Queens Of The Stone Age - '...Like Clockwork' - Track By Track Analysis


rating: 4.5

As we hurtle into the last quarter of 2013, an exciting year for music, I€™d 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 Age€™s masterpiece; a diverse and yet consistent work of art drawing on many new styles and featuring some of Josh Homme€™s 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 it€™s all the better for it. A real hard-rock cruncher, this Rottweiler of an opener doesn€™t 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 €œNicotine, 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 should€™ve taken heed of its predecessor€™s warning: keep your eyes peeled. From a band masterminded by a man as intelligent as Josh Homme, we should€™ve 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 it€™s even got to the meat of what it€™s about €“ Homme€™s 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.