As we hurtle into the last quarter of 2013, an exciting year for music, Id like to have a look back at one of the best albums of the year alongside the explosive return of Bowie and the brave new stepping stone from Arctic Monkeys Like Clockwork. Considering it was only released three months ago, it already feels cemented in contemporary music as Queens of the Stone Ages masterpiece; a diverse and yet consistent work of art drawing on many new styles and featuring some of Josh Hommes richest and most eloquent writing, all tied together with a smattering of crushing riffs and haunting melodies. Let us take a look at each individual track, all ten of which bring an independent integral slice of what makes this album such an accomplishment. Keep Your Eyes Peeled Keep Your Eyes Peeled would be best described as a leering back-alley brute that shrieks like a hellish behemoth emerging from a sooty inner-city bar with a nuclear vengeance that any self-respecting citizen avoids like the plague. Incidentally, right there is a word that describes this song better than any combination of others: plague. And its all the better for it. A real hard-rock cruncher, this Rottweiler of an opener doesnt so much set the tone for the album as it does throw it into question what do we expect next after this almost frighteningly uncharacteristic turn from a band best known for writing high-energy stoner rock classics with lyrics as diverse and introspective as Nicotine, Valium, Vicadin, marijuana, ecstasy and alcohol? I Sat By the Ocean A few notes into this comparatively bubbly second track and we already understand why we shouldve taken heed of its predecessors warning: keep your eyes peeled. From a band masterminded by a man as intelligent as Josh Homme, we shouldve seen the red herring coming. Far from the blood-and-guts horrorshow that opens 'Like Clockwork', I Sat By the Ocean is a bonafide pop song perhaps the poppiest territory QOTSA have ever covered; and it sounds just beautiful; an infectious twang, swooning vocals, a catchy chorus and an absolute corker of a middle eight. For an album to sound this exciting already before its even got to the meat of what its about Hommes physical (and musical) rebirth after a routine knee operation gone wrong resulting in a coma with one hell of a hangover is quite fascinating.
A mythical hedonist, a chronic solipsist, a poet armed with a mouth full of adjectives, a brain full of adverbs and a box full of laxatives. Writing words in a language that isn't real to impress people that I invented since The Big Bang.