Queens of the Stone Age, ‘The Way You Used to Do’ | Track Review
Queens of the Stone Age return with ambitious and energetic promo “The Way You Used to Do,” produced by revered English producer Mark Ronson.
2017 seems to be a year of departures. Obama exits, Trump becomes president. Miley Cyrus abandons hip-hop clichés. Fall Out Boy seemingly abandon punk-pop. Countless numbers of departures folks. Rock collective Queen of the Stone Age joins the list of departures, at least in regards to its new single, “The Way You Used to Do.” “The Way You Used to Do” is produced by retro-soul, vintage-pop-loving-extraordinaire, Mark Ronson. Huh? As crazy as a collaboration is between Josh Homme and Mark Ronson, it works sensationally on the promo single from Villains.
From the jump, “The Way You Used to Do” sounds venomous – it sports a mean bite. The first thing that stands out is the grittiness of the guitars. The distortion is amplified to the nth degree, depicting the utmost devilishness. Just listen to a couple of seconds of “The Way You Used to Do,” and the hellishness is real. Adding to the diabolical tone is the groove, which rocks hard. The syncopation also suggests the urban cues that Ronson is a master at. If nothing else, listeners are blessed with radiant, if ungodly, ear candy.
The lyrics of “The Way You Used to Do” match the darkness of the music, at least to some extent. Love is a theme of the record, so how devilish could it possibly be. On the first verse, Homme sings:
“When I first met her, she was seventeen / Seventeen / Jump like an arsonist to a perfect match / Burned alive.”
Lyrically, he does a fantastic job comparing his love to a person with a bad reputation – an arsonist. On the first pre-chorus, he goes on to assert the power of that love, following up on the chorus.
“But it doesn’t matter now / Just come and love me how / Like the way you used to do / Yeah.”
On the second verse, he continues to paint about the power of love, asking, “Is love mental disease or lucky fever dream?” He goes on to say, “Gave birth to monsters who will terrorize normalcy.” This is about forming a family, and essentially, Homme exaggerates things. Are his children or all children monsters? Even if they are normal, doesn’t normal change with each generation? Once more, the chorus seems to shrug off any introspection about evil.
All in all, Queens of the Stone Age have a gem on their hands. “The Way You Used to Do” is refreshing, combining the grit of rock music and the fun, groove of vintage pop and soul. Two words: Nailed it.