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Eagles Of Death Metal: 10 Essential Tracks

Since their formation in 1998, California’s Eagles of Death Metal have been responsible for pumping out some of modernity’s most rockin’ tunes. Fronted by the frenetic ball of energy known as Jesse ‘The Devil’ Hughes and driven by the rhythmic force of nature that is KYUSS/QOTSA frontman Josh Homme, Eagles of Death Metal have spent the entirety of their existence, seemingly hellbent on one thing and one thing only; ensuring that you have a bloody good time. With four original full-lengths choc-full of booty shakers and a cover album full of inspired takes on some timeless anthems, it’s safe to say that they’ve nailed it!

It hasn’t all been carefree hedonistic fun though, the band has encountered tragedy via the truly awful attack on their Bataclan show in 2015 that saw 90 people callously murdered. An experience that has weighed on them deeply. Despite this, the Eagles of Death Metal have carried on delivering their truly unique blend of boogie-infused garage and blues rock, to the delight of fans the world over.

Don’t just take our word for it though, find your favourite listening chair, throw on your headphones, fire up this playlist of essential Eagles of Death Metal jams and get ready to shake your ass off to the endless vibes.

I Only Want You, Peace, Love, Death Metal (2004)

It’s hard to think of a better place to start a deep dive than track one of a debut album and when it comes to Eagles of Death Metal, ‘I Only Want You’ is absolutely the right place to begin. A foot-tapping, garage rock tune fuelled by an infectious falsetto hook, ‘I Only Want You’ is one of those songs that feels like it’s one giant chorus. It’s nothing fancy and it’s not meant to be, it’s the soundtrack to your next party.

Miss Alissa, Peace, Love, Death Metal (2004)

Remember how I said that Eagles of Death Metal are hellbent on making sure you have a bloody good time? ‘Miss Alissa’ is exactly what I meant. An instantly addictive, boogie infused rocker, “Miss Alissa” is the secret to the Eagles of Death Metal laid bare. A poppin’ backbeat, a noodly riff, some handclaps and Jesse’s trademark howl. There’s elements of genre exploration that will go on to define their sound, but this to me is the Eagles of Death Metal doing what they do best, and over 24+ million Spotify streams seem to concur!

Speaking in Tongues, Peace, Love, Death Metal (2004)

When you strip it back, rock music only really needs a few elements to truly shine. A great riff, a passionate vocal and a solid rhythm, ‘Speaking in Tongues’ has all three in spades. A thick garage rock fuzz, and Homme’s danceable rhythm serves as the background for a funky riff and a distinctive vocal line. There’s random vocalisations, there’s a few extra layers, but at its core this is just a damn good rock song.

Cherry Cola, Death By Sexy (2006)

Some songs were born to accompany a montage of a badass heartbreaker, sipping on drinks and taking numbers at a party they consider themselves too cool to be at. ‘Cherry Cola’ is one of those songs. Equal parts sexy and sleazy. ‘Cherry Cola’ is one thirsty jam. Jesse’s vocals are somehow at once detached and desperate, as he croons his way through the track, with his smooth glam rock falsetto dropping hooks between filthy lead parts that can’t wait to musically seduce you. Put this on and I guarantee by the time it’s done you’ll be in the mood!

Don’t Speak (I Came to Make a Bang!), Death By Sexy (2006)

I don’t know about you, but I sure do love a pregnant pause, and on ‘Don’t Speak (I Came to Make a Bang!)’, Eagles of Death Metal deploy an all-timer. That fact alone would be enough for the song to be included in this list, but the rest of the song is pretty freakin’ great too. As you may have guessed from the punny title, it’s another song about fuckin’ and fittingly it’s a banger. A stomping beat and a HUGE riff power this one, providing the perfect backdrop for Jesse to let loose on one of the best vocal performances in the Eagles of Death Metal catalogue. The way his howls are locked in a bit of call and response battle with the guitars before that pregnant pause (and a little cowbell for good measure), gives birth to a ripper solo, is a work of low-brow art. Banger.

Wannabe in L.A., Heart On (2008)

Few things this side of Guns ‘N’ Roses’ ‘Paradise City’, will make you want to get messed up in LA, quite like ‘Wannabe in LA’. A clever beat, consistent of vocal and what sounds like a martini glass being tapped sets a laid back low-fi vibe, setting the scene for a riff that just oozes LA cool to sit front and centre with Jesse’s slacker vocal. No one will ever accuse Eagles of Death Metal of being lyrical geniuses, but every line of this song will stir a sense of longing and nostalgia for the city of angels. The opening and closing verse (I came to L.A. to be rock and roll/Along the way I had to sell my soul/Made some good friends that make me say/ I really wannabe in L.A) perfectly describes the knowing aura that the track possesses. Anyone who has ever dreamed of being anyone in music, will feel this one.

