The Best Singles of 2013, #17

band01Queens of the Stone Age, “If I Had a Tail”

I bought Queens of the Stone Age’s sixth album blindly. I was too busy with metal writing to do any advance listening, but I never disliked any QOTSA album before, so I figured it was a no-brainer. Upon first listen, though, it didn’t exactly click.  I wasn’t feeling it, the songs didn’t feels direct enough, almost impenetrable. Then one night it happened, I was headed home after a show at two in the morning, when an insane little hook wormed its way into my head. “Gitchy, gitchy, ooh la la / Da do ron ron, you won’t get far.” I was driving at the time, so I couldn’t check the track listing until I got to a red light. What song is this? When I found out, I had the track on repeat immediately. This is arguably the darkest song Josh Homme has ever written, one minute seductive (“Tears of pleasure, tears of pain / They trickle down your face the same”), unrepentantly demonic the next (“If I had a tail I’d own the night”). The song creeps along  understatedly with Dave Grohl’s drums deliberate yet measured, but when that chorus hits, Homme’s guitar soars into overdrive with a colossal, menacing riff, Grohl adding a wicked dance groove. It’s brilliantly executed dynamics, and an unforgettable hard rock tune.