“Songs for the Deaf” is the 3rd album from the modern hard rock group, Queens of the Stone Age. For years now Josh Homme and the revolving door cast of musicians known as QOTSA has been producing music ranging from acid-washed hard rock, to slick and hard-hitting metal. On this particular effort however, the group is anchored by the musical mastermind Dave Grohl of the Foo Fighters, and, previously, Nirvana. Together, the twisted genius of Homme, thrash antics of bassist Nick Oliveri, and veteran drumming of Grohl combine to produce of the best rock albums of the 2000’s. Somewhat of a concept album, the ironically titled “Songs for the Deaf” features radio chatter in between many of the songs, taking the listener on a hard-rock fueled road trip through the American Southwest and Bible Belt.
1. “…Millionaire” - Imagine skydiving from 20, 000 feet and landing feet-first in a sound-scape of blazing guitars, pounding drums, and screaming vocals. Now listen to this song. It’s the same thing.
2. "No One Knows" - The super radio-friendly mega hit. The great thing about this song is that each time you listen to this song, you can focus on a different particular instrument or part of the song and really appreciate how skilled the band is. Bonus points to anyone who knows what the Spanish DJ is saying at the end!
3. "First It Giveth" - A dark and heavy track. From the line “First it giveth then taketh away”, it’s obvious this one’s about a romance turned bad. Still however one of the top songs on here and a great song to rock out to.
4. "A Song for the Dead" - Just from the first 40 or so seconds of this track you can tell Dave Grohl is an absolutely masterful drummer. The rough and grungy vocals from Mark Lanegan are enough to make you think he starts off every day with a bowl full of nails, sandpaper, and glass. This song will put you in a hard rock coma-like trance (also a good thing).
5. "The Sky Is Fallin'" - This one is much lighter…almost like you are having a pleasant yet disturbing dream in your aforementioned hard rock coma.
6. “Six Shooter” - Remember those thrash antics of bassist Nick Oliveri I told you about earlier? Well they are on full display here. With this song sounding like the crazed rantings of a psychotic madman that just got hold of a six shooter and forgot to take his meds. Easily the hardest rocking song on this CD, however watch out if you are sensitive to explicit language.
7. "Hangin' Tree" - I have listened to this song countless times and I am still not sure what to make of it. Seems like you hear something new every single time. Slightly foreboding and eerie, like that creepy house in your neighborhood at which people never seem to know what goes on, you know?
8. "Go with the Flow" - This song is practically begging to be played while you speed down the open highway with a full tank of gas and not a care in the world. Go ahead, try it. It will add years to your life.
9. "Gonna Leave You" - Not one of my favorite songs. Not that it’s bad, just not very memorable next to some really great songs on this CD.
10. "Do It Again" - Solid track. It rocks just hard enough and is complimented by Homme hitting some unexpected high notes. I particularly enjoy the radio chatter after this song, which perfectly sets up the next song.
11. “God Is in the Radio” - This is really an amazing song. One of the most twisted, whacked out, trippiest, guitar solo-iest, rock songs you will ever hear. Amazing guitar and drum work here.
12. "Another Love Song" - Very unique-sounding. It harkens back to the flower power of the 60’s while maintaining an air of modern chic. Oliveri showing his surprising vocal range on this song as well.
13. "A Song for the Deaf" - The title of track of the album definitely does not disappoint. This song quickly surpasses the level of creepiness of that creepy house and even that of the creepy drifter that asks you for drugs at the supermarket. If you are new to QOTSA, listen to this song to get a feel of what they are about. One of the best songs on the CD for sure.
14. "Mosquito Song" - The acoustic closer to this great album. It takes a few listens to sink in, but this is really a powerful song. The perfect way to close out the record too, as some horns and piano make a special guest appearance.
“Songs for the Deaf” is a rarity this day and age in the fact that it seamlessly merges thrash with melody, harmony with chaos, and all with a certain edge and creepiness that could only be captured by Queens of the Stone Age. This is a CD that can be listened to wire to wire as a cohesive unit, which is how it is best enjoyed., and is another great piece of work in the collection of Queens of the Stone Age.