How Can a Man with So Many Friends Feel So Alone, Heart On (2008)

In a world that is weirdly obsessed with the facade of authenticity, sometimes it’s nice to just enjoy someone blatantly ripping off the hits of the past. Think, your 18-year-old kid brother recently ‘discovering’ the bowl cut and getting really into hyper colour tees, or you know, Greta Van Fleet being well….you know where I’m going with that one. Much of the appeal of the Eagles of Death Metal is the way they wear their influences so unashamedly on their sleeves and ‘How Can a Man with So Many Friends Feel So Alone’ is a fitting example. The guitars are absolutely ripped from equal parts peak Keith Richards and early Jimmy Page, while the vocal delivery is pure late ’70s rock chic pastiche. It’s as instantly listenable and familiar as that description makes out, with the oddly melancholy lyrics providing an unexpected point of differentiation if you’re the type that goes looking for that.

Solo Flights, Heart On (2008)

Call me juvenile, but I really like puns, especially masturbatory ones. Clearly, so do Jesse and Josh, because ‘Solo Flights’ is a masterclass in the medium. Another sleaze-drenched riff provides the background for some overly sensual vocals to shine with lyrical passages that even the most passionate of 15-year-old self-lovers would be proud of. I’m particularly fond of these pairings “Nobody does me like I do/I’m just a one-man operation” and “No one’s gonna hold my hand/It’s got a full-time occupation” and I have to tip my hat to Jesse for finding a way to reference the Rolling Stones and masturbatory aids at once: “I can’t get no vaccumication” but the absolute star of this work of lowbrow genius is the simplest line of the lot, “No one gets to love me” which boldly affirms the point of this song – wanking is awesome, empowering and encouraging, and I don’t think we need a mass debate to determine that as a proven fact.

Complexity, Zipper Down (2015)

When a band takes seven years between records, you can assume they went through some shit in-between, and as anyone who has seen the documentary “The Redemption of the Devil” can attest, Jesse Hughes had a rather interesting time between albums. As such, people might have expected a very different sounding Eagles of Death Metal release. They were right, sort of. As the aptly titled “Complexity” showcases. The song sounds like an EoDM song, but it’s just a little bit, wittier, a little bit bolder, a little bit, dare I say it, more musically complex. A tubthumping beat, some classic big rock riffs, some honky pianos and some honest to goodness, gospel styled vocal refrains make “Complexity” stand out from previous EoDM material, with only Jesse’s signature vocalisations and the clever lyrics about embracing a lack of complexity keeping the dumb fun factor where we expect.

I Love You All The Time, Zipper Down (2015)

From ‘Wild Horses’ to ‘Wanted Dead or Alive” and beyond, every classic rock band needs a good ol’ country-rock anthem and on ‘I Love You All The Time’, EoDM bang out theirs. A country and western beat and some fittingly countrified guitar passages providing Jesse with the perfect soundscape over which to tell yet another tale of a forlorn lover’s insecurity. It’d be depressing if it wasn’t so damn addictive and fun and, well, let’s be honest when he starts delivering lines in French, the universally accepted language of love, you can tell that the piss is very much being taken here. I’d still throw this on alongside Shania, Garth and Billy Ray though! (Not an insult)

BONUS: High Voltage/It’s A Long Way, Eagles Of Death Metal Presents: Boots Electric Performing The Best Songs We Never Wrote (2019)

Every hard rock band worth their line of cocaine, has to have a stellar cover, and despite having absolutely nailed it with their cover of Duran Duran’s ‘Save A Prayer’, 2019’s wordily titled Eagles Of Death Metal Presents: Boots Electric Performing The Best Songs We Never Wrote, Eagles of Death Metal try to nail it down another 13 times, to varying levels of success. While IMO they don’t quite hit it out of the park, the record is a real trip to listen to, with every song presenting a completely different take to what you’d anticipate. It’s truthfully one of the better cover records released in recent memory. It felt like it would be wrong to leave it completely off of the list. As such I’ve gone with the rather clever AC/DC mashup ‘High Voltage/It’s A Long Way’, because it’s sexy, smooth, risque and yet oddly chill, for an AC/DC cover. It’s hard not to be impressed by the ability they show here to maintain reverence for the originals (blazing solos, bagpipes and all) while turning everything down just a notch, to give it that sensual EoDM sound. It’s way more interesting than any AC/DC cover needs to be. That’s more than enough for me.

Eagles Of Death Metal return to Australia next month for an appearance at Bluesfest 2020 and a handful of sideshows. Details below.

Eagles Of Death Metal 2020 Australian Tour

Monday, 13th April

Metro City, Perth

Tickets: Bluesfest Touring

Wednesday, 15th April

Cambridge Hotel, Newcastle

Tickets: Bluesfest Touring

Thursday, 16th April

Metro Theatre, Sydney

Tickets: Bluesfest Touring

Saturday, 18th April – SOLD OUT

Croxton Bandroom, Melbourne

Tickets: Bluesfest Touring

Sunday, 19th April

Croxton Bandroom, Melbourne

Tickets: Bluesfest Touring

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