One of the most consistent hard rock bands of the past 25 years, Queens of the Stone Age can feel like visitors from another era.
Their sound and lineup have evolved over time, but Josh Homme holds firm in his dangerous, confident songwriting. The frontman exudes rock star coolness without ever trying. In fact, he probably cares less about “looking good” than anyone you know. By simply being himself, Homme can come across charming, terrifying and self-flagellating all in the same song.
Albums like Rated R and Songs for the Deaf came at a pivotal moment in hard rock, ignoring trends like nü metal and the post-punk revival for something totally unique. It’s no surprise to hear bands like Arctic Monkeys, Tame Impala and Royal Blood citing QOTSA as a major influence, both musically and in how they carried themselves.
Read below for some of our all-time favorite Queens of Stone Age tracks and check out the full playlist if you want more.
“Mexicola” (Queens of the Stone Age, 1998)
Queens of the Stone Age seemed to be fully realized on their self-titled debut, rising from the ashes of Kyuss with barren desert imagery and stories of mind-boggling excess with songs that straddled the line between alternative and art rock. 25 years later, a song like “Mexicola” still sounds fresh and hits just as hard.
“Feel Good Hit of the Summer” (Rated R, 2000)
The opening track on Rated R starts off with a fuzzy bass riff before building up into an explosive, wild-eyed mission statement of epic (and toxic) proportions. There’s no illusion of subtlety or nuance here, just a cannonball into the depravity that defined this era of QOTSA.
“Song for the Dead” (Songs for the Deaf, 2002)
Featuring the late, great Mark Lanegan (Screaming Trees, The Gutter Twins) on lead vocals and Dave Grohl delivering one of his most punishing drum performances, this song lurches like a giant for nearly five minutes before launching into overdrive. It doesn’t get as much attention as the big singles from Songs for the Deaf, but “Song for the Dead” has remained a live staple and fan favorite.
“Make It Wit Chu” (Era Vulgaris, 2007)
There’s a whole lot more to QOTSA than loud, scuzzy stoner rock. A rare piano-based song in their discography, “Make It Wit Chu” slinks along like a lost Elton John song that was rejected for being too damn horny. (He would later collaborate with the band after reportedly calling Josh Homme and saying “The only thing missing from your band is an actual queen.”)
“Feet Don’t Fail Me” (Villains, 2017)
It takes nearly two minutes to kick in, but “Feet Don’t Fail Me” is more than worth the wait. Once it’s off the ground, the Villains opener is something of a stoner superhero origin story that finds the band locked into an absolutely airtight groove. While you might not hear the influence, the song’s origins date back to Josh Homme’s Post Pop Depression collaboration with Iggy Pop.
“Emotion Sickness” (In Times New Roman…, 2023)
The lead single from their newest album, “Emotion Sickness” rumbles along with classic QOTSA swagger before blooming into a ‘70s rock chorus that borders on Electric Light Orchestra territory. (That’s a good thing, by the way.) There’s no question that this one’s going to be a fixture in their setlists for years to come.
Riot Fest 2023 Tickets + Lineup
Single day tickets are available now to see Queens of the Stone Age with Mr. Bungle, Death Grips, PUP, The Postal Service, Death Cab For Cutie and more on Saturday, September 16. Get yours now!
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