Since it’s release on June 4th, I’ve barely listened to anything beyond the new Queens of the Stone Age album …Like Clockwork, and when I have listened to something else, it’s usually just older QOTSA. I can’t remember the last album I had this much anticipation for. It’s not that QOTSA are my favorite band, but rather that they provide an increasingly rare service in today’s musical landscape: the straight-ahead hard rock outfit.
A lot has been said about how The White Stripes (at least during their Elephant days—their most successful period, critically and commercially) are the heirs to Led Zeppelin, the designated forbears of all that is Hard Rock. And for good reason. Both bands mixed their sound with heavy doses of blues, left room to showoff some top-notch guitar work, and were fronted by singers with better voices than most others of their time. (Okay, maybe not better in the case of Jack White, but certainly more unique.) From a nuts and bolts point of view, both bands shared some DNA.
I’m not here to talk nuts and bolts.
Led Zeppelin used to love going out on stage and just blowing away their challengers, not with sheer volume or heaviness (the AC/DC method), but by just doing what they did, which was being a better rock band than everyone else. In doing so, they gave themselves the freedom to do whatever they wanted. Josh Homme and Queens of the Stone Age have always done what they wanted, but almost as a mock-up of what a rock band is supposed to be. Even the name of the band was a swipe at the machismo that oozes from most bands that play shirtless. (That machismo, oddly enough, traces it’s way back to Led Zeppelin and the legendary stories about their life on the road, regardless of the validity of those stories.) Homme writes hooks as big as the stadiums Led Zeppelin used to fill. Whether those hooks come from a bluesy Beelzebub or a peyote-fueled robot, it’s their ability to sound larger than life that ties them together.
“My God Is the Sun” may not be my favorite on the album (that distinction belongs to “The Vampyre of Time and Memory”), but it’s a great rocker and between the main lick, Homme’s overly proper enunciation (tough to do with his tongue spending so much time in his cheek, all of which somewhat overshadows a pretty killer voice), and a hint of goofy percussion to keep things from getting too serious, My God Is the Sun is a perfect example of the Queens doing what they do best.
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