Tuesday, August 27, 2002

8/27/2002: Queens of the Stone Age release Songs for the Deaf

image from Wikipedia.org

Released: 27 August 2002
Tracks: (Click for codes to singles charts.) 1. The Real Song for the Deaf 2. You Think I Ain’t Worth a Dollar But I Feel Like a Millionaire 3. No One Knows (10/12/02, #51 US, #5 AR, #1 MR, #15 UK) 4. First It Giveth (8/1/03 #33 UK) 5. A Song for the Dead 6. The Sky Is Fallin’ 7. Six Shooter 8. Hangin’ Tree 9. Go with the Flow (4/1/03, #24 AR, #7 MR, #21 UK, #39 AU) 10. Gonna Leave You 11. Do It Again 12. God Is in the Radio 13. Another Love Song 14. A Song for the Deaf 15. Mosquito Song

Sales (in millions): 1.19 US, 0.1 UK, 2.29 world (includes US and UK)

Peak: 17 US, 4 UK


Review: Songs for the Deaf, the third outing for American rock band Queens of the Stone Age, was loosely built around the concept of the listener tuning into local radio stations while road tripping from Los Angeles to Joshua Tree. Mock radio broadcasts surface between songs, reinforcing the cliché that modern commercial radio is worthless drivel.

The formula proved successful, pushing the album to platinum status in the U.S. and Europe and generated modern-rock hits with the “lurching, weirdly-springy” AZ “No One Knows” (#1) and “Go with the Flow” (#7). Bot songs earned Grammy nominations for Best Hard Rock Performance.

No One Knows

The album got a big boost because of the presence of Dave Grohl, leader singer for Foo Fighters and former drummer for Nirvana. Grohl had befriended QOTSA frontman Josh Homme in 1992 and QOTSA had opened for Foo Fighters. The band was going through a shake-up and Grohl stepped in as the temporary drummer, even touring with the band and putting Foo Fighters on hold.

The album is often considered the band’s best. Amazon’s Kim Hughes calls it “speed rock that whips by so fast it creates its own breeze” and says it is “a hard rock record so good that it immediately evokes a conspiratorial fervor that makes you want to tell everyone you can about it.” AZ Entertainment Weekly called it “the year’s best hard-rocking album” WK while Splendid said, “This is not your father’s metal. It’s better.” WK Mojo, Spin, and NME all ranked it as one of the top ten albums of the year. WK Kerrang! rated it #1 for 2002 while music critic Steven Hyden went a step farther in calling it the greatest hrd-rock record of the 21st century. WK

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Monday, August 26, 2002

Coldplay released A Rush of Blood to the Head: August 26, 2002

image from tandlesachin21.onsugar.com

Released: 26 August 2002
Tracks: (Click for codes to singles charts.) 1. Politik 2. In My Place (7/20/02, #2 UK, #17 MR) 3. God Put a Smile Upon Your Face (7/14/03, --) 4. The Scientist (11/4/02, #10 UK, #18 MR, sales: 0.5 m) 5. Clocks (11/30/02, #29 US, #9 UK, #9 MR, sales: 1.0 m) 6. Daylight 7. Green Eyes 8. Warning Sign 9. A Whisper 10. A Rush of Blood to the Head 11. Amsterdam

Sales (in millions): 4.8 US, 2.8 UK, 15.8 world (includes US and UK)

Peak: 5 US, 13 UK


Review: Coldplay’s “wonderfully assured debut” AZ album, Parachutes, put the group on the map when it emerged in 2000. However, while it topped the UK charts, its #51 peak in the U.S. coupled with minor pop hit “Yellow” (also a top ten at alternative rock) certainly didn’t suggest the group would some day compete for title of Biggest Band in the World. That song “didn’t follow the rock formula… similarly A Rush of Blood to the Head might not instantly grab listeners, but it’s not tailored that way.” AMG Others saw the band’s dominance coming. The Guardian’s Alexis Petridis said, “It sounds like an album ready to take on the world, and win.” WK

The album is “initially inaccessible, but that’s what makes it intriguing.” AMG “Echoes of early post-punk showcase Coldplay’s ballsy musicianship…It’s not exactly rock & roll, but Radiohead, Echo & the Bunnymen, and the Smiths aren’t exactly rock & roll either, and they’re well-loved.” AMG Coldplay had “advanced to a stage where they outshine nearly every one of their rivals in terms of imagination and emotional pull.” AZ There was actually noise in the U.K. press after the debut that they might call it quits after just one album. The group was exhausted after touring to support Parachutes and frontman Chris Martin “insisted he was dry; …he hadn’t written a song in months.” AMG However, “somewhere lurked the beauty of In My Place. The spirit and soul of this ballad allowed Coldplay to pull it together to make a second album.” AMG As Martin said, “It was the song that made us want to do a second album. It kept us going and made us think we could still write songs.” WK

In My Place

“From the delicate, shimmery classic ‘In My Place’ to the piano surge of The Scientist, Coldplay exude an honest passion.” AMG Coldplay “let it all go on this” AMG “soulful, exhilarating journey, moving from the cathartic” AZ “U2-esque epic rock of…PolitikWK “to the hushed tones of” AZ “lovedrunk balladGreen EyesAMG “without once breaking its mesmerizing spell.” AZ The latter, along with “the disco haze of Daylight,” AMG “are divine examples of solid lyrical arrangements.” AMG Meanwhile “‘Politik’ and the stunning guitar-driven God Put a Smile Upon Your Face project a nervy edge to the band.” AMG

The Scientist

“Acoustics are drowned out by Jon Buckland’s riveting guitar work, and vocally, Martin has sharpened his falsetto, refining his haunting deliver…You can feel, hear, and touch the blood, sweat, and tears behind each song, and that’s exactly what Coldplay were going for.” AMG “Lush melodies and a heartbreak behind the songs are there, but also a newfound confidence.” AMG “Martin takes his voice on soaring flights, reaching places only Jeff Buckley previously dared to go. And the music is nearly flawless, a persuasive cross between Pink Floyd and the Verve…This is exquisite stuff.” AZ “Regardless of the band still being in their mid-twenties, they’ve made an amazing record…A Rush of Blood to the Head didn’t sugarcoat anything.” AMG

Rush garnered Coldplay its second Grammy for Best Alternative Album and “In My Place” landed a Grammy for Best Rock Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal. The group also landed the prize for Record of the Year for Clocks. A BBC listener poll in 2013 ranked the album the best of all time. WK


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