Lullabies to Paralyze

Lullabies to Paralyze

This Lullaby
Everybody Knows That You Are Insane
Tangled Up in Plaid
Burn the Witch
In My Head
Little Sister
I Never Came
Someone’s in the Wolf
The Blood is Love
Skin on Skin
Broken Box
You Got a Killer Scene There, Man…
Long Slow Goodbye

Band Members:

  • Josh Homme – Vocals/Guitar/Bass/Piano/Drums
  • Troy Van Leeuwen – Guitar/Bass/Lap Steel/Piano/Keyboards
  • Joey Castillo – Drums/Piano
  • Alain Johannes – Bass/Guitar

Other Personnel/Musicians:

  • Mark Lanegan – Lead vocals on “This Lullaby” and vocals on “Burn the Witch” and “You Got a Killer Scene There Man…”. He also contributed lyrics to or co-wrote “Medication”, “Tangled Up in Plaid”, and “Long Slow Goodbye”
  • Chris Goss – Vocals on “You Got a Killer Scene There Man…”
  • Billy Gibbons – Vocals and Guitar on “Burn The Witch”
  • Dave Catching
  • Jack Black – Handclaps and Stomps for “Burn the Witch”
  • Jesse Hughes – Flute on “Someone’s in the Wolf”
  • Shirley Manson – Vocals on “You Got a Killer Scene There, Man…”
  • Brody Dalle – Vocals on “You Got a Killer Scene There Man…”
  • Josh Freese – Co-wrote “In My Head”

Review & Other Info:

Lullabies to Paralyze is the fourth QOTSA full-length record. The recording process took place at Sound City Studios, Van Nuys, CA between August and November 2004.

This time the line-up was more consistent, which probably caused in a smaller group of guests. The core line-up was the remaining members of the last tour: Joshua, Troy, Joey and the sometimes singer Mark. After the firing of Nick, the bass duties were shared between Josh, Troy and Alain, who later joined as the definitive bass player on tour.

Again, the record had a concept involving it; a fairy tale theme inspired on the Brothers Grimm that, later, Joshua said that he used to read their stories a lot, and what made him came up with this idea was the fact that all the tales were dark fables trying to scare children by showing them what not to do. The music itself had nothing to do with this fairy tale concept, except for some lyrics on Someone’s in the Wolf, Burn the Witch and the art concept, which is noticeable on the booklet as well: a kind of fairy tale book with drawings and sentences beginning with a big Celtic letter. The sheep face used on some promo singles, masks and also in the album, is another considerable mention of the fairy-tale connection.

This Lullaby is a slow only-acoustic guitar ballad sung by Mark. It is the only track in the record that Lanegan does the lead vocals and it’s also the shortest track. Medication is a quick and aggressive song guided by raw guitars and dirty vocals which shows a different side of the record just after the soft opener. Everybody Knows That You’re Insane begins with a tense lead guitar crescendo that continues during the verse and blows into the distorted chorus. After that, the second verse progression gets different than the first melodic one; the light guitars are changed to riff-oriented parts and heavier drums. This song was and wasn’t a single at the same time, a promo was released and a ‘homemade’ video of a nude Japanese guy dancing was shot, none of them got the media attention (maybe the band wanted that), although, the video was broadcasted a few times on TV.

Tangled Up in Plaid is a stunning song that develops a wall of dark textures and different segments all over it; like the piano that keeps hitting the first verse and the lead lap steel guitar on the second verse. In the chorus, the trippy vocals and instrumentals gives place to a hard riffage and loud vocals. It is co-written by Mark Lanegan. It is also mentionable that Plaid was one of the first teasers called ‘appetizers’ that the band put on the website before Lullabies release. Burn the Witch was the third single (released a bit late, on January 2006). This song is a marching bluesy track featuring Mark Lanegan on vocals and Billy F. Gibbons (from ZZ Top) doing lead guitar, ‘beard-harmonics’ and vocals. The melodies are consisted in a vocal duel between the soft vocals of Joshua and the deep voices of Lanegan and Gibbons; Joshua claims that Witch is one of his favorite songs to play live. The video was produced and directed by Liam Lynch.

In My Head was the second single and video. This song is from Desert Sessions Vol. 9&10 and was called In My Head… or Something. There are a few differences between them, the reworked version is way heavier and has a soft bridge towards the end, the original version is a bit longer and the keyboards are more emphasized. The game Need for Speed Underground 2 featured this song in the soundtrack; because of that, In My Head could be heard some time before the record’s release. Little Sister was the first single and video. It hit the radios quite before the album’s release. In fact, Little Sister was a track being written since Rated R era; the first attempt to record it was during Songs For the Deaf sessions when an instrumental demo was done, although, it was much faster and had no cowbells.

