Lullabies to Paralyze – Queens of the Stone Age

Queens_of_the_Stone_Age_Lullabies_to_ParalyzeRelease Year: 2005

Rating: 8.5/10

There are a lot of things to say about this band, but the easiest one is they’re fucking awesome. With their three previous albums they established themselves as a promising act, but with this release they worked out the kinks and presented a record that’s almost flawless. There’s something interesting to be said for every song on the album whether it’s the awesome music or the mysterious lyrics. This is the record that allowed the band to become so poplar and what would eventually lead to their best album yet.

Right off the bat it seems like certain songs are linked together, the first two being “Medication” and “Everybody Knows That You Are Insane.” The first song has a frantic pace thanks to rapid guitar playing and a pulsating drum beat. The song itself deals with medication and how pretty much everyone is on it. When it goes into the next song there’s a moment where you’re not even sure if the track changed. Even though this song begins with a drawn out, heavy riff, it flows seamlessly from the previous track. Then when the chorus hits, it returns to the frantic pace from the former track. This makes it seem like Homme uttering “Everybody knows that you are insane” is a comment on the aforementioned medication. This comes full circle when he constantly sings “I feel nothing/am I better yet?” It makes you wonder if he’s commenting on the aforementioned medication.

Skin on Skin” and “Broken Box” follow the same format. The previous track is about the sleaziest, dirtiest sex you can imagine. Again, the riff sounds heavy and drugged, much like Homme’s singing. The way he sings “I wanna lick you too much/I wanna lick you too much/I hear you comin’, ooh, aaaah, baby” makes it sound like the sloppiest sex ever. For effect you can also hear pants being zipped and a lighter flicking at the end. “Broken Box” follows and here Homme sings “In my head you’re all brand new/I guess you’re really all the same/In my head you’re all brand new/Tell your new boy where I came/In my head you’re all brand new/I just didn’t want what you gave.” This makes it sound like he found out the woman was screwing someone else, so he gets fed up and tells her “Take that broken pussy elsewhere.” This link between the songs creates a larger story that you can only get from listening to the album from start to finish.

One of the most intriguing and creepiest songs is “Someone’s in the Wolf.” It begins with a jarring bouncing riff that sounds like temptation in sonic form. Homme’s eerie vocals repeating “So glad you could/stay forever” let’s you know that this person is most likely being held against their will. What’s interesting here is how the song sounds like a fable and even uses images from those stories. There’s even one verse where the Crooked Man is mentioned and how he’s sharpening his blade. Things get really chilling when the music slows down. Unsettling whispering voices are heard along with blades being sharpened, a bottle being corked, and cutting noises. It’s a clever way to seal the fate of the song’s protagonist without outright mentioning it.

The creepy factor returns on “Little Sister.” With it’s kick ass heart pounding riff and the tantalizing hook, it’s easy to miss what’s actually going on. It sounds like a brother lusting after his little sister. Even if it’s not about that, the implication is made and it makes the song 100 times creepier. Another great song is “Tangled up in Plaid.” This track has one of the sexiest riffs of the album. The sleekness of it and the way Homme croons “Oh yeah” makes it sound sensual. But things get gruesome with the violence of the third verse, but it’s part of what makes the song so delicious: “A self-inflicted wound, your Gift,/Impeccable aim/Can really clear a room/All the bodies piled up in your way.” It’s a bit eerie, but everything else about it is so intriguing, you want to hear it again.

The one track that doesn’t fit the LP is “In My Head.” The catchy music and the vocal style is reminiscent of rock song’s from the early ’60s. The sound and tone here is also much brighter and upbeat than the other tracks; there’s nothing intense about it at all. While it’s not a bad song it has the tendency to get a little cheesy, but it’s forgivable. It just throws off the listener because it sounds nothing like the other tracks. This one would probably be better off as a b-side.

Overall, the album gets 8.5/10. It’s a great release that fixed the imperfections of their other LPs. Just about all the songs are great and intriguing with memorable riffs and gruesome lyrics. There are times when it’s intense and dark and other times where it’s dirty and sleazy. Whether it’s about sloppy sex or lusting after the wrong person, the band never fails on delivering a song to rock out to. It’s definitely one of the strongest releases in their catalog.

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