Queens of the Stone Age - Villains
Critic Score
Based on 36 reviews
2017 Ratings: #241 / 880
Year End Rank: #32
User Score
Based on 615 ratings
2017 Ratings: #361
Liked by 13 people
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As a whole, ‘Villains’ is the Californian filthmongers’ most danceable offering yet – and all the better for it.

Seven albums into their career, Queens Of The Stone Age continue to amaze. 'Villains' is meticulously constructed, endlessly exciting and deeply rewarding.


Is QOTSA’s seventh album Villains a little slicker? A little tidier? Danceable? The answer is yes. But Ronson’s touch has not made Josh Homme’s songs any less heavy, weird or ambitious.

Northern Transmissions

A lightly bookended album, Villains isn’t the powerhouse that …Like Clockwork was, but it charts new ground for the band nonetheless.


Villains is all swinging dance-rock and atmospheric vulnerability, with Ronson locking a serious groove to the Queens’ Grimm Brothers gothic architecture.


‘Villains’ is Queens Of The Stone Age at their darkly seductive best, from the garish cover art to its well-crafted production, this is an album that proves that there is still a place for rock music in the mainstream of 2017.


Four years on and with an army of keyboards in tow, Homme ... mostly succeeds in accomplishing his vision, making an album that dazzles in contrast to the previous album's darkness.

The Guardian
Queens of the Stone Age will never regain the shock value they had when Rated R came out, 17 years ago. But they don’t need to. Despite Homme’s self-mythologising, they long since ceased to be a desert rock band; they’re simply a great rock’n’roll group.

At this stage, Queens of the Stone Age don't have many new tricks in their bag but their consummate skill—accentuated by the fact that this is the first QOTSA album that features just the band alone, not even augmented by Mark Lanegan—means they know when to ratchet up the tempo, when to slide into a mechanical grind, when to sharpen hooks so they puncture cleanly. All that makes Villains a dark joy, a record that offers visceral pleasure in its winking menace.

The Line of Best Fit

A much more cohesive album than ...Like Clockwork, one that seems hell-bent on turning out an incendiary dance-rock record rather than constantly shifting stylistic shape in the way that last LP did.


The bequiffed high priest of desert rock has always imbued his full-throttle stoner sound with a certain amount of hip-shaking sass, but on ‘Villains’, he truly lets his dancing shoes take the floor.

The Independent

The band have retained their brusque character but it’s less ponderous than before, with several tracks taken at an unfeasibly rapid tempo; while Ronson has brought production clarity and a punchy funk sensibility that transforms QOTSA’s trademark robot-rock rhythms into something much more dynamic and danceable.

Rolling Stone
No Queens record has prioritized groove like this, and it reboots their brand nicely.

Villains is by far their most danceable and commercial to date. However, stoner rock purists needn’t worry that Palm Desert’s finest have suddenly discovered a taste for tropical house. Villains still possesses plenty of the band’s trademark pulverizing guitar riffs and sludgy basslines.

Consequence of Sound

Villains far exceeds expectations of the best-case scenario for a Queens of the Stone Age album or a mainstream rock album in 2017.

A.V. Club

On the whole, Villains isn’t Homme’s strongest collection of songwriting. That said, it’s the first Queens Of The Stone Age album where the sounds behind it are consistently strong enough to carry the load.

Pretty Much Amazing
Even though it doesn’t do nearly enough to distinguish itself from the band’s earlier albums, it’s an enjoyable enough listen that it’s not too hard to excuse its flaws. I don’t think it’s the QOTSA album most people were hoping for, but perhaps it’s the album Josh Homme felt the world needed right now. I certainly can’t fault him for that.
Slant Magazine

This album's pseudo-danceable moments add welcome wrinkles to a formula that's otherwise begun to feel leaden.

No Ripcord

This is a Queens record that has no pretenses, no false identity. And it provides just the right remedy to refuel rock radio’s loss of identity.

The 405

Overall Villains makes solid progress in the macabre direction Homme is currently choosing to call home, but my concern is whether this is at the expense of some of their more interesting qualities.


This record is strong from top to bottom, and another great entry into Queens of the Stone Age’s catalog.


With production flourishes from Mark Ronson, Josh Homme leads the band's most accessible album in decades. It’s equal parts disco inferno and devil-may-care experimentation.

Drowned in Sound

Villains isn’t a terrible record, but it’s not a fantastic record either, and that’s perhaps the least kind thing that could be said about new material from a band which we’ve come to expect a lot from.

The Needle Drop

Mark Ronson's flat production doesn't do any favors for Villains, Queens of the Stone Age's most mixed bag of tracks to date.

The Observer

The result is not “QOTSA go pop”, but Ronson’s fresh ears do bring out the playfulness in their mean and muscular, feline and sensual sound, adding an extra-rubbery bounce to their rhythms.

Under The Radar

Dwelling on better times of a bygone era is a fundamental pillar of escapism, but it's disconcerting when one of the most uncompromising, forward-thinking bands in the rock pantheon leans so heavily on what worked in the past that they forget that the onus is on them to innovate.

Villains is like a machine that starts off working really well but after three songs, it starts to jam up. So, you whip out your trusty offbrand WD-40, BadSongBeGone-40, and get to spraying. And then it works!... for like one more song, after which you have to reapply it because it keeps on jamming up.
Damn I haven't been this bored listening to a rock record in a while, the squeaky clean production here ruined it for me, I couldn't get into a single groove on this whole album honestly.
While I take issue with some of the mixing, especially with the drums (you don't get Jon Theodore behind the kit just to neuter him. You just don't), that's really my only gripe with Villains. I do really love these songs, especially after hearing some of them live. That said, hearing them live makes me drool over how groovy and ferocious this could've sounded with some better production choices.
A fairly standard yet smooth rock album, by no means the band's best work but still an album worth hearing.

Best Track: Fortress
Worst Track: The Evil Has Landed
I can't help but love this thing. I know this shouldn't be my favorite Queens of the Stone Age album, but it is. Sorry lol
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Track List

  1. Feet Don’t Fail Me
  2. The Way You Used to Do
  3. Domesticated Animals
  4. Fortress
  5. Head Like a Haunted House
  6. Un-Reborn Again
  7. Hideaway
  8. The Evil Has Landed
  9. Villains of Circumstance
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Added on: June 14, 2017