Imogen Mellor is impressed by one of QOTSA’s most rhythmic and accessible singles to date.
In preparation for their upcoming record Villains, Queens of the Stone Age have released their first single, ‘The Way You Used To Do’. I won’t lie, I really like this song and upon hearing it the first time I grinned like an idiot. As a long time QOTSA, (and especially their frontman Joshua Homme) fan, I think I have an album to look forward to considering this single’s strength. Produced by the normally pop-orientated Mark Ronson, this single is catchy, rhythmic and surprisingly accessible to those that might not be familiar with their previous work. Ronson seems to really have put the guitar riffs and bass lines on a leash on this record. To the fans of their earliest records it could be considered more restrained or refined. This cuts their new sound to the bone, tears it apart and puts it back together in a new and exciting way, a way that we haven’t heard the Queens before.
Lyrically, QOTSA have always had lyrics that intrigue me, especially looking at previous songs and records like ‘I Appear Missing’ where Homme reflects on his close call where he almost died during an operation. Although ‘The Way You Used To Do’ isn’t as deep, the lyrics are fun, flirty, and just a little sleazy just as ‘Smooth Sailing’ was in 2013. I can’t help but feel like this song is reminiscent of a supergroup that Homme was part of along with Dave Grohl and John Paul Jones, called Them Crooked Vultures, which blew everyone away with their strong rhythmic guitar lines and catchy hooks, but again this isn’t nearly as heavy as that project was.
The upbeat tone is something that their last record …Like Clockwork didn’t really feature and looking at the band’s past, their most popular songs like ‘No One Knows’ and ‘Feel Good Hit of the Summer’ have been their more popular singles and seem closer in relation to this new release. Maybe this could be considered a downfall in some ways since this new track isn’t as heavy or hard hitting but I will wait till the album is released in August for my mind to made up.
As a side note, Queens of the Stone Age normally change their sound from album to album, accompanied by a change of look through their artwork and logo, but this time around they have continued to work closely with their collaborator and friend “Boneface” (who, by the way, we don’t actually know the true name of). This indicates to me that their sound could continue to be the cocky and self assured style they used in their last record, which to me isn’t a bad thing, considering … Like Clockwork is one of my all time favourite records. All in all this new single emits confidence in what is to come from this album, and I’m certainly excited to see what comes next from Queens of the Stone Age.
‘The Way You Used to Do’ is available to stream now. Villains will be released in 2017. Queens of the Stone Age play London’s 02 Arena on 21st November 2017.