While it's good to have the band back, QOTSA's new single certainly isn't perfect.
As a long-time Queens of the Stone Age enjoyer, I’m confidently able to hold my hands up to a preference bias for the bands sexier music, with …Like Clockwork being one of the few albums I can firmly return to and listen to in full with the album feeling new each time. Yet, the latest single from QOTSA seem to show that Josh Homme and co. are dipping back into the crunchier, down and out dive-bar sounds of their earlier albums. The latest single, ‘Emotion Sickness’ seems to comfortably hold hands with sounds found on both the Villains and Era Vulgaris albums, calling back to their earlier work while still delivering an offering of something distinctly new. With Josh Homme’s personal life and marital troubles gaining some strong attention in entertainment media over the last few years, it’s been a pleasant surprise to hear the band make a confident comeback and seemingly nod their heads in acknowledgment at recent events within the lyrics of this track. The lyrics “You’re atrocious, ferocious! Change the price, out of my mind like a slice….Baby don’t care for me, had to let her go.” aren’t ground-breaking or particularly complex by any means, but can be viewed as a freeing way for Homme to address past controversies and move forward musically.
This track didn’t have an immediate marmite ‘love it or hate it’ effect for me, but had to be chewed over a few times to get into the groove of it. The song carries a strong 70’s rock and roll vibe that you can happily tap your feet to. It’s choppy and punchy throughout, but arguably some questionable mixing has led to the high pitched lead guitar overpowering the choruses vocals at times, creating noise that just misses being annoying. Again, this may be due to my ‘sexy’ bias, but while the song is enjoyable, anything other than the crooning chorus of “My baby don’t care for me” isn’t particularly memorable. However, its been fun to see the band continue to use their trademark surrealist collage theme in the music video for the track, long may it reign. Fans of earlier, classic QOTSA albums will appreciate this track more than most, but following a six year musical hiatus, it can’t be argued the release of new music has been excitably welcomed by newer fans bought in by the success of Villains.
With the call-back to earlier sounds that the Queens have made on this track, a potential upcoming new album will need its own No One Knows to partner up with to really make its mark. While unfortunate, I’ll be looking forward to seeing how much Homme’s recent experiences will influence the bands new music and I can’t wait to see what else the band have in store. QOTSA, It’s good to have you back.