Queens of the Stone Age

The only thing wrong with last year’s film adaptation of Lord of the Rings was the mellow-ass New Age soundtrack. Tolkien disciples Led Zeppelin would’ve been the best choice to score the movie, but Plant and company are notoriously hard to license for film projects. Perhaps it’s not too late for someone to slip a copy of Queens of the Stone Age’s Songs for the Deaf to the sequel’s producers. Not only does the band swim in a mire of prehistoric heaviness and drug-addled mysticism, but it also violently and bizarrely updates that sound for a generation of headphone-wearing rockers.

It all fits so well. While drummer Dave Grohl sets a galloping punk-rock pace, mercenaries could launch arrows into the good guys’ backs, then grab friendly elves by the ankles and bash their heads into walls. Its tribal, repetitive drum patterns and Mark Lanegan’s grim, chanted vocals could serenade a god emerging from its sleep, and the massive guitar-based tunes would be great for the parts where said god drops the hammer on the good guys, kills their armies and splits the world in half. (OK, so the plot for the sequel would have to stray a bit from the book.)

The album could even score scenes that aren’t complete carnage. During its upbeat yet whacked-out tracks, rogue warriors could drink hooch out of their enemies’ skulls. Elves could mourn their dead homeys to the band’s psychedelic pop numbers.

After several more songs/scenes of undead warriors tearing apart Middle Earth comes “Mosquito Song,” the finest power-folk ballad a hard-rock band has produced since the Led ones forgot to title their fourth album. Josh Homme’s gentle crooning tops a triumphant crescendo of strings that suggests all is not lost for the heroes. And even if the Queens don’t get a chance to score an epic good-versus-evil saga, at least they’ve struck a blow for originality in the battle against rock mediocrity.

Categories: Music