Songs for the Deaf

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Songs for the Deaf
Studio album by Queens of the Stone Age
Released August 27, 2002
Recorded October–November 2001, March–June 2002 at The Site (San Rafael, California), Conway Recording Studios and Barefoot (Hollywood, California)
Genre Stoner rock, hard rock, alternative rock, alternative metal, neo-psychedelia
Length 63:36
Label Interscope
Producer Josh Homme, Adam Kasper, Eric Valentine
Queens of the Stone Age chronology
Rated R
(2000)
Songs for the Deaf
(2002)
Stone Age Complication
(2004)
Alternative cover
Cover of U.S. vinyl release
Singles from Songs for the Deaf
  1. "No One Knows"
    Released: November 26, 2002
  2. "Go with the Flow"
    Released: April 7, 2003
  3. "First It Giveth"
    Released: August 18, 2003

Songs for the Deaf is the third studio album by American rock band Queens of the Stone Age. Released on August 27, 2002, the album features Foo Fighters and former Nirvana member Dave Grohl as a guest drummer.[1] Like their other albums, Songs for the Deaf has a large number of guest musicians, a signature of the band's releases. The album garnered critical acclaim,[2] and the band earned its first gold record certification in the United States, after selling 986,000 copies. One million copies of the album were sold in Europe, earning the band a platinum certification from the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI) in 2008.[3][4]

Songs for the Deaf is loosely considered a concept album, taking the listener on a drive from Los Angeles to Joshua Tree while tuning into radio stations from towns along the way, such as Banning on the song "God Is in the Radio", and Chino Hills, California.

Overview and background[edit]

Contributors[edit]

Songs for the Deaf was the first Queens of the Stone Age album that featured Dave Grohl of Nirvana and Foo Fighters on drums, who also toured with the band. He replaced the previous drummer, Gene Trautmann, who started working on other projects. Grohl had been a keen admirer of Queens of the Stone Age since the band opened for Foo Fighters on tour and originally wanted to appear on Rated R.[1] He joined Queens of the Stone Age in October 2001 when he received a phone call from Josh Homme with whom he had been friends since 1992, while Homme was the guitarist for Kyuss. Grohl admitted that he had not drummed for a long time and added that fronting a band was "tiring".[5] Grohl put Foo Fighters on temporary hiatus,[6][7] delaying their upcoming album One by One to October 22, 2002[8] because of touring duties with Queens of the Stone Age in support of the album. Grohl's first performance with the band occurred at March 7, 2002 in The Troubadour, Los Angeles, and his last performance was at the Fuji Rock Festival on July 28, 2002. He returned to the Foo Fighters soon after, initially being replaced by former Blinker the Star and Failure drummer Kellii Scott before Danzig drummer Joey Castillo was eventually announced as his long-term replacement in August 2002.[9][10]

Songs for the Deaf marks the last appearances on a Queens of the Stone Age record of former members Brendon McNichol (lap steel), and Gene Trautmann (drums). The album also included the first musical contribution to a Queens of the Stone Age album by multi-instrumentalists Natasha Shneider and Alain Johannes. Jeordie White (of Marilyn Manson fame) reportedly auditioned for the band in 2002 but lost out to Troy Van Leeuwen,[11] who joined the band as a touring member in support of Songs for the Deaf. White did appear on the album, however, making a brief cameo appearance as a radio DJ. Shneider, Johannes, and Van Leeuwen would subsequently become full-time Queens of the Stone Age members and contribute to the follow-up album Lullabies to Paralyze, released in 2005.

Another change in personnel came with the arrival of producer Eric Valentine, who had previously worked on a pair of Dwarves albums with Nick Oliveri.[12] Valentine was actually a requirement by Interscope and did not do his job according to Homme, who commented that "[Valentine] just recorded it actually, it says production, he was only there to record the beginning of it."[13] Valentine did sessions with the band during the initial recording period in October and November 2001, but were unhappy with his work and later re-recorded the album in spring 2002.

The opening of the album's lead single.

The chorus of the second single taken from Songs for the Deaf.

The opening of the third single from Songs for the Deaf.

Problems playing these files? See media help.

Rounding out the lineup was singer/songwriter Mark Lanegan, formerly of Screaming Trees, a band that Homme had toured with previously.

