In Times New Roman...

In Times New Roman...

The desk-bound among us might first interpret the title of Queens of the Stone Age’s eighth album as a reference to the font, but a few minutes with the music and you’ll realise that what Josh Homme refers to is a sense of decadence so total it ends with the city on fire. They remain, as ever, the hardest hard-rock band for listeners who don’t necessarily subscribe to the culture or traditions of hard rock, channelling Bowie (“Emotion Sickness”), cabaret (“Made to Parade”) and the collars-up slickness of British synth-pop (“Time & Place”) alongside the motorcycle-ready stuff you might you might expect—which they still do with more style than most (“Obscenery”). And like ZZ Top, they can rip and wink at the same time. But In Times New Roman... plumbs deeper personal territory than prior records. Homme has weathered the deaths of friends, the dissolution of his marriage and other painful developments since the release of 2017’s Villains, and the album touches on all that—but he also wants to be clear about assumptions listeners could make from his lyrics. “I would never say anything about the mother of my kids or anything like that,” he tells Apple Music’s Zane Lowe. “But also, by the same token, you must write about your life, and I think I'm soundtracking my life. These songs and the words that go with them are an emotional snapshot where you stop the film, you pull out one frame. One song it's like, 'I'm lost.' And another one, 'I'm angry.' They need to be these distilled versions of that, because one drop of true reality is enough flavour. I think the hatred and adoration of strangers is like the flip side of a coin. But when you're not doing it for the money, that currency is worthless. I can't get involved in what the people say. In a way, it's none of my fucking business.” For Homme, the breakthrough of In Times New Roman... came because he was unflinchingly honest with himself while he was writing through some of his darkest moments. “At the end of the day, the record is completely about acceptance,” Homme says. “That's the key. My friends have passed. Relationships have ended. Difficult situations have arisen. I've had my own physical and health things go on and things like that, but I'm okay now. I'm 100 per cent responsible for 50 per cent of what's going on, you know what I mean? But in the last seven years, I've been through a lot of situations where it doesn't matter if you like it or not, it's happening to you. And so I've been forced to say, yeah, I don't like this, I need to figure out where I'm at fault here or I'm responsible here or accountable here. And also, I need to also accept it for what it is. This is the reality. Even if I don't like it, it would be a shame to hold on too tight to something that's slipping through your hands and not just accept it for what it is.”

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