MAGNET’s #8 Album Of 2017: Queens Of The Stone Age’s “Villains”

Queens Of The Stone Age records are like strangers sidling up to you at a dive bar with a double whiskey neat and launching into a tale. Sometimes the night ends in a brawl (Songs For The Deaf) or the conversation wanders to a dark place (…Like Clockwork), but it’s never, ever a snooze. Villains heads straight to the jukebox, fires up some Prince, chats you up a bit, then dances with your girl when you’re in the bathroom. There’s a booty-shaking groove that snakes through this Mark Ronson-produced set, whether it’s the funky “Feet Don’t Fail Me Now,” the swing of “The Way You Used To Do” or the seductive strut of “The Evil Has Landed.” This guy’s a charmer, too—few frontmen turn a phrase like Josh Homme, who can slide from comic to confessional to sinister in a single breath (“I’m all dressed up, no one left to blow/Addiction to friction leaves you raw … All I require is a pupil, and I’m sure it’s yours.”). Even a warning about the perils of fast-lane living on “Un-Reborn Again” (“Frozen in amber eternally … drowning in the fountain of youth”) sounds like a party you want to crash. Suddenly, it’s last call, your date went home with that slick-talking damage case, and you’re not even mad about it. —Richard Rys