Songs for the Deaf
Songs for the Deaf is the third studio album by American rock band Queens of the Stone Age, released on August 27, 2002 by Interscope Records. The album features Foo Fighters and former Nirvana member Dave Grohl on drums, and was also the last studio album to feature Nick Oliveri on bass. Songs for the Deaf features a large number of guest musicians, much akin to the band's other releases, and is loosely considered a concept album, taking the listener on a drive through the California desert from Los Angeles to Joshua Tree while tuning into radio stations from towns along the way such as Banning and Chino Hills.
|Songs for the Deaf|
|Studio album by|
|Released||August 27, 2002|
|Recorded||October 2001–June 2002|
|Queens of the Stone Age chronology|
Cover of U.S. vinyl release
|Singles from Songs for the Deaf|
Songs for the Deaf received critical acclaim upon its release, and earned the band their first gold certification in the United States. One million copies were sold in Europe, earning the band a platinum certification from the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry in 2008. Three singles were released from the album: "No One Knows", "Go with the Flow", and "First It Giveth".
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. 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". Grohl put Foo Fighters on temporary hiatus, delaying their upcoming album One by One to October 22, 2002 because of touring duties in support of the album. Grohl's first performance with the band occurred at March 7, 2002 at The Troubadour, Los Angeles, and his last performance was at the Fuji Rock Festival on July 28, 2002. He returned to Foo Fighters soon after, with Danzig drummer Joey Castillo eventually announced as his long-term replacement in August 2002.
Songs for the Deaf marks the last appearances on a Queens of the Stone Age record of former members Brendon McNichol (lap steel), Gene Trautmann (drums), and core member, bassist/vocalist Nick Oliveri, who was fired following the album's touring cycle. The album also included the first musical contribution to a Queens of the Stone Age album by multi-instrumentalists Natasha Shneider and Alain Johannes. Shneider and Johannes, alongside Songs for the Deaf touring recruits Castillo and Troy Van Leeuwen of Failure and A Perfect Circle 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 Oliveri. Valentine was 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." Valentine did sessions with the band during the initial recording period in October and November 2001, but they were unhappy with his work and later re-recorded the album with Chris Goss assisting in spring 2002.
Rounding out the core recording lineup of Homme, Oliveri, and Grohl, was singer/songwriter Mark Lanegan, formerly of Screaming Trees, a band that Homme had toured with previously. Lanegan joined the band as a full-time member in 2001 after having guested on the band's previous album, Rated R, and provided additional songwriting and lyrics to the group, in addition to lead vocals on several songs.
Release and marketingEdit
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.||”|
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.||”|
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."
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. 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. The main riff for "No One Knows" comes from another Desert Sessions track, "Cold Sore Superstars".
The cover art for the U.S. double LP version of the album is 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.
Both the CD and LP cover have a Parental Advisory seal on most copies, due to the word "fuck" appearing in the title track "A Song for the Deaf" and "Six Shooter", as well as for the violent lyrics of the latter track.
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.
|Los Angeles Times|||
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 peaked at number 17 on the Billboard 200 album chart.
Songs for the Deaf received critical acclaim and is often cited as one of the band's greatest albums to date. On Metacritic, which assigns a rating out of 100 from aggregated critic reviews, Songs for the Deaf is assigned a score of 89, indicating "universal acclaim", making the album the third highest-rated on the site from 2002. Josh Tyrangiel of Entertainment Weekly called it "the year's best hard-rock album", giving it an A. 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. Kludge ranked it at number six on their list of best albums of 2002. 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. Kerrang! rated the album at number 1 on its "Best albums of 2002" list. Music critic Steven Hyden called the album the greatest hard-rock record of the 21st century.
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. and platinum status in Canada. As of June 2007 the total amount of sold copies in the US is estimated at 1,186,000 according to Nielsen Soundscan.
