31. ‘Lost Art of Keeping a Secret’ by Queens of the Stone Age (2000)

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By the turn of the century, nu-metal and pop-punk had proven so appealing that you’d be forgiven for thinking that men could only express themselves through either ludicrous macho posturing (Limp Bizkit) or nasally ironic detachment (Blink 182). The male rock vocal had become either a furious, unwitting parody of itself (“Rollin'”) or an all-too-aware parody of nothing much in particular (“All the Small Things”). Either way, recognisable human emotion was kept at bay.

Whilst cynicism is what finally crowbarred QOTSA into mainstream consciousness (with “Feel Good Hit of the Summer”), Josh Homme was the first frontman in a long while to not be wholly off-putting. Capitalising on (and subverting) his hot ginger bigness, he also sang. Properly! And beautifully! With many nuances!

The lovely, tender strangle of his falsetto is foregrounded on the chorus of “Lost Art”, a song about not telling something that, cleverly, never tells you anything. What it does do is spend three beautiful minutes simultaneously agonising over and romanticising the burden/intimacy of a shared secret. The nature of which could be as sinister a deal as “Hands Clean” or as self-mythologising as “Bonnie and Clyde ’03”. The lasting impression from “Lost Art”, though, is that you’ll end up so paranoid and emotionally dysregulated by your efforts, you probably should have just said something to somebody.

BONUS POINTS: “We’ve got something to reveal… no one can know HOW WE FEEL!”

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