Queens of the Stone Age: …Like Clockwork
When Queens of the Stone Age released their last album, 2007’s Era Vulgaris, no one seemed particularly impressed. While that album certainly wasn’t their best, it was hard to put your finger on why. That is, until you listen to …Like Clockwork. Start right from the beginning. “Turning on the Screw” was a good enough song, but something just felt off. When you put the disc in your CD player and pressed play you thought, “Wait, this is the new QOTSA album?” “Keep Your Eyes Peeled,” however, is a proper Track 1. It’s kind of eerie yet completely enticing. It’s a groovy slow-burner that proves a song doesn’t need to be bludgeoning to be heavy. We go straight from this song to “I Sat By the Ocean,” a radio-friendly pop song that still has balls.
Other highlights include the phenomenal single “My God is the Sun” and “Kalopsia,” a gorgeous, spacey ballad with a humongous chorus and the voice of Trent Reznor blending with Josh Homme’s. The fact that I said “ballad” might seem strange and indeed there are multiple songs here that could be classified as such. The title track in particular is disarmingly naked and perhaps the most serious song the band has ever recorded. But don’t worry, the guys still know how to have fun. “Smooth Sailing” is totally raunchy, with a robo-sex beat and guitar parts that make me smile. Plus, there’s a song called “If I Had a Tail.”
Really every song is a highlight and that’s why this is their best reviewed album since Songs For the Deaf. It’s not the plethora of guests. Much fuss was made over Elton John’s guest spot, but he’s hidden almost as well as Rob Halford was on Rated R. They may be The Yardbirds of drummers, having three top-shelf skin-pounders on one record, but they sound completely focused. It’s this overall quality that will make …Like Clockwork hold up for a long time. You can already tell that many of these songs will be in Queens of the Stone Age’s setlists for a long time. You can’t say the same about Era Vulgaris.