Here’s Everything We Know About Queens of the Stone Age’s New Album Villains
during Splendour in the Grass 2017 on July 22, 2017 in Byron Bay, Australia.
Queens of the Stone Age‘s new album Villains isout August 25. Produced with Mark Ronson, the follow-up to 2013’s …Like Clockwork promises to show off a lighter, more glam side of these long-running rock ‘n’ roll loyalists—but don’t think they’ve gone soft just yet. Here’s your pre-release cheat sheet:
A long, vague lead-up
After months of dropping hints in interviews, Queens began teasing Villains in earnest this June with a series of short teaser video clips. These appeared on the band’s website via an animated television set designed by artist Boneface, who also created the striking cover art.
Ronson is known for “Uptown Funk,” his mega-hit with Bruno Mars, and as a producer for pop stars like Amy Winehouse, Christina Aguilera, Lady Gaga, and Adele. He’s got alt-rock experience—he worked on Black Lips’ Arabia Mountain and Kaiser Chiefs’ Off With Their Heads—but he’s not the first name one might expect to find alongside a harder-edged band like Queens.
“I felt that the immediate downside would be people saying, ‘He ruined the band’ without even hearing anything, you know?” frontman Josh Homme told the Toronto Star. The unlikely pairing, Homme said, was an attempt to broaden and advance the sound: “[Ronson]’s such a music-phile, and he sort of understands what the recipe was in making all of these records that are his favorite records and it’s a wide, wide breadth of music that he really loves. And he’s so beat-centric.” The final result, according to the band, is a more upbeat, danceable Queens album, because…
Josh Homme loves to dance
He said so in this comedy sketch about a lie-detector that also served as Villains‘ announcement video.
And he did so in the video for “The Way You Used to Do”
Director Jonas Åkerlund filmed a dapper Homme as he pranced around a palace filled with goth-y extras and sinister ballerinas. It’s pretty entertaining, but for now, at least, the full video is only available to Apple Music subscribers.
Villains was inspired in part by Iggy Pop
In 2015, Iggy Pop and members of Queens teamed up for Post-Pop Depression, and it seems they haven’t quite shaken him. “That album title, Post-Pop Depression, was a real thing. We really didn’t want to do anything for months,” guitarist Troy Van Leeuwen told Rolling Stone, discussing about the time after their collaborative tour. “Iggy is the single greatest example of a frontman that you could have for rock ‘n’ roll,” Homme raved. The glam-rock influence persisted into the creation of Villains, with both Van Leeuwen and Homme citing Pop, Berlin-era Bowie, and T. Rex as influences.
And by a determination to seize the present
While Homme wasn’t present during the 2015 Paris terror attack that targeted his other band, Eagles of Death Metal, the event still looms large. “It reinforced that you shouldn’t wait to do something or you’ll fucking regret it,” he told Rolling Stone. “Move now. If you have a beef with someone, squash it. If you want to do something, do it. … The one line that is sewn through the record is the idea of ‘now.’ Now is all you’ll ever get, and there’s no reason for you to wait. If you wait to do something, you’re probably making a mistake.”
A third of the album leaked on vinyl
So far, Queens have shared just two out of nine new Villains songs: “The Way You Used to Do” and “The Evil Has Landed.” Last week, however, a manufacturing error caused three additional new songs to be accidentally released on the B-side of certain advance vinyl copies of Reservoir, the debut album from Australian songwriter Gordi. Word on the ‘net is that there’s a full-length album leak floating around, too.