Era Vulgaris

Metascore
75

Generally favorable reviews - based on 33 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 27 out of 33
  2. Negative: 1 out of 33
  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Not content with making a diverse, punchy record brimming with those trademark riffs, Homme has written lyrics that make you think.
  4. It's not so much that the songs themselves are weak, just that many of the choices made in them are.
  5. So when Era Vulgaris comes as a bit of a disappointment, well, that's all relative, since it still rocks mightily.
  6. 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.
  7. It's exhilarating, the best rock & roll record yet released in 2007.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. The Queens treading water is still better than watching so many others horribly drowning.
  12. 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.
  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. This time around things are more industrial and complex but every bit as sleazy and intoxicating.
  15. Era Vulgaris gets better with each listen, and that’s mostly due to the fact that the melodies take time to sink in.
  16. 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.
  17. 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.
  18. Somehow, it all works together, from the psychedelic guitar warble to the bits of prog to the almost country-style harmonies.
  19. "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.
  20. With the band sounding listless and drained of ideas, it starts trying anything.
  21. You can hear the band rediscovering its footing as one of the strangest, funniest, and best acts of the decade.
  22. Slick, sly, hard-hitting, and intelligent, Era Vulgaris is the rare big record with staying power.
  23. "Era Vulgaris" ain't vulgar at all — in fact it's musicianly as heck.
  24. Era sounds like an effort to pull away from commercial radio and actually cultivate a smaller, indie-er fan base.
  25. 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.
  26. Under The Radar
    50
    At best, the songs give you a brief QOTSA kick, and at worst, the album sounds like warmed up Eagles. [Summer 2007, p.84]
  27. Uncut
    100
    They continue to find some clever ways to do a pretty dumb thing. [Jul 2007, p.112]
  28. Spin
    90
    It sounds awesome. [Jul 2007, p.102]
  29. Alternative Press
    80
    Homme's modern macabre lyricism and experimental, melodic prowess... make this a more complete album that Lullabies. [Jul 2007, p.176]
  30. Blender
    50
    A downer. [Jul 2007, p.116]
  31. Filter
    86
    It's still rebellion without destination. [#25, p.89]
  32. Entertainment Weekly
    58
    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]
  33. Billboard
    70
    QOTSA envelops many of the songs in a fog of menacing guitar squall that focuses as much on atmospherics as hooks. [16 Jun 2007]
User Score
8.4

Universal acclaim- based on 202 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 80 out of 95
  2. Negative: 4 out of 95
  1. TomB
    Nov 30, 2009
    10
    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 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. Oct 8, 2017
    10
    Almost BY FAR my favorite album ever. I hated it at first, but it is the thing that first got me into mainstream rock, after first hearing,Almost BY FAR my favorite album ever. I hated it at first, but it is the thing that first got me into mainstream rock, after first hearing, and eventually near-perfecting, 3's and 7's on Guitar Hero III. I am now learning to play 3's and 7's on RockSmith, you know... real guitar :D

    This album artwork truly speaks the content of the album in every way a random piece of art slapped onto the front slip of the plastic case for any album SHOULDN'T. What I mean for that is, it speaks the album so well, that its message is deceptively simple.
    So, two sleazy-looking...um...light bulbs smoking cigs and hopping around on detached limbs (and a crutch) and struggling to take one more puff?

    Well, after cross-examining the titles of a few songs and their lyrics... such as "Turnin' on the Screw" featuring the phrase, 'The jury's in, verdict: RETARDED. I'm so tired, and I'm wired, too. I'm a mess, I guess I'm...turnin' on the screw."

    and "I'm Designer" using an example of the hilarity involved in being a nonchalant male-prostitute as a euphemism for why selling out isn't always as bad as it may seem... coupled with explodingly loud rhythm guitar and drum-duo riffs, repetitive and crunchy yet hypnotic and psychedelic beats, along with impossibly randomly-placed yet ear-piercingly blissful guitar solos, this album is almost the definition of being thrown into a blender or a serrated trash compactor, being pulled out by an industrial vacuum which rips your outstretched arms off, and letting you fall back into the pit of despair all the while an onlooking group of stoners laugh at you, before realizing they lost their best friend...

    You see, there are two songs that make this album 'whole'. I do not like the two songs with as much of the passion behind the 150x-replayed and reshuffled playlist I have that includes all the OTHER songs, but these two songs... "Make it Wit' Chu" and "Suture up Your Future" ... they are the meat of this album. One is a slow blues-rock inspired melody that truly is a love song at its weirdest, rife with the band's inside-joke of spelling and grammatical errors and eyebrow-raising high-pitched vocals when you least expect them...while the latter is a bass heavy but thoroughly soft-rock delving masterpiece that I can't help but only want to analyze the lyrics to a fuller extent someday.

    When those two songs at times come up in a row at the very end of my playlist, and my music-high is coming to a close, I realize...with all this amp-smoke I have consumed and all this burned grass (straight out of Woodstock's earliest hard rock performance mishaps) I have been inhaling up to this point, 36 minutes or so into the album... I look down at my body and see I am almost figuratively skin and bones. With a heavy sigh, I don't hit the 'skip' button twice or load a new playlist, I get ready for the nutrition I have never yearned for from this kind of band, but, come to think of it... know I NEED after all the draining cynicism, sarcasm, irony, and chainsaw rip-roaring to the ear drums that were the past 11 songs.

    This is Era Vulgaris. This is the kind of blatant, yet subtly humored and layered offenses that your parents (no matter your or their age) will always wind up glaring at you awkwardly with no words spoken, just a general air of understanding floating somewhere between the groups' seats that begs to explain that this is what will always separate your generation from theirs. Is it desensitization? Is it laughing at the singer or lyricist's sung problematic lifestyle, of which they wrote down into musical form anyway wanting to wholeheartedly embrace the crazy **** this album is? Those two questions are the exact same, I'm just being pedantic again.

    This album in one phrase, other than magnifico to me, is: Desensitization... FOR THE WILLING MASSES

    And that's why I love it, and drew my unskilled heart out for it. My ears melted off leaving reptilian-esque holes in my head in the process, but eh. Van Gogh didn't need to listen much more either once he knew what perfection was.
    Full Review »
  3. Sep 13, 2017
    8
    A lot of great guitar work and compositional effort here despite the often unresolved tangents. I like more of this than I like "LikeA lot of great guitar work and compositional effort here despite the often unresolved tangents. I like more of this than I like "Like Clockwork." My favorite tracks are "Turnin' on the Screw" "Sick, Sick, Sick" "Into the Hollow" "Misfit Love" "Make It wit Chu" "3's & 7's" and "Suture Up Your Future." A shift in direction that works more often that it doesn't, and continues to rock hard and move you. Full Review »