Queens of the Stone Age
...Like Clockwork


5.0
classic

Review

by SowingSeason STAFF
May 4th, 2019 | 102 replies


Release Date: 2013 | Tracklist

Review Summary: One of the greatest rock albums of all time.

I didn’t know quite what I had stumbled onto when I first purchased …Like Clockwork. I was making the summer pass by helping my dad rebuild our deck, and I spent most of my mornings priming and painting wooden boards in my parent’s basement. Amid the humidity and cloud of fumes, I’d take the crappy old stereo player that used to belong to me when I was thirteen, dust it off, and pop this record in on repeat. I didn’t have a lot of time for music in 2013. I was teaching, trying to make extra money in the summer to pay for an engagement ring I couldn’t afford, and not really staying up-to-date on new musical releases. I must have listened to …Like Clockwork fifty times that summer, and I grew fond of the feeling I’d get when that dirty groove would kick in on ‘Keep Your Eyes Peeled.’ It always got me hyped to get my ass in gear – to put in the work for whatever project I happened to be in the middle of that day.

Outside of an appreciation for the sheer amount of time that I shared with it though, …Like Clockwork didn’t fully register with me until about a year ago. It happened amidst the general realization that I was digesting music faster than I could appreciate it; albums I’d hail as a classic would be old news a few weeks later as I moved on to the latest and greatest. It left me with a bit of a hollow feeling; like somehow my critiques were diminished by the fact that they were so transient in nature. How could I possibly affix an esteemed status to an album that I couldn’t be bothered to pay more than a handful of listens to? In what amounted to rebellion by retreat, I reverted to the musical fetal position and closed myself off to Spotify and Apple. I rifled through a bunch of old boxes in my storage, located …Like Clockwork, and put it in a good old fashioned CD player. I don’t mean to sound overdramatic, but what happened next restored my faith in music.

…Like Clockwork took me back in time. When the opening riff to ‘Keep Your Eyes Peeled’ began, I could smell the paint and feel the sweat on my forehead as I nailed boards together. It transported me to a simpler time – when saving money meant working odd jobs for my parents and neighbors, and when buying an album meant something because you were forced to spend time with it for better or worse, rather than streaming and disposing of artists’ hard work faster than anyone could possibly process it on a meaningful level. The album’s back half also became illuminated for the modern rock masterpiece that it is. It was suddenly obvious that ‘My God is the Sun’ straight through to the closing track featured six of the greatest rock songs I’d ever heard in my life; all on the same album, all in succession. How did I not notice that before?

To me, that’s what a classic is though. It’s an album that you can appreciate on one level at a certain time in your life, and then in looking back on it fondly, uncover things that you never realized about it before – like the funky, groovy beat in ‘Smooth Sailing’ that is virtually impossible not to strut to, like you’re up to no good. It’s being able to hear ‘Kalopsia’ or ‘Fairweather Friends’ with fresh ears and realize just how addicting the choruses are. My old memories swirled together with an updated perspective, forming a whole new tour de force as well as a stronger appreciation for ... Like Clockwork in a modern context. If you ask me now, I’ll tell you with a straight face that this is one of the greatest rock albums of all time.

Out of the embarrassment of riches on display with …Like Clockwork, “I Appear Missing” is the track that I’ve always viewed as the epicenter of greatness; a six minute towering rock piece that features a swelling chorus which grows in intensity with every repetition, surrounded by addictive riffs and a mind-blowing drum-fill/piano interchange a little less than halfway through. The track reaches its undeniable zenith at the 4:20 mark, and continues right on through to the end with a complicated, wiry riff that’s joined in by an echoed, ghostly refrain of I never loved anything until I loved you. It’s everything Queens of the Stone Age have ever been, and likely all they ever will be encapsulated in one particular moment of rock mastery; one that I’d argue reaches historic levels of greatness. The whole experience then comes to a close with the elegant pianos, smooth/sprawling vocals, and winding electric guitars of the title track; a fitting end to the magic captured across …Like Clockwork’s impeccable back half.