Production and release[edit]

In September 2002, Josh Homme explained the band's goals with the release of the album:

I've been thinking of this album since the first album, not necessarily the radio thing, but to me that isn't the full concept, the full concept is the diversity of it all, I think we're supposed to be pushing buttons over the three records. I've always looked at our first three records as a set: the first one was to distance ourselves from Kyuss, the second album fanned out the music into different areas and this one takes that out even a little further, I think.[14]

In the same month, Nick Oliveri explained the band's aims in an interview with retail company HMV:

We're still doin' the same thing we always did, which is play music that we wanna hear but we can't buy it in the stores so we have to make it. We're not trying to cater to anybody — I wouldn't know how to do that because I've never sold records, you know what I mean? 'Let's write a single!' I don't know what that is — I've never had one.[15]

Between them, Homme and Oliveri had different opinions on the usage of fake radio excerpts between tracks on the album, the former believing it gave the album "fluidity". According to Oliveri, they are a jibe at "how a lot of stations play the same thing over and over. We don't get played on the radio, so I figure we should talk shit about them."[16]

Several songs that appeared on the album were re-worked forms of tracks previously recorded and released in the Desert Sessions, a side project of Josh Homme with various guest collaborators. "You Think I Ain't Worth a Dollar, But I Feel Like a Millionaire" was the opening track of Volume 5: Poetry for the Masses (Sea Shed Shit Head by the She Sore), with vocals originally performed by Mario Lalli instead of Oliveri. "Hangin' Tree" first appeared on Volume 7: Gypsy Marches.[17] Also, both "A Song for the Deaf" and "Go with the Flow" were previously performed as early as 2001 with the former having very different lyrics and vocals completely by Mark Lanegan.[18]

The album was initially planned for release on August 13, 2002,[19] but was eventually postponed for two weeks.[20]

Release and reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
Source Rating
Metacritic 89/100[21]
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 5/5 stars[22]
Entertainment Weekly A[23]
Stylus Magazine B+[24]
Pitchfork Media 7.9/10[25]
Q 4/5 stars[26]
Mojo 4/5 stars[27]
Blender 4/5 stars[28]
The Guardian 4/5 stars[29]
Uncut 5/5 stars[30]
NME 9/10 stars[31]
Drowned in Sound 9/10 stars[32]
Nick Oliveri performing with Queens at V2003 in support of Songs for the Deaf

Songs for the Deaf was Queens of the Stone Age's breakout album and garnered the band international recognition. Upon its worldwide release in late August 2002, the album would peak at the top twenty on most of the charts it appeared on, reaching the top ten in Australia, Belgium, Norway and the UK, the top twenty Finland, Italy, Sweden and the US (number 17 on the Billboard 200 album chart), as well as the top thirty in Denmark, France and Ireland.

Like its predecessor, Songs for the Deaf received very positive reviews, aggregated as a total score of 89 out of 100 ("universal acclaim") on Metacritic,[2] making the album the third highest rated on the site from 2002.[33] Entertainment Weekly called it "the year's best hard-rock album", giving it an A.[34] Splendid said "the bottom line is that QOTSA turns in another genre-demolishing, hard-as-titanium album in Songs for the Deaf. This is not your father's metal. It's better." Mojo listed the album as the year's third best, while Playlouder and Spin placed it at fourth. NME placed the album as the sixth best, with the three singles each making the magazine's "Tracks of the Year" list over the course of 2002/2003.[35] Kerrang! rated the album at number 1 on its "Best albums of 2002" list.[36] Music critic Steven Hyden called the album the greatest hard-rock record of the 21st century.[37]

The album met with great success earning the band's first gold certification in the US on January 27, 2003, shifting over 500,000 copies, as well as platinum certification in the UK on September 20, 2002, with sales exceeding 100,000 of units sold.[38] and platinum status in Canada.[39] As of June 2007 the total amount of sold copies in the US is estimated at 1,186,000 according to Nielsen Soundscan.[3]

The album received two Best Hard Rock Performance Grammy nominations for singles "No One Knows" (2002),[40] and "Go with the Flow" (2003).[41]

To celebrate the twentieth anniversary of its "Hottest 100" poll, Australian radio station Triple J ran a "Hottest 100 of the last 20 years" poll in June 2013. Songs that were released between 1994 and 2013 were eligible for the poll and "No One Knows" was voted into eleventh position.[42][43]

Accolades[edit]

The information regarding accolades attributed to Songs for the Deaf is adapted from AcclaimedMusic.net.[44]

Publication Country Accolade Year Rank
Dagsavisen Norway The 21 Best Albums of the 21st Century[45] 2005 16
VPRO Netherlands 299 Nominations of the Best Album of All Time[46] 2006 33
HARP United States 50 Most Essential Albums since 2001"[47] 2006 48
NME United Kingdom The 100 Greatest Albums of the Decade[48] 2009 15
Uncut United Kingdom Uncut's Albums of the Decade[49] 2009 28
Pitchfork Media United States The Top 200 Albums of the 2000s[50] 2009 134
Decibel Magazine United States The 100 Greatest Metal Albums of the Decade[51] 2009 7
Rock Hard Germany The 500 Greatest Rock & Metal Albums of All Time[52] 2005 380

Artwork[edit]

The cover art for the U.S. double LP version of the album is quite different from the CD version, featuring a red Q (with a sperm cell as the line in the Q and an egg cell as the circle) on a black background with no other text. It was released on red vinyl. The UK vinyl version cover is the same as the CD cover. The dashboard/interior with superimposed logos is that of a Fiat 124 Sport Spider, a 1960s–1980s mass market Italian sports car. The person on the album disc is musician Dave Catching, who performs on the album.[53]

There were also three different album covers that were made for the CD version of Songs for the Deaf. All of the interior artwork for each of the three versions is the same, but there were covers printed in red, magenta, and orange. The most common copy of the album sleeve is the red cover.