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.
|Dagsavisen||Norway||The 21 Best Albums of the 21st Century||2005||16|
|VPRO||Netherlands||299 Nominations of the Best Album of All Time||2006||33|
|HARP||United States||50 Most Essential Albums since 2001"||2006||48|
|NME||United Kingdom||The 100 Greatest Albums of the Decade||2009||15|
|Uncut||United Kingdom||Uncut's Albums of the Decade||2009||28|
|Pitchfork||United States||The Top 200 Albums of the 2000s||2009||134|
|Decibel Magazine||United States||The 100 Greatest Metal Albums of the Decade||2009||7|
|Rock Hard||Germany||The 500 Greatest Rock & Metal Albums of All Time||2005||380|
All tracks written by Joshua Homme and Nick Oliveri, except where noted. Lead vocals by Joshua Homme except where noted.
|0.||"The Real Song for the Deaf"||1:33|
|1.||"You Think I Ain't Worth a Dollar, But I Feel Like a Millionaire"||Josh Homme, Mario Lalli||Nick Oliveri ||3:12|
|2.||"No One Knows"||Homme, Mark Lanegan||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"||3:07|
|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 manic laughter.)||Homme, Oliveri, Lanegan||Josh Homme and Mark Lanegan||6:42|
|14.||"Mosquito Song" (Hidden Track)||5:37|
|International Bonus Track|
|15.||"Everybody's Gonna Be Happy" (The Kinks cover)||2:35|
|US Vinyl Bonus Track|
|15.||"Bloody Hammer" (Roky Erickson cover)|
|UK Bonus Tracks|
|15.||"The Lost Art of Keeping a Secret" (Live at the Troubadour)||3:38|
|16.||"Everybody's Gonna Be Happy" (The Kinks cover)||2:35|
|Japan Bonus Track|
|17.||"Gonna Leave You" (Spanish version)|
|Limited-edition bonus DVD - North American Track Listing|
|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"|
|Limited-edition bonus DVD - International Track Listing|
|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.||"Ode to Clarissa (Live)"|
|Tour Edition - Bonus CD|
|1.||"No One Knows (Live)"||5:09|
|3.||"The Sky Is Falling (Live)"||5:47|
|4.||"Another Love Song (Live)"||2:54|
|5.||"Better Living Through Chemistry (Live)"||8:18|
- "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 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".
- On most digital distribution platforms, this track is included as part of the entire album. In the US, Spotify and the iTunes Store include it as a separate track. On the UK iTunes Store, it is included as part of "You Think I Ain't Worth a Dollar, But I Feel Like a Millionaire".
- 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".
- 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.
- The song "God Is In The Radio" contains a Backmask message by Josh Homme: "I've been dying to watch you. Look over your left shoulder in the apartment. I'm in Eric's room. You're inside my hands... This is your God."
- Unlike most edited versions, the edited version of Songs for the Deaf uses loud "bleeps" to censor lyrics, as if it were a live radio broadcast, as opposed to quietly muting the audio track. This sound is used to mask all instances of the words "fuck" and "kill". For the case of "Six Shooter", the lyrics are heard as "[BEEP] this road! And [BEEP] you too! I'll [BEEP]ing [BEEP] your best friend! What you [BEEP]ing going to do!", as opposed to hearing the words "fuck" and "kill".
The following people contributed to Songs for the Deaf:
Queens of the Stone AgeEdit
The songs on Songs for the Deaf are interluded by staged bits of radio chatter with guest DJs. In order of appearance:
|Canada (Music Canada)||Platinum||100,000^|
|New Zealand (RMNZ)||Gold||7,500^|
|United Kingdom (BPI)||Platinum||300,000^|
|United States (RIAA)||Gold||500,000^|
^shipments figures based on certification alone
This article contains a list of miscellaneous information. (March 2017)
- 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.
- 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.
- 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, 2003, with a second disc of five songs recorded live at the Ancienne Belgique in Brussels.
- The band's subsequent studio album, Lullabies to Paralyze, got its name from a line in "Mosquito 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 games Tony Hawk's Underground and IndyCar Series, as well as the films Project X and XXX. In addition the song appeared in the single-player trailer for Battlefield: Bad Company 2, the commercial for T-Mobile and the soundtrack to WWE Tough Enough 2.
- 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.
- "No One Knows" appeared in Guitar Hero as a cover version. The master version appeared in Guitar Hero: Smash Hits. It also appears as a playable track in Rock Band 3.
- "Go with the Flow" appears as a playable track in Rock Band.
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I also like that the title bridges this record and the last record in that it's a lyric from "Mosquito Song". (Homme)