It’s been a lonely four years for Queens of the Stone Age (QotSA) fans, but the band is finally back with their seventh studio album. With no guest musicians on board, “Villains” is all-rock and all-Queens.
A Blurred Timeline
In early 2014, lead vocalist Josh Homme stated that the band is in talks of recording their next album after finishing tour. Two years later, however, bassist Michael Shum revealed that they were actually on a break. During this time, the members delved into their own careers: Homme contributed Iggy Pop’s “Post Pop Depression” album and tour along with Matt Helders of the Arctic Monkeys, while guitarist Troy Van Leeuwen joined hard rock band Gone Is Gone.
Months passed after Shum’s announcement, but in the same year Van Leeuwen revived the hype of recording sessions for the new album some time within the year. We can’t confirm the actual months of their recording sessions, but when 2017 rang in, Troy Sanders of Gone Is Gone broke the news of a new album first. The official band announcement came around in June accompanied by a trailer in the form of a comedy skit and a snippet of their song “Feet Don’t Fail Me”.
Homme’s participation in the new Lady Gaga record connected him with producer Mark Ronson. Ronson, best known for Brunos Mars’ “Uptown Funk” and his work with the late Amy Winehouse, adds a refreshing tang to “Villains”. QotSA have been around for a long while, and Ronson’s role as a producer played a big role in keeping the band on the radar. Homme’s lyricism takes a more contextual yet clandestine approach, but he keeps his swagger intact. Despite the worries of “selling out”, they’ve proven that “Villains” is simply an upgrade.
Some of our favorite tracks include “Head Like A Haunted House”, “Villains of Circumstance”, and “Fortress”. “Head Like A Haunted House” is an upbeat, screw-you-all anthem that makes you want to punch a hole through the wall of your crappy and depressing office cubicle. Homme croons us with the closing track, “Villains of Circumstance”, and the evils of geographically-separating love. “Fortress” sways as a slow-building song he wrote for his 11-year old daughter with his wife and fellow rock & roll superstar Brody Dalle. He shares the parenting technique he uses with their three kids:
“Find your center of self, and chase it with reckless abandon. Essentially, find a life and don’t let anyone take it away. There’s a whole list of ‘don’t’s – they’re still writing them, putting it on top of the old list. Follow those only if someone’s watching. And then get back to living as hard as you can.”
“Villains” isn’t the end for Queens of the Stone Age. After working with Iggy Pop, Homme comments that he’s still chasing something with his music and he’s not going to stop until he comes out victorious.