Thursday, 15 June 2017

Single Review | Queens of the Stone Age | 'The Way You Used to Do'

(source: DIY Magazine)

February 27, 2014 marked the last time Queens of the Stone Age released their last single 'Smooth Sailing'; their 5th promotional single from their sixth record, ...Like Clockwork. It's been three years since the single was released, three years with no QOTSA music. 

Today (June 15), that all changes. 

'The Way You Used to Do' is the first single of Queens' seventh record, Villains. Like most rock bands these days, these single releases drop way too quickly and are catching me by immense surprise. I was totally unprepared for a single to drop that quickly. We were treated to a fantastic video of the band being polygraphed about the new record by Liam Lynch, but that still did not prepare me for single today. 

The sultry tones of that significant, unique QOTSA sound ruptured through my speakers, giving an instant battle cry for QOTSA fans. Subdued drums, bass-heavy tones and a repetitive riff don the track, with Josh Homme serenading our ears with his distinctive vocal range. King Badass has returned, backed by his gun-slingers Troy Van Leeuwen, Michael Shurman, Dean Fertita and John Theordore amplifying the sound. The end of the track also gives a slight preview of 'Domesticated Animals' as it begins to fade in. 

While the track is a staple of the QOTSA style, I did expect it to go heavy at some point (like the chorus) ... but it doesn't. Now, this is common occurrence within the QOTSA canon -- which I adore -- but it is strange to choose this as the first single. Which sounds stupid to say really, as I haven't heard the eight other tracks on the album yet, so I have nothing to compare it to. However, the lack of heaviness is compensated by the varying stops, starts and volume shifts that give 'The Way You Used to Do' an air of flair that Homme hints at in a statement of the new record in Rolling Stone

"Homme said the most important aspect of Villains was 'redefining our sound, asking and answering the question, 'What do we sound like now?' If you can't make a great first record, you should stop -- but if you make a great record but keep making records and your sound doesn't evolve, you become a parody of that original sound.' 
"Homme also noted the album's title isn't a political statement, but rather 'a word that looks fantastic' and 'a comment on three versions of every scenario: Yours, mine and what actually happened. Everyone needs someone or something to rail against -- their villain -- same as it ever was. You can't control that. The only thing you can really control is when you let go.'"

Produced by Mark Ronson, co-produced by Mark Rankin and mixed by Alan Moulder, Villains is set for release on August 25. The single drop also accompanied an announcement of a world tour, which includes two dates in the UK: Manchester Arena on 19th November and O2 Arena on the 21st. 


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