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Every Queens of the Stone Age Album Ranked

Queens of the Stone Age’s fluid lineup has always revolved around the gravity of frontman Josh Homme, with members constantly being flung from the orbit of the band only to return for a song (or album) a decade down the line. But while Homme’s list of co-conspirators is as long as the pharmaceutical agenda on “Feel Good Hit of the Summer,” his position as the band’s north star has kept the sound moving ever-forward—even if they took a few detours along the way.

Honorable Mention: The Desert Sessions Volume 9 & 10 (2003)

We’d be here all day if we cataloged all the side projects, but the Desert Sessions serves as the underground laboratory where Homme and his collaborators experiment with the sounds that would come to define the band’s later catalog (Era Vulgaris standout “Make it Wit Chu” would first appear here). But the real draw on this album is PJ Harvey, who is simply spectacular wailing over a droning acoustic riff that feels like it’s frantically trying to anchor her enormous voice to the planet in “There Will Never Be a Better Time.”

Play it Again: “Crawl Home”
Skip It: “Shepards Pie”

7. Villains (2017)

Josh Homme always expressed his desire to make funky synth dance tunes, and he finally made good on that threat with the Mark Ronson-produced “Villains.” The road from Kyuss to Villains would have once seemed unfathomable, but it felt inevitable the longer you were along for the ride. The album is undeniably fun—“Feet Don’t Fail Me Now” is a fitting soundtrack for you to get coked up and rip your pants trying to do the splits during an ironic disco night at a roller rink—but you probably won’t want to revisit the memory (or this album) too often.

Play it Again: “The Evil Has Landed”
Skip it: “Domesticated Animals”

6. Era Vulgaris (2007)

One of the band’s most polarizing entries, this offering is dark, unfocused, and decidedly melancholy. The album’s biggest sin is its uneven song selection, where its sky-highs and cratering-lows make it feel more like a Desert Sessions album than a fully-baked offering. This is highlighted by the bizarre choice to end the album on low-point ‘Run, Pig, Run’ when the previous song ‘River in the Road’ capped it off perfectly. But on the other hand, the lyric “counter-proposal: I go home and jerk off” is an all-timer.

Play it Again: “Make it Wit Chu”
Skip it: “Run Pig Run”

5. Lullabies to Paralyze (2005)

The band’s first departure of many, what once was the black sheep of their catalog now feels like a harbinger of things to come. “Lullabies to Paralyze” sets the tone for the latter half of the band’s catalog, where the band flirts with pop-friendlier hits in “Little Sister” and droning journeys in “The Blood is Love.” Also is it just me or does the little girl on the cover look like Josh Homme in a black wig?

Play it Again: “In My Head,” “The Blood is Love”
Skip it: “Skin on Skin”


4. Self-Titled (1998)

With drumsticks counting down like a light tree at a drag race, Queens of the Stone Age’s self-titled debut gets off the start line to a blistering start with “Regular John” and refuses to let up despite hitting a few speed bumps along the way. (Come on, you had to know the car metaphors were coming eventually.)

Play it Again: “If Only”; “In The Bronze” (Bonus Track)
Skip it: “Hispanic Impressions”



3. …Like Clockwork (2013)

While Villains felt like a midlife crisis, “…Like Clockwork” felt like a man assembling his musical Avengers to help him reconcile his own mortality after a near-death experience. Joining Homme as he processed his trauma for our enjoyment was Trent Reznor, Mark Lanegan, the return of Dave Grohl and Nick Oliveri, and oh yeah, Elton Fucking John. If you’re a sad grown-up with sad grown-up problems, this album is going to rock the Zoloft off your fucking nightstand. This is adult drug music baby, strap in and feel something, bitch.

Play it Again: “I Appear Missing”
Skip it: “Fairweather Friends”

2. Rated R (2000)

While its self-titled album made you feel like the band’s post-Kyuss era would be a success, “Rated R’ made you feel like the sky was the limit for Queens of the Stone Age. There’s really only seven words you need to understand this album: Nicotine, Valium, Vicodine, Marijuana, Ecstasy, Alcohol, and of course—C-C-C-C-C-Cocaine.

Play it Again: “The Lost Art of Keeping a Secret”
Skip it: “Monsters in the Parasol”



1. Songs for the Deaf (2002)

Sometimes it’s best not to overthink things—”Songs for the Deaf” just feels right at number one. For everyone that grew up in a dead end town where your only salvation lied in a shitty car with a working radio, this was the perfect album to accompany you as you tried to get you as far away from home that $5 in gas would allow—until you exploded your speakers when the volume kicked up in ‘You Think I Ain’t Worth a Dollar, But I Feel Like a Millionaire.’

Play it Again: “Go With the Flow,” “Song for the Deaf,” Dave Grohl’s violent drumming
Skip it: “Another Love Song”