Era Vulgaris - Queens of the Stone Age

Generally favorable reviews - based on 33 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 27 out of 33
  2. Negative: 1 out of 33
  1. It's exhilarating, the best rock & roll record yet released in 2007.
  2. Slick, sly, hard-hitting, and intelligent, Era Vulgaris is the rare big record with staying power.
  3. It's not so much that the songs themselves are weak, just that many of the choices made in them are.
  4. 100
    They continue to find some clever ways to do a pretty dumb thing. [Jul 2007, p.112]
  5. Era Vulgaris is Homme's fifth Queens album, and like the others, it's intricately crafted, meticulously polished and ruthlessly efficient in its pursuit of depraved rock thrills.
  6. Era sounds like an effort to pull away from commercial radio and actually cultivate a smaller, indie-er fan base.
  7. Spiky and cool where 'Songs For The Deaf' was smooth and tanned, tense and alien where that record was baked and ready to party, 'Era Vulgaris' is a record that feels like rust and stings like battery acid.
  8. At best, the songs give you a brief QOTSA kick, and at worst, the album sounds like warmed up Eagles. [Summer 2007, p.84]
  9. 90
    It sounds awesome. [Jul 2007, p.102]
  10. The Queens treading water is still better than watching so many others horribly drowning.
  11. The Queens’ music has always been a kind of battleground for the proverbial devil and angel on Homme’s shoulders – with the devil winning, of course – and that continues to be the case here, with Homme’s bewitching falsetto croon acting as the spirit to the band’s tattooed, hairy flesh, and bruising, cactus-dry workouts giving way to lush, psychedelic oases of darkly reflective sound.
  12. All the beefy guitar playing in the world can't change the reality that there isn't a single song here that you'll remember, or what to return to, two summers hence. [15 Jun 2007, p.78]
  13. There has always been a slightly tricksy, proggy side to Queens of the Stone Age, but here the more episodic songs such as Run Pig Run lurch distractingly rather than flow. The result is more of a trudge than Queens of the Stone Age albums are supposed to be, not helped by the fact that Homme seems to have mislaid his lyrical wit.
  14. Homme's modern macabre lyricism and experimental, melodic prowess... make this a more complete album that Lullabies. [Jul 2007, p.176]
  15. You can hear the band rediscovering its footing as one of the strangest, funniest, and best acts of the decade.
  16. Though QOTSA always seem to be on bland-rock stations, this is as different from the mainstream as you can imagine, and not in a bad way.
  17. 50
    A downer. [Jul 2007, p.116]
  18. 86
    It's still rebellion without destination. [#25, p.89]
  19. Josh Homme wants Era Vulgaris to be your summer bonfire record. And with a restored aura of cockiness and predictably massive arsenal of riffage, he’s once again fulfilled his goal.
  20. QOTSA envelops many of the songs in a fog of menacing guitar squall that focuses as much on atmospherics as hooks. [16 Jun 2007]
  21. Not content with making a diverse, punchy record brimming with those trademark riffs, Homme has written lyrics that make you think.
  22. Somehow, it all works together, from the psychedelic guitar warble to the bits of prog to the almost country-style harmonies.
  23. On this album he decisively shakes off the enervation and jokey detachment that made the Queens’ last few albums sound like in-jokes. This time Mr. Homme hones his songs.
  24. This time around things are more industrial and complex but every bit as sleazy and intoxicating.
  25. Era Vulgaris gets better with each listen, and that’s mostly due to the fact that the melodies take time to sink in.
  26. While Era Vulgaris is not cohesive in tone (Could it be a reflection of today’s fragmented, compartmentalized world that pulls in all directions?) and doesn’t fire consistently on all cylinders, the album is still chock-a-block with complex instrumental arrangements, stop-and- start rhythms, gracefully refined harmonies, cranked-up choruses, and pointed commentary on the modern world.
  27. "Era Vulgaris" ain't vulgar at all — in fact it's musicianly as heck.
  28. In isolation you can imagine any of these songs may have appeared over the last 10 years giving a warm comforting feel, but listened in its entirety the effect is strangely soporific, a steady morphine drip running from start to end.
  29. With the band sounding listless and drained of ideas, it starts trying anything.
  30. So when Era Vulgaris comes as a bit of a disappointment, well, that's all relative, since it still rocks mightily.
  31. Homme's ever-catchy formula remains, but the mood is uneasy and brooding, with tracks such as 'Sick, Sick, Sick' revealing a venomous new band that's finally learned to separate business and pleasure.
  32. "Era Vulgaris" is dense and loud, and though there are hooks beneath the grimy surface, they're not always immediately apparent. Yet with enough patience, you'll find these tunes burrowing in a little deeper each time through the record.
  33. If Lullabies To Paralyze was a strange forest fairytale dusted with desert blues courtesy of Billy Gibbons, Era Vulgaris finds the band holed up in an abandoned funkhouse in the centre of a shady copse, waiting for some strange sexually-contracted fever to pass.
User Score

Universal acclaim- based on 162 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 80 out of 90
  2. Negative: 4 out of 90
  1. TomB
    Nov 30, 2009
    The best album of the decade. I know it's a weak decade but I would rank this album along side Surfer Rosa, Siamese Dream, and Daydream Nation. The riff for 3s and 7s reminisces of the lone, cutting perfection of the opening seconds of Smells Like Teen Spirit. Full Review »
  2. Feb 6, 2014
    It pains me to say that this is "my least favourite QOTSA album", but it probably is. I say this as if it's a bad album, but it really isn't, it's a brilliant album, it's just not as good as their old stuff, which is a pretty stupid insult to be honest. Full Review »
  3. Jul 1, 2013
    I thought Lullabies to Paralyze was a disappointing album, truthfully. It lacked the QotSA charm and style and seemed rather bland in general. In order to make a triumphant comeback, the QotSA needed to adopted a new and fresh angle on their classic style. And this is exactly what they did.

    Era Vulgaris is one of the best QotSA albums around. Everything about it is unique and downright awesome. There's a certain buzzy/fuzzy noise that makes everything sound low budget, but that's just the style they adopted, and it's awesome.
    Songs like "Sick, Sick, Sick" and "3s and 7s" are some of the band's best songs to date, however other more obscure songs like "I'm Designer" also have become some of my favorites.

    Quality music all around. The only songs that are lacking are "Battery Acid" and "Misfit Love". Other than that, everything is golden.
    Full Review »