Queens of the Stone Age
Like Clockwork

Matador (2013) Kevin Fitzpatrick

Queens of the Stone Age – Like Clockwork cover artwork
Queens of the Stone Age – Like Clockwork — Matador, 2013

"I blow my load over the status quo - here we go".

A reading from the book of Homme. 

It has been 6 since Queens of the Stone Age released their album Era Vulgaris. An album this reviewer gave a favorable rating, but admittedly didn't fully understand at the time of reviewing for this site. I couldn't fully grasp what the band was trying to achieve at the time and when it finally dawned on me and It took everything in my power to not delete what I had written and start over with a new sense of enlightenment.

Where once I was blind, I now can see, and the path is made clear with ...Like Clockwork. This is an album that is such a welcome sound for sore ears, it's almost enough to evoke tears of joy. ...Like Clockwork is the closest thing to a perfect album you're likely to hear all year. While Queens of the Stone Age has rarely been one to overstay their welcome with album or song length (this album clocks in at 45 minutes), the songwriting here is as tight as a snare drum. Every single riff, chord, solo, word and beat is absolutely necessary and exactly as long as it needs to be and not a nanosecond longer. To do this takes skill and precision beyond what the average songwriter will ever be capable of. 

It will be interesting to see what the long time Queens fans will think of ...Like Clockwork. This is a predominantly groove-oriented, well controlled album. Those looking for more quick-tempo chaos like "Six Shooter" should best look elsewhere. 

There has been a steady progression to every Queens of the Stone Age album and it has all culminated in ...Like Clockwork. If, God forbid this was to be the last ever Queens album, it could be the greatest coda ever produced. Here it is, track-by-track...

Keep Your Eyes Peeled
"Slowly, Can one so lost be found..."

The first of 3 songs to feature the now departed (not dead, mind you- just moved on) Joey Castillo. This song will be in your head for days. Very dark and foreboding, but as there's always been an underlying sensuality to all of Homme's writing, it still make you want to fuck.

I Sat By The Ocean
"Time wounds all the heals..."

Classic Queens. This one could have sounded right at home on Rated R. Another great Castillo offering.

The Vampyre of Time and Memory
"Does anyone ever get this right..."

A piano-driven masterpiece. Homme's voice has never sounded more beautiful. Some great bass work from Michael Shuman here.

If I Had A Tail
"In the land of the free, Lobotomy..."

An up-tempo number with some guest vocals from the Mrs, Brody Dalle and former Queens bassist, Nick Olivieri, whose subtle presence, as with all the guest musicians on this album, are to subtly, almost subconsciously enhance the whole, rather than fight for the spotlight.

My God Is The Sun
"Healing, like fire from above..."

The lead off single is a catchy little ditty and one of 6 of the album to feature Dave Grohl back in his rightful place on the (drum)throne. Of all the tracks Grohl is a part of, this one is the most evident of his style. His work as a whole on this album is somewhat of a departure, with more subtlety and nuance than much of his previous work.

"I'll make you so sad..."

A dreamy, swirling number that brings to mind a peaceful, serene ocean of calm before Homme steps on that pedal and reminds us of what the title of the song represents.

Fairweather Friends
"Well it ain't so long before the dawn..."

Great complimentary guitar work from Homme and Troy VanLeeuwen here. Guest vocalists Trent Reznor, Elton John and more, don't muddy the waters of this one.

Smooth Sailing
"Follow prescriptions of your bloated savior..."

A straight forward rocker making no apologies, with Homme never sounding more blatant in his shuffling groove. I'm pretty sure he recorded this track with his dick hanging out of his pants. This, folks is what happens when you hang out with Jesse Hughes.

I Appear Missing
"Pinned like a note on a hospital gown..."

This track sounds like an ominous cautionary tale of an unseen danger. Homme stalks the listener until the very end. Great slide work on this one.

...Like Clockwork
"Most of what you see my dear is purely for show - because not everything that goes around comes back around you know..."

Another piano ballad to round out the album with Homme providing some gentle falsetto that sounds so true, it almost sounds like Neil Young. This is the one and only song on the album to feature the new Queens drummer, Jon Theodore. It will be interesting as the band progresses what surprises Theodore will provide behind the kit. Known primarily for his work with The Mars Volta, one wouldn't think of him as the pocket drummer Queens of the Stone Age tend to employ, but when the hell have we ever known this Homme and co. to paint itself into any creative corner?

Queens of the Stone Age – Like Clockwork cover artwork
Queens of the Stone Age – Like Clockwork — Matador, 2013

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