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19. Queens of the Stone Age – No One Knows

05/12/2009

Plenty of grunting sexy rock songs have been released in the past ten years. What puts No One Knows on top of that pile is that while it’s a terrific grunting sexy rock song, it does so much more than just sit there and smoulder. Sure, the song pounds and slimes with all the sleaze and swagger that you’d expect from a hard-drinking, drug-guzzling, multi-tattooed rock band, but there’s a subtlety to its game too, a complexity in arrangement and tone that hints at depth without ever feeling the need to show off about it. It’s a clever trick, too: despite the delicately mournful backing vocals, satanic whispers and progtastic guitar wig-out with a minute to go, No One Knows remains a propulsive and cocky rocker, but the added flashes of musical flair gives the song’s grit more bite. Crucially though, it feels totally comfortable in its own schizophrenic skin – No One Knows isn’t the sound of a tough guy playing schooled, or a boffin dumbing down, but simply a band who know their capabilities lie just as equally in rockin’ out as in geekin’ down. Indeed, in that respect, it feels like a companion piece of Radiohead’s Electioneering – a rock song at heart, but a tender piece of meat at that.

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