I am having trouble to understand the meaning of the word "saga" in the following excerpt of a Queens of Stone Age lyrics:

How we feeling out there? How's your drive time commute?
I need a saga, what's the saga?
It's songs for the deaf, you can't even hear it

("You Think I Ain't Worth A Dollar, But I Feel Like A Millionaire"
- written by Josh Homme and Mario Lalli)

These are actually the words of a fictional radio host introducing the song, and "songs for the deaf" is the name of the album.

"Saga", in that context, doesn't seem to match any of the following meanings in The Free Dictionary:

1a. A prose narrative usually written in Iceland between 1120 and 1400, dealing with the families that first settled Iceland and their descendants, with the histories of the kings of Norway, and with the myths and legends of early Germanic gods and heroes.

1b. A modern prose narrative that resembles a saga.

  1. A long detailed report: recounted the saga of their family problems.

Neither it matches the definitions in Urban dictionary, supposing it is a slang.

I can only interpret that the radio host wants to listen to something epic.

  • 5
    Your guess is as good as anyone else's.
    – user6951
    Commented Dec 8, 2014 at 21:27
  • 2
    This question appears to be off-topic because it is about non-standard word usage in lyrics, only relevant in this context.
    – user3169
    Commented Dec 8, 2014 at 23:27
  • 1
    I beg to disagree. In Help Center > Asking, they say you can ask "Word choice and usage" and "Practical problems you encounter while learning English".
    – fcpenha
    Commented Dec 8, 2014 at 23:52
  • 1
    I think @user3169 is saying that, because this is a poetic and non-standard usage of saga, we're unlikely to find a definitive answer. (Of course, there's no way for you to know that before you ask the question.)
    – J.R.
    Commented Dec 9, 2014 at 0:08
  • 1
    I think that this is primarily opinion based. I can't think of any objective way to arrive at a meaning based on the context.
    – ColleenV
    Commented Dec 9, 2014 at 0:14

1 Answer 1


As usual, a little context helps. This is not actually the lyric of the opening track but its introduction: we're listening to voices from morning drivetime radio.

Voice 1: K L O N, Los Angeles, clone radio. We play the songs that sound more like everyone else than anyone else. Clone.

Voice 2: Hey alright, it's Kip Casper clone radio, L.A.'s infinite repeat. How we feeling out there? How's your drive time commute? I need a saga, what's the saga? ... It's Songs for the Deaf, you can't even hear it.

It is after that that the song starts, very loud and heavy:

Dead blow with the life from the low
I’ll be massive conquistador
Give me sword, show me the door
Metal heavy, shocked at the core
Gimme toro, gimme some more
Gimme toro, gimme some more
Pressurize, neutralize
Deep fried, gimme some more
Space flunky, four on the floor
Fortified with the liquor store
This one's down, gimme some more Gimme toro, gimme some more ... (3x)

There's more lyric, but it's mostly that last line, “Gimme toro, gimme some more”, repeated over and over.

QOTSA proclaims the superiority of its own raucous, violent style (“Metal heavy, shocked at the core”) to the contemptible (“toro” = bullshit), uninspired four-beat music drunken yuppies dance to in night clubs (“Space flunky, four on the floor, Fortified with the liquor store”).

The opening sequence expresses the band’s contempt for “clone” radio stations and their pretentious DJs who petulantly demand “saga”—music that is heroic, bigger than life—but are in fact incapable of recognizing real saga, truly musical music. This is a “Song for the Deaf”: the band in effect tells the DJ “You want saga? We’ll give you saga”—QOTSA come as “conquistadors” to wield the heavy metal “sword” against the DJ and his banal “songs that sound more like everyone else than anyone else”.

[This reading has been confirmed and enhanced by my son, a rock drummer (among other things) who is a particular fan of the drummer on this album, Dave Grohl.]

  • Thank you a lot for the answer. I hadn't realized that the upcoming lyrics were that epic. Now, for the context of clone radios in the USA, there was no way that I would know that. Thank you again.
    – fcpenha
    Commented Dec 9, 2014 at 5:23
  • 2
    @fcpenha Well, it's epic in a saga sort of way. Metal is to pop more or less as the Vikings were to 9th-century monasteries. Commented Dec 9, 2014 at 5:27

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