I Never Came is another ballad, the dark and deep lyrics mixed with the light guitars and the soft beating of the drums resulted in a catchy and atmospheric beautiful song. This time the falsetto singing of Joshua is taken to a higher step, it reaches a unique smooth and tense tone never tried before. It is also one of the first tracks heard because it was played by Joshua on Tsunami Benefit concert in January 2005; Dave Grohl came on stage during I Never Came and played guitar.

Someone’s in the Wolf is the longest track in the record. Another track filled with heavy textures and loud solid riffs. At some point of it, the music slows down and dark fills keep rocking while soft muddy vocals keep singing, and then everything goes back to the hard instrumental to finish this epic. Wolf also had a video (it can be found on the bonus DVD that comes with Lullabies to Paralyze deluxe version) but it never made into a single because of its length (more than 7 minutes long), the radio and the TV would edit it to fit in a 4-minute-single model, so it was the right decision to keep this video as a kind of gift to the fans. The Blood is Love begins with a circus guitar and breaks into a huge riff lead by lap steel until the end. The vocals are more whispered than sung creating a particular ‘low’ feeling to the music where the lead solo outstands. Skin on Skin: Sexy! Real dirty guitars, licks and falsetto and non-falsetto duels complete the uniqueness of this track. The guitar solo is surely one of record’s best!

Broken Box is the dancing act. All pieces, from the happy piano to the strange lead passing by the almost-anthem falsetto chorus, when put together deliver an amazing tune. “You Got a Killer Scene There, Man…” is definitely the bluesiest song. It is a groovy and mellow epic with licks and fills all over it. The solos are breathtaking. Again, the vocals are whispered, but more melodic and hotter. And the last song is Long Slow Goodbye, another track played on Tsunami Benefit concert in January 2005. It is an acoustic ballad with falsettos and gorgeous lyrics. A remarkable point of this track is the lap steel work; its tense and sharp tone builds the harmonic chorus. An orchestra plays the hidden and closer track.

It was produced by Joshua Homme and Joe Barresi and released through Interscope Records by March 21 st , 2005 on Europe and March 22 nd , 2005 in the US.

And lastly, as usual, a few interesting (and somewhat obscure) facts about the album:

Lullabies to Paralyze had its name taken from a line of a Songs For the Deaf song called Mosquito Song.

A few remixes were done using Lullabies’ songs: Little Sister (Contradicktator Remix), The Blood is Love (Contradicktator Remix), Burn the Witch (UNKLE Remix) and Broken Box (Fixed the Box, Peaches Remix).

Dan Druff was the bassist during the mini European tour, before Alain and Natasha joined.

Mark Lanegan left the tour in the beginning of April, 2005. All songs that he does lead vocals were no longer played; except by A Song For the Dead that now Joshua sings it.

Natasha Schnider (who plays on Eleven with Alain – her husband-) joined the band playing the keyboard and doing backing vocals when the tour started. She left the tour nearly at its end.

Some acoustic concerts called Renegades were done in-between the tour with Nine Inch Nails during the end of September and October.

A live DVD was released on November 22nd , 2005; it is called Over the Years and Through the Woods. It features a mix of two England concerts plus some extra footage of rare video concerts, a hidden commentary and a bonus live audio CD.

A different version of This Lullaby with Joshua doing the lead vocals is played in the very beginning of Over the Years DVD.

Joshua plays the bass live during Burn the Witch and Long Slow Goodbye.

On the liner notes, The Fun Machine Took a Shit and Died is listed as a stolen tape; in fact the tape was in another studio. The band started playing it live and also gave a signed copy of a 7 inch demo to the people who bought tickets to a cancelled concert in UK. On the A side there’s the song and on the B side there’s a commentary of it.

I Wanna Make it Wit Chu (another Desert Sessions Vol. 9&10 track) was intended to be redone during the Lullabies recording sessions, although, it wasn’t released but ended being played sometimes live (also on Over the Years DVD).

John Garcia (former singer of Kyuss) joined QOTSA on December 20 th , 2005 during a Wiltern (Los Angeles, CA) concert, to play some Kyuss’ tunes (Thumb, Hurricane and Supa Scoopa and Mighty Scoop).

Dave Catching is thanked three times on the liner notes.

Bonus tracks: Like a Drug (Desert Sessions Vol. 5&6 reworked track) on non-US prints, Japanese CD and Interscope vinyl; Precious and Grace (ZZ Top cover with Billy F. Gibbons) on UK prints, Japanese CD and Interscope vinyl; and Infinity (reworked version of Infinity featured on Heavy Metal 2000 soundtrack) on Japanese CD and Interscope vinyl.

Review & Additional Info by Daniel Yuri