Queens of the Stone Age’s Mark Ronson experiment works on ‘Villains’

Ian Caramanzana

Three and a half stars

Queens of the Stone Age Villains

It’s not uncommon for rock A-listers to bleed into the mainstream, trading their well-worn leather jackets for shinier new ones—and a more polished sonic palate. Such is now the case for Queens of the Stone Age. The SoCal desert quintet teamed with pop producer Mark Ronson—known for his collaborations with Bruno Mars and Amy Winehouse—on seventh album Villains, and the resulting formula works surprisingly well, finding the band in a happy space between dance and rock.

The record opens with banger “Feet Don’t Fail Me,” which packs enough punch to dominate arenas and clubs, and riff-stuffed songs like “The Way You Used to Do” and “Domestic Animals” translate into toe-tapping pop anthems. Ronson’s vision especially comes through on the poppy “The Evil Has Landed” and slow-burning closer “Villains of Circumstance.” Still, the quintet stays in rambunctious rock form at times, like on the driving “Head Like a Haunted House.” Villains marks a welcome outlier in the QOTSA discography—an accessible gem in an era when rock music has struggled to top the charts.

Tags: Music, Album
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