Top Ten Alternative Queens

Okay, just so no one can accuse me of being overtly patriarchal I’ve made a list of my top 10 alternative Queens. And just so you can see how pointless the whole argument is, or perhaps how subconsciously chauvinist I might be, they’re nearly all males anyway.


First and most obvious, but what a ridiculous and brilliant band. You don’t see any bands doing things the way they did anymore. You don’t get to make music like queen if you’re worried about being cool. I shall forever love their outrageousness, flamboyance, and ability to throw you around and get away with almost anything. Almost.

This song is killer. I mean how do you make such peerless guitar shredding, mind exploding, riffage out of a guitar made from a fireplace?

Melvins – Queen

Another melvins track. Just because they’re wicked. This was the first track I heard of theirs during my formative teen years and I was sold from the first note. They’re a great band when they bother to write actual songs.

This is what Metal should be like – dark, moody, with a hint of the absolute maniacally fucked up.

Queens of the Stone Age

The modern rock motherload. Someone once described them as being ‘Heavy metal music for people who’ve had sex’. I’d go with that. Everything that a rock band should and shouldn’t be, and making all of it work. Fun times, sexy times, rockin harder, grooving relentlessly and more solidly than any other guitar band of the 21st Century.

Too many songs to choose from, but I’ll go with this.

Dancing Queen


Right, whose idea was ABBA?! Absolutely ridiculous. Just a sign of how absurd the 70s were, they just happened to be the biggest band in the world.

That aside, what a tune. Seriously. Anyone who says they don’t play air piano when this song comes on is a liar.

Even if you hate it you still love it. It’s perfect example of all the things people love and hate about pop music.

Queen of Siam


Lydia Lunch is pretty badass in terms of sheer attitude, anger and resilience. A truly independent woman. Queen of Siam is one of the few records of hers I can actually listen to though (although Big Sexy Noise one I’ve been listening to recently and it’s Heavier than an elephant in jackboots) ie that there are some not entirely atonal tracks on it. This track is some real femme fatale shiiiiiiit.

Little Queen of Spades


Robert Johnson is eternal. I love that there are only a few pictures of him in existence. At first I thought this was just is a badass blues about some hot chick. However it’s about a card sharp who seems to be taking all of poor Bobby J’s money. It does however, key into that feeling you get when someone has the deck stacked against you in more ways than you know – literally and metaphorically.

Queen Bitch


Not actually one of my favourite Bowie tracks (Oh God, I can do better than that!) but hiding under the veil of fairly standard 3 chord glam rock, and lyrics which seem to be a just a description of people who sound like a total pain in the ass, by someone who sounds like a total pain in the ass,  is a song which captures a good deal of the horrible emptiness of being the one who doesn’t get the girl, of being the 1 in the 3, being outside, calling a cab to just get away from wherever the hell you find yourself because being stuck in the room with only the thoughts of the other guy who got the girl you coulda, woulda, shoulda, is just too much. Sneaky little git old D.B…

50Ft Queenie


No bullshit, rollercoaster rock. The kind of track that makes you wanna go and cause trouble. She’s stomping on all the boys, and swinging her massive dick around – bend over Cassanova – and THAT snare sound!! Albini!! PJ Harvey – second to no one indeed.

Rocket Queen

For the longest time I couldn’t stand Guns n Roses. Everything about that ‘most dangerous band in the world’ thing made me cough up on the smell of stale hair spray and sweat-cracked leather. However, somewhere along the line, the majority of the tracks on Appetite for destruction sucked me in with their alley-cat aggro-isms. Generally I like anything if it’s done well, but sleazy, dirty gutter-rock done well… can be just magic. Complete with genuine recording of Axl having sex with some chick in the studio, just so they could have that added… ‘ambience’.

Queen of the Rodeo

It’s got our boys Alice in Chains singing heartfelt and completely un-PC harmonies about being a cross-dressing, hard-drinking, girlfriend-stealing ‘human-waste’. Yes, they’re taking the piss, spoofing their country, metal and boozy cowboy influences, but they sound like they’re having FUN – not something enough people associate with Alice in Chains most of the time. A great singalong to crack out when you’re jamming and drunk.

Oh, and if it offends you, you probably don’t get it.

“So cowboy, if you’re lookin for lovin….”

Yeah, I’m not very good at keeping to limits like these, so in true rock n roll fashion, this list goes up to 11…

Queen Jane Approximately

Highway 61 was the first Dylan album I got into and it still keeps me coming back for it’s electric righteousness and acrobatic, rollercoaster imagery.

This song seems to me to be about being condescending, but also having some compassion. He’s saying that once the Queen Jane in question is finished with all her little detours into various worlds of pretense, deceit and silliness, to come and find him when she’s ready for a more authentic reality and questions. There’s a life to be lived that isn’t wrapped up in meaninglessness and false expectations.

I would welcome anyone else’s interpretation though, especially as I attempt to dodge the shoes thrown at me by pious Dylan-ites calling me a revisionist and a traitor…


2 Responses to “Top Ten Alternative Queens”

  1. If I was writing this piece now, I’d definitely find something to take out just so I could fit in John Grant’s beautiful album ‘Queen of Denmark’.

    I’ve only just gotten into it the past few weeks or so, but have been playing tracks like ‘Marz’, ‘Where Dreams Go To Die’ and ‘JC Hates Faggots’ on a semi-religious level of frequency and fervor.

    I highly recommend this sad and beautiful album.

  2. […] are the top 5 posts that got the most views this year: 1 ‘Art is Work’ 2 Top Ten Alternative Queens 3 The Sound of Modern Music 4 Do You Remember the First Time? 5 Why Don’t You […]

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