and Oliveri’s Mondo Generator, to Screaming Trees (who Homme toured with) vocalist Mark Lanegan and Masters of Reality’s Chris Goss.

Even Rob Halford, who was recording next door at the time, appears on mega single "Feel Good Hit of the Summer". All things considered, it’s amazing how focused the album actually sounds.

Since Rated R, the QOTSA lineup’s been a constant reshuffle. Still, a decade down the line, the songs sound just as fresh and unsettling. They haven’t aged a bit. From hard-rocking drug-metal, robot drones and sweet, bluesy croons, to filthy garage jams, desert-rat psychedelics and spacey head-noodling stoner grooves, with Homme’s focused, calm-and-collected vocals counteracting the chemical-fuelled grit and distortion.

Listen to "In the Fade". It says everything you need to know about Rated R. Deliciously ‘90s with a modern twist.

Josh Homme re-releases the quintessential Queens album, renames it, and glues on a few extras.

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