Reviews

Queens of the Stone Age “In Times New Roman…” Album Review

In Times New Roman…

Queens of the Stone Age

  • Genre: Alternative
  • Date: 16 Jun, 2023
  • Content: explicit
  • Region: NGA
  • Track(s): 10
  • ℗ 2023 Queens of the Stone Age under exclusive license to Matador Records

“In Times New Roman…” is more reclusive than normal because it was entirely self-produced and had no notable guests. As the sole constant member of Queens of the Stone Age, Homme attempts to return the group to its bluesy primitivity by tearing down the chrome-plated dance-rock machinations of 2017’s Villains, which was produced by Mark Ronson.

It’s unlikely that “In Times New Roman..” will win over skeptics, but unconditional love may not be appropriate for a time that has left so many profound scars. This is up there with their darkest, knottiest material to date, and will be loved all the more for it. They’ve positioned their comeback as an emotional exorcism for Homme, but with enough fan service for the die-hards.

Album Cover Art

Queens Of The Stone Age &Quot;In Times New Roman...&Quot; Album Review, Yours Truly, Reviews, November 28, 2023

On this warped album cover, an animated character is rocking a jacket branded with the album title. But there is something spectacular about this cartoonish dude. He seems to be half man and half dog, and is being embraced and made welcome by a greenish, three-armed creature with long nails used to characterize creepy zombies.

Tracks and Features

The album’s opening track, “Obscenery,” features a subdued slapback guitar that quickly brings to mind the retro-futurism of 2007’s Era Vulgaris. Spacey synthesizers hover menacingly as the sputtering garage-rock song moves along in its trademark stop-start staccato. A gorgeous string arrangement in the post-chorus gives a hint that the Queens haven’t quite given up their love of studio extravagance. The band may have experimented with this sound in the past, but no one does it as well as they do.

The overwhelming sense of familiarity in tracks like the catchy, straightforward “Paper Machete” is countered by QOTSA’s stunning prowess as musicians and songwriters. However, it is not long before cracks form. After rehashing the jammy rock ‘n’ roll of “I Sat by the Ocean,” from their last album, on “Negative Space,” the band squanders the initial potential of “Time & Place” by running its swinging, twisted melody into the ground, dishing up immature lyricism in the process.

“Time & Place” is also one of the few unpolished diamonds in this new collection. The song’s allure comes from the way that Homme’s laconic singing and those delectable oriental themes alternate, gaining momentum layer by layer over the staccato stomp of the bassline. The song has an eerie mesmerizing quality to it.

We’re afraid we would have to classify “Made to Parade” as album fodder because it continues in the same vein but yet manages to be a little less spectacular and captivating. These guys could have done better. Later, “Carnavoyeur” drags around listlessly from one fleetingly exhilarating lead guitar part to the next, while “Sicily” begins with a gummy Michael Shuman bassline that feels disconnected before wasting what could have been the album’s most stirring refrain.

Thankfully, lead single “Emotion Sickness” is all heartbreak, sleazy swagger, and rolling R’s, with Homme comparing his emotions to both an illness and a cure. Elsewhere, the frantic “What the Peephole Say” makes the most of another angular bassline, layering spry guitar licks and hummable vocal harmonies over the track’s tumultuous rumbling. The track’s booming chorus even flirts with surf rock, with Dick Dale-style tremolo plucking interspersed throughout.

The album concludes with “Straight Jacket Fitting,” a nine-minute work with numerous movements. The song begins with swinging rhythms and harsh voices, but halfway through, the tone swings and contains an orchestral interlude that matches the album’s opening themes. Before the album concludes with a medieval-style instrumental conclusion, there is a protracted (almost humorous) gap.

Tracklist

NOTITLETIME
1Obscenery4:23
2Paper Machete3:22
3Negative Space3:53
4Time & Place4:26
5Made to Parade5:18
6Carnavoyeur3:56
7What the Peephole Say4:06
8Sicily4:41
9Emotion Sickness4:31
10Straight Jacket Fitting9:01

Album Theme

The play on words in the album’s title expresses the Queens’ approach and theme for their latest album, which combines musical elements of the past with the present. The rock group returns to its bluesy, raw sound on its angrier and heavier record in years as Joshua Homme faces his recent troubles.

Production Credits

Justin Smith & Queens of the Stone Age produced the album.

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