Rated R

Rated R

Feel Good Hit of the Summer
The Lost Art of Keeping a Secret
Leg of Lamb
Auto Pilot
Better Living Through Chemistry
Monsters in the Parasol
Quick and to the Pointless
In the Fade
Tension Head
Lightning Song
I Think I Lost My Headache

Band Members:

  • Joshua Homme – Vocals/Guitar
  • Nick Oliveri – Bass/Vocals
  • Nick Lucero – Drums
  • Dave Catching – Guitar/Lap Steel/Keyboard/Vocals
  • Mark Lanegan – Vocals
  • Gene Trautmann – Drums

Other Personnel/Musicians:

  • Rob Halford – Backing Vocals
  • Wendy Ray Moan – Backing Vocals
  • Nick Eldorado – Backing Vocals
  • Chris Goss – Grand Piano/Percussion/Noise Piano/Backing Vocals/Bass
  • Mike Johnson – Backing Vocals
  • Pete Stahl – Backing Vocals
  • Barrett Martin – Vibes/Percussion/Steel Drum
  • Scott Mayo – Baritone Sax/Horns
  • Fernando Pullum – Flugal Horn/Horns
  • Marek – Noise
  • Reggie Young – Horns

R, also referred to as Rated R, is Queens of the Stone Age’s second full-length record. Before its release, the record was going to be called II and had different cover, but at the last minute, they decided to change the cover to depict a movie rating and consequently, the title, to fit the new idea.

It was recorded between December 1999 and February 2000 at Sound City Studios, Van Nuys, CA. The band got into a different direction; musically speaking the record pictures a mix of all sorts of sounds and experimentalism with no applicable genre to it. This is probably due to the large cast of guests, plus the writing and vocals now shared with Nick Oliveri and Mark Lanegan.

Restricted to everyone, everywhere, all the time. That’s what’s written on the cover and it’s pretty much the feeling in it, not just in the art, but now like a warning to the listener who is about to hear what the saviors of old school dirty rock have to say. In the booklet all the songs are labeled with their contents like medicines, for instance: hallucinations, sleep depravation, nudity, and the list goes on.

What can be better to show that than Feel Good Hit of the Summer? It’s definitely the band’s anthem, a drug anthem. A seven-drug-word lyric opening the record; it is also the second single and features a video. The Lost Art of Keeping a Secret was the first single and shows a very catchy melody side, granting to them a #16 position on Billboard charts; also features a video. Leg of Lamb is the next track; it has pretty weird drums, riffs and lead guitars added with falsetto vocals, pretty cool, different and sing-along.

Auto Pilot is the fist track sung by Nick Oliveri and it features backing vocals by Mark Lanegan as well. It’s pretty much a ballad, with jazzy rhythm guitars and a tense lead, later changed by acoustic guitars in the bridge. Now it’s time for Better Living Through Chemistry, a spacey-groove song with one of the best and hypnotic guitar riffs Joshua ever created, the song grows melodic with muddy vocals and loud basses until the solo part, which gets stronger and loud until it breaks into a big jam and returns to the initial riffs again.

Monsters in the Parasol is a Desert Sessions Vol. 3 & 4 reworked track, Mario Lalli co-wrote the song with Joshua. It’s lead by a simple riffing and falsetto vocals; during Lullabies to Paralyze tour, the vocals were sung differently. Quick and to the Pointless is another track sung by Nick, it’s a punk-oriented short track with a lot of screaming and some words in Dutch. In the Fade is definitely the ‘love-sad’ song in the record, really tense melody and delayed guitars plus lead vocals sung by Mark Lanegan gives the song that feeling. A small reprise of Feel Good Hit of the Summer is played in the end of In the Fade.

Tension Head is the third and last track sung by Nick, this song has been played since 1998 tour, and demonstrates all Nick’s angry-voice power over hard and heavy riffs, maybe strong enough to ask for a instrumental mellow acoustic track after that, and that’s Lightning Song, what can be mellower than pianos and 12-string guitars? The last track is I Think I Lost My Headache; after all those medicines before it, I think that at this point all of us should have lost our headaches. It’s another growing track with melodic choruses, the riffs keep going slowly and groovy and goes growing faster, and faster, and faster then, BOOM, everything changes into a horn orchestra that tries to reproduce the instruments’ sounds.

A lastly, some more interesting and obscure tidbits about Rated R:

  • Joshua says that Monsters in the Parasol is about being high on LSD.
  • In some other countries’ printings, Feel Good Hit of the Summer Reprise is divided as another track, that’s why those versions are listed as a 12-track album and not 11.
  • Gene Trautmann and Nick Lucero were the drummers during the recording sessions, but Gene continued drumming when they got back on tour.
  • Dave Catching, who played lap steel and keys, was replaced by Brendon McNichol when the band hit the road. Brendon is highly remembered for his spacey sliding.
  • There is a test press of II, before the band decided to rework all the art, it’s one of the rarest items to find and it can be REALLY expensive.

Review & additional information by Daniel Yuri