Track listing[edit]

Josh Homme performing with Queens at V2003 in support of Songs for the Deaf

All tracks written by Joshua Homme and Nick Oliveri, except where noted. Lead vocals by Joshua Homme except where noted.

No. Title Writer(s) Lead vocals Length
0. "The Real Song for the Deaf"       1:33
1. "You Think I Ain't Worth a Dollar, But I Feel Like a Millionaire"   Homme, Mario Lalli Nick Oliveri 3:12
2. "No One Knows"   Homme, Mark Lanegan Josh Homme 4:38
3. "First It Giveth"       3:18
4. "A Song for the Dead"   Homme, Lanegan Mark Lanegan 5:52
5. "The Sky Is Fallin'"       6:15
6. "Six Shooter"     Nick Oliveri 1:19
7. "Hangin' Tree"   Homme, Alain Johannes Mark Lanegan 3:06
8. "Go with the Flow"       3:09
9. "Gonna Leave You"     Nick Oliveri 2:50
10. "Do It Again"       4:04
11. "God Is in the Radio"     Mark Lanegan 6:04
12. "Another Love Song"     Nick Oliveri 3:16
13. "A Song for the Deaf" (Contains a hidden outtake version of "Feel Good Hit of the Summer" with all lyrics replaced with laughter.) Homme, Oliveri, Lanegan Josh Homme and Mark Lanegan 6:42
14. "Mosquito Song"       5:37
Total length:
1:03:36

Limited-edition bonus DVD track listing[edit]

  1. "Monsters in the Parasol" (Live at The Troubadour)
  2. "No One Knows (Live at The Troubadour)
  3. "Lost Art of Keeping a Secret" (Live at The Troubadour)
  4. "Quick and to The Pointless" (Live at Vintage Vinyl)
  5. "Queens of the Fucking Stone Age"

The Real Song for the Deaf[edit]

"The Real Song for the Deaf", which is essentially Track 0, is located in the pregap of Track 1 as a hidden track. The hidden track can be found by rewinding the first track to roughly -1:33. A voice comes on and says: "Huh? What?" and a pattern of low-frequency bass plays and modulates for the rest of the song.

This track, as well as being omitted from some pressings of the album (see track listing), is difficult to listen to on all but conventional CD players. Most software CD players do not allow rewinding of this nature, and most MP3 "ripping" software will not include the data.

The iTunes Store includes this track as part of the entire album, with the US store including it as a separate track, and the UK store and Spotify including it as part of "You Think I Ain't Worth a Dollar, But I Feel Like a Millionaire".

The track was not hidden on the album's cassette tape release, playing before "You Think I Ain't Worth a Dollar, But I Feel Like a Millionaire".

Notes[edit]

  • The intro to track #4, "A Song for the Dead", is an homage to Black Flag; the drum rhythm that takes off after the intro solo is lifted directly from the Black Flag song "Slip It In."[54]
  • Following a period of silence after the end of track #13, "A Song for the Deaf" a short hidden outtake of "Feel Good Hit of the Summer", from the band's previous album Rated R is played with all vocals replaced with deranged laughter. The song was similarly reprised on Rated R following the track "In the Fade" on that album.
  • A second version of "Gonna Leave You" dubbed "Te Voy a Dejar" was recorded with Nick Oliveri singing in Spanish, and is available as a B-side on the UK version of the "No One Knows" CD single.[55]
  • A cover of Roky Erickson's "Bloody Hammer" appears on the U.S. double LP released by Ipecac Recordings.
  • Initial pressings of the album came with a bonus DVD, which featured behind the scenes footage of the group recording album, live performances (many of which were taken from the Troubador live show), and interview footage.[56]
  • The UK and Japanese version of the limited edition album includes the cover "Everybody's Gonna Be Happy" (2:35, Davies), originally written and performed by The Kinks, and a live version of "The Lost Art of Keeping a Secret" recorded at The Troubadour in Los Angeles on March 7, 2002.
  • A limited tour edition of the album was released on June 2, 2007, with a second disc of five songs recorded live at the Ancienne Belgique in Brussels.[57]
  • The band's subsequent studio album, Lullabies to Paralyze, got its name from a line in "Mosquito Song".[58]
  • The song "You Think I Ain't Worth a Dollar But I Feel Like a Millionaire", often shortened to "Millionaire", has been featured in the video game Tony Hawk's Underground, the single-player trailer for Battlefield: Bad Company 2, the movie Project X, The film XXX (pronounced "Triple X"), and commercials for T-Mobile.
  • The songs "You Think I Ain't Worth a Dollar But I Feel Like a Millionaire" and "Song For The Dead" were featured in the intro of the video game Jak X.
  • The song "No One Knows" was featured in Guitar Hero Smash Hits and Guitar Hero; the appearance in the latter is a cover version. It also appears in Rock Band 3.
  • The song God Is In The Radio contains a Backmask message by Josh Homme: "I've been dying to watch you. Look over you left shoulder in the apartment. I'm in Eric's room. You're inside my hands... This is your God."

