For nearly two decades now, Queens of the Stone Age has pulverized and persuaded fans to join their cause. They can be raucous and romantic, cynical and cleansing, and everything in between. With Joshua Homme at the helm, each album has showcased different qualities in the band, and they’ve remained relevant in a sea of uninteresting. Today I give to you the Top Ten songs by Queens of the Stone Age. Enjoy!
10. the Lost Art of Keeping A Secret, Rated R
Why do people tell you they have a secret? That defeats the entire point of a secret. It’s like if someone comes up to you and says “I have your favorite meal, but you can’t have any.” How about you just fuck off with your meal and/or secret. Anyway, This was one of the first songs I got into by this band. It’s also a shame that this song is very rarely played live. I was supposed to go to see them two different times, and both times complications were involved. Either way, this song kills it musically, and it’s worthiness in being on this list is hardly a secret
9. Little Sister, Lullabies to Paralyze
More cowbell! Getting that out of the way, this song is just a foot on the pedal of awesome. It’s fast, driven, and has one of the best chorus’ in the band's entire catalog. For awhile I had this as my little sisters, you guessed it, ringtone. I was always fighting between hearing the song or answering. Sadly in the last few years I’ve come into the information that the track is actually about incest, so yeah that was awkward to learn. Part of me still hopes it’s a song about the Lannisters from Game of Thrones, but I highly doubt it. Lastly, if you haven’t seen the SNL footage of them playing this with Will Ferrell (in costume on cowbell), I highly suggest you do so.
8. Sick, Sick, Sick, Era Vulgaris
From the thumping of the guitar and drums, you can easily tell this isn’t going to be a lovey dovey situation, which is fine, because Queens are at their best when it’s immediate and in your face. This album is among their least interesting, at least to me, but “Era” has moments of invigorating intensity, and “Sick, Sick, Sick,” is very high on that list. Homme’s rushed vocals and ramblings play in perfect tandem with the hurried instrumentals, and overall these techniques play to the band's strengths, and showcase how proficient they are as musicians.
7. I Sat by the Ocean,...Like Clockwork
For the record, “...Like Clockwork,” is probably the best album the band has made so far, which is interesting since it’s fairly deep within their career. “I Sat by the Ocean,” and others truly help to propel the record way up there. “Ocean” is a jaded love song that only Homme and company could write. It’s also a brilliant representation of the dissolution of a once prosperous union. Many people can relate to that, and with Joshua’s crooning voice and the slow blues infused guitar behind it, the song is an instant classic among the band's best. Sure it’s a disheartening song, but sometimes it’s the mopey, reflective stuff that really can make a difference in a person's live.
6. 3’s & 7’s, Era Vulgaris
A video that goes perfectly with the song. The breakdown at the end is just as interesting as the rest of the song. Castillo’s drumming during that part is pure manic craziness, but in a good way. Seriously although Jon Theodore is an amazing drummer, Castillo fit the mold of what they need, even if what he did best was hit the hell out of the drums with reckless abandon. To the rest of the track though, I still don’t know what he’s howling at the end of the song, but sometimes it’s more fun to just make up your own lines.
5. the Vampyre of Time and Memory,...Like Clockwork
One of the most touching, eye opening, sobering songs in QOTSA’s discography finds us at the halfway point of the Top Ten Queens of the Stone Age songs. Homme’s voice is slow and gentle, and wincing through agony both out of body and internal. This record and the road to it were particularly difficult for Homme, and on “Vampyre” you can feel all the emotion and damage wearing through. All in all, it’s a powerful song about confusion and loss, and the struggles of making things work when they seem reserved to falling apart.
4. Better Living Through Chemistry, Rated R
I like to envision a scene from an old, not great movie. Picture this song as the music for the trailer to “Planet of the Vampires,” by Mario Bava. It’s not an excellent film, but it captivated me. The first time I saw this performed live was at Voodoo Fest in 2003. The sun was setting, and it was the last day of the fest. Just an amazing feeling in the air. So many of this band's songs grow and expand and end up in a completely different place from where they began, but this is the one that works the most. Sometimes I wish they had gotten their just deserves and would be headlining arenas but I have a feeling Homme and the band like it right where they are. They truly are the great rock and roll band of our time, even if tons of people still aren’t aware.
3. Burn the Witch, Lullabies to Paralyze
The drums and the groovy, dreamlike tempo set the stage. I never realized how cinematic a lot of their songs actually are. “Burn the Witch” especially oozes with the images being projected to you. I can picture myself being wooed by an evil seductress in a bar that has only red lights. Oh, and the Ba- na- na through the song is priceless. The song, while sarcastic, is also one of their most reliable hard rock tracks. It’s consistent and thorough in it’s musical ability. Lastly though, Homme never gets enough credit for his lyrics, which is sad and frustrating, seeing as they’re brilliant, funny, and extremely tongue in cheek.
2. Fairweather Friends,...Like Clockwork
What other song can you think of in this day and age that features multiple well known artists, outside of a rap track? “Fairweather Friends” isn’t only the best song on “Clockwork,” but it manages to pull more star power than most rap ensembles. Homme is joined by Dave Grohl, Trent Reznor, and Elton fucking John on this massively catchy song. John’s piano can be heard hammering away in the background, while Reznor growls here and there. The real star though is Homme, who yet again proves how brilliant he is in his usage not only of metaphors in music, but also how reliable he is as a competent musician. This is a track i could listen to over and over again, and quite frankly I don’t know if any new record can topple the masterpiece that is “...Like Clockwork.”
1.Go with the Flow, Songs for the Deaf
Quite possibly the song that took this band to the next level. The record itself is a masterpiece, and many of the songs are intensely brilliant, but “Go with the Flow” is the easy winner of the whole album. The track starts at 70 MPH and doesn’t slow down even remotely throughout its three minutes and seven seconds duration. Troy Van Leeuwen's keyboard and guitar playing are inescapable and relentless, while Grohl's drumming and precision take the track to totally new level, one which the band hadn’t reach to before. Not only is this the best track of the entire record, it’s also the best song the band has in their arsenal, and one we’re likely to be enjoying for many many years. Thanks for reading!
Landon Murray is a New Orleans native, who thrives on painting the world he interprets through the useful forms of all types of art he feels connected to. He's seen over 1000 bands, and had loved mostly every minute of it. He has an amazing 10 year old dog, and is loving life.
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