The lyrics are a list of drugs: nicotine, Valium, Vicodin, marijuana, ecstasy, and alcohol. Before they get to cocaine, they do utter the word "no." Band mainstays Joshua Homme and Nick Oliveri wrote the song; Oliveri said that the lyric refers to their ingest on one particularly unhealthy day.
Judas Priest lead singer Rob Halford was recording in a studio nearby, so the band asked him to sing backup on this track, which he did. When they showed Halford the lyrics, he said, "A Rock And Roll cocktail, I know this one."
Although this contains no foul language, some radio stations refused to play it and Wal-Mart banned it for a while. They eventually agreed to stock the album without a warning label, since it was already called "Rated R."
In 2007, QOTSA was forcefully removed from a rehab center in California for playing this song. They were going to play a lighthearted show for the patients there, but Josh Homme and his twisted sense of humor decided to open their set with this song, and they were immediately unplugged.
Bert - Pueblo, NM
Josh Homme told NME July 24, "All of our records have some loose theme that's put a rope around all the songs and drawn them in tight… Rated R is about paranoia and about paranoia that someone's putting you in a box forever and trying to escape getting out of their box.
'You're free to do what you want as long as you do it in here' - and that is the frustration that your voice means nothing."
Josh Homme recalled to Mojo magazine September 2010: "Nick (Oliveri) and I had gone out to Joshua Tree just before New Years, 2000, and stayed at a place called 29 Palms Inn. Out of that came 'Feel Good Hit Of The Summer' and 'Quick And To The Pointless.' 'Feel Good Hit' was such a great way to start that record. It said, 'Look out, here we come.'"
Homme discussed the experimental elements of Rated R with Mojo:"I used to make mix tapes for my girlfriends and friends - Can next to Bjork and Slayer and Hasil Adkins - and I wanted my own record to be like the mix tapes I was making. On Rated R I wanted to play a love song and a paranoid song and an art song and a heavy song - all on one record. There's this unseeable force wants you to conform, and I was fighting that. We'd try anything we thought was 'wrong'. We'd experiment on anything. On ourselves too. We got ourselves in an otherworldly state."
Both Kerrang and NME made Rated R #1 in their Top Albums of 2000 list. The record also came #2 in Mojo's list.