Personnel[edit]

The following people contributed to Songs for the Deaf:[53]

Chart positions[edit]

Certifications[edit]

Country Provider Certification
Australia ARIA Platinum[70]
Canada Music Canada Platinum[71]
Norway IFPI NOR Platinum[72]
United Kingdom BPI Platinum[73]
United States RIAA Gold[74]

References[edit]

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  3. ^ a b Jonathan Cohen (2007-06-02). "Queens of the Stone Age enter new "Era"". Billboard. Retrieved 2008-07-10. 
  4. ^ "IFPI Platinum Europe Awards - Q2 2008". IFPI. July 2008. Retrieved July 2008. 
  5. ^ Jon Wiederhorn (2002-06-04). "Queens of the Stone Age Flex Their Star Power". MTV. Retrieved 2007-06-19. 
  6. ^ Joe D'Angelo (2002-04-18). "Grohl Puts Foos On Hold, Returns To Drumkit With Queens". MTV. Retrieved 2007-06-19. 
  7. ^ Matt Ashare (2002-04-19). "Grohl Drums For Queens of the Stone Age, Foos Take A Break". Yahoo. Retrieved 2007-06-19. 
  8. ^ Brett Anderson (2002-07-10). "Foo Fighters' New Release Set For October 22". Yahoo. Retrieved 2007-06-19. 
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  13. ^ Nick Anderson (2002-8). "Interview with Nick Anderson". thefade.net. Retrieved 2007-06-21. 
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  15. ^ Barry Walsh (August 2002). "HMV: Killer Queens". thefade.net. Retrieved 2007-06-20. 
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  24. ^ http://www.stylusmagazine.com/reviews/queens-of-the-stone-age/songs-for-the-deaf.htm
  25. ^ Pitchfork Media Review
  26. ^ Q (9/02, p. 104) - 4 stars out of 5 - "... This album mixes melancholy and might to a rare degree..."
  27. ^ All the elements which made its predecessor so great are here, but in excelsis, and occasionally excess. [Sep 2002, p.95]
  28. ^ While cliches abound... this huge music is delivered with panache. [#9, p.154]
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  30. ^ [A] breathtaking, virtually flawless album. [Sep 2002, p.104]
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  32. ^ http://drownedinsound.com/releases/3044/reviews/4671-
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  43. ^ Jody Macgregor (8 June 2013). "Hottest 100 of the last 20 years, day one". FasterLouder. FasterLouder Pty Ltd. Retrieved 10 June 2013. 
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  45. ^ "Dagsavisen: The 21 Best Albums of the 21st Century". Dagsavisen. Retrieved 2008-07-22. 
  46. ^ "299 Nominations of the Best Album of All Time (2006)". VPRO. Retrieved 2008-07-22. 
  47. ^ "50 Most Essential Albums since 2001". HARP. Archived from the original on 2008-03-23. Retrieved 2008-07-22. 
  48. ^ "The 100 Greatest Albums of the Decade". NME.com. Retrieved 2009-12-01. 
  49. ^ "Uncut's Albums of the Decade". Uncut.co.uk. Retrieved 2010-04-04. 
  50. ^ Pitchfork staff (September 28, 2009). "The Top 200 Albums of the 2000s: 200-151". Pitchfork Media. Retrieved October 1, 2009. 
  51. ^ Acclaimed Music Forum
  52. ^ [...], Rock Hard (Hrsg.). [Red.: Michael Rensen. Mitarb.: Götz Kühnemund] (2005). Best of Rock & Metal die 500 stärksten Scheiben aller Zeiten. Königswinter: Heel. p. 57. ISBN 3-89880-517-4. 
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  54. ^ Foo Archive article
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  56. ^ "For The Record: Quick News On Jay-Z, Janet Jackson, Cam'ron, Brandy, QOTSA, Ludacris, Björk, Pavement & More". MTV.com. 2002-08-01. Retrieved 2007-06-19. 
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External links[edit]