Rated R by Queens Of The Stone Age is probably one of my favourite albums, but I’ve never been able to get into anything else they’ve done quite as much, including this, their debut. It’s started to grow on me as I’ve listened to it more over the last couple of days, but it’s still nowhere near as good as the two that follow it.
Queens Of The Stone Age has all the sounds you’d associate with later QOTSA records (warm distorted riffs, squawking flicks of guitar, a keen sense of melody), but they’d not all quite come together yet to form great songs as they would on Rated R and Songs For The Deaf.
The first three songs on this album could justifiably fit on either of the next two records, especially “If Only”, the album’s undoubted highlight. Unfortunately, the rest can’t quite live up to the standards set by these three, with annoying chugging skronkfests appearing more than once before the album’s out (the end of “Walkin’ On The Sidewalks”; the whole of “Hispanic Impressions”). Even songs that start promisingly, such as the Smashing Pumpkins/Beatles mongrel “You Can’t Quit Me Baby”, seem to run out of ideas and end in a squally haze of nothingness.
This isn’t a bad album by any stretch of the imagination, it just seems quite unfocused and is at times fairly forgettable. Its main crime though is that it’s just not as good as the ones that would come next.