This is now an album I associate with a lot of things. It’s no longer just about humble summers as a young adult trying to make ends meet - it represents the dividends paid by immersing yourself in a work for an extended period of time, whether it’s a home project or an album. It’s about putting in a real time commitment, and then looking back at the finished product years later with admiration as well as through a new lens. In this case, …Like Clockwork aged even better than wine, becoming a high water mark for rock in the 2010’s. It’s a genre-defining masterpiece, and one that I’ll always recall as the biggest grower of my life.



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user ratings (2499)
4.2
excellent
other reviews of this album
1 of
  • greg84 EMERITUS (4.5)
    QOTSA return with a bang, delivering a solidly constructed record that's imbued with seduc...

    SgtPepper EMERITUS (3.9)
    Josh Homme & Co. return with a stellar album that blends their many influences and idiosyn...

    Minus. (4)
    And like clockwork, QOTSA makes another solid album albeit slightly overrated....

    AaronBatt (4)
    The best rock album of 2013?...

  • MikeC26 (4)
    "if reason is priceless then there's no reason to pay for it."...

    BrianE (3.5)
    Queens of the Stone Age look to prove they're more than just a mere rock band....

    kvltwalter (3.5)
    Josh Homme looks to the past and mixes in a little bit of the darkness into their light, c...

    brandaao (4)
    ...Like Clockwork shows a band not afraid to take their characteristic sound and push it i...

  • bmon13 (5)
    One of the most important albums of my life (thus far)...

    FCY (4)
    Not your average everyday stoner....

    Alex445 (4)
    "I blow my load over the status quo."...

    jamiecoughlan (3)
    Middle of the road return from QOTSA, that they've been sliding toward for 8 years....

  • Geist (5)
    TL;DR: It's an incredible album that just got better with time and context....

    Paul4 (5)
    The seductive power and engaging Like clockwork .....


Comments:Add a Comment 
SowingSeason
Moderator
May 4th 2019


32734 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

I don't know, I felt like it.

Digging: Low Roar - ross.

bloc
May 4th 2019


58397 Comments


Haven't heard this in years

Digging: Black Devil Disco Club - Disco Club

Lucman
May 4th 2019


3511 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

This is a nice surprise. Spun this again just the other day and had to bump my rating. Such a groovy album

Digging: Origami Angel - Somewhere City

Observer
Staff Reviewer
May 4th 2019


7260 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

very important release for "rock" or whatever that still means, or for what it used to mean.

Digging: These Arms Are Snakes - Easter

SowingSeason
Moderator
May 4th 2019


32734 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Lol yeah it was hard to avoid the "bringing back rock n roll" cliche; in this case I think it was more of a last stand than a revival. In any case, this deserves to be held in very high esteem.

Observer
Staff Reviewer
May 5th 2019


7260 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

for sure. im not sure what my personal rating of it is yet, but yeah it ages so well.

TheMightyScoop
May 5th 2019


1433 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

this album is a great example of how you keep rock and roll alive in the modern day without sounding like a total cashgrab (gvf).

TalonsOfFire
Staff Reviewer
May 5th 2019


18884 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Great rev Sowing.

This is one of the last classic "rock n roll" albums for sure, and it's a big bonus how unique and artsy it is too without losing that spirit. It's slightly grown off me over the years but easily one of the best of the decade, lot of nostalgia attached to this one. According to last.fm it's in my top 10 most played albums of all time I think (doesn't factor any of my listens pre-2011 tho)

Digging: Lapalux - Amnioverse

SowingSeason
Moderator
May 5th 2019


32734 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Thanks Talons! Agreed that they do an incredible job of combining a classic rock sound with just enough experimentation to keep things interesting. Most of all, the songs just rule. I'm sure this is nowhere near my top-10 most played all time, alhtough I'm sure it is in the last year, which is when this really caught on for me.

JohnnyoftheWell
Contributing Reviewer
May 5th 2019


17563 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Oh damn too tired to read this properly rn but hyped to comb over it tomorrow, groovy album

Digging: Hakushi Hasegawa - Air Ni Ni

GooGooGajoob
May 5th 2019


213 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

God would I hate a world where this was the greatest rock record of all time.



It's excellent but don't live under a rock.

SowingSeason
Moderator
May 5th 2019


32734 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

I did say "one of the", but I stand by my opinion regardless.

GooGooGajoob
May 5th 2019


213 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

But its really not one of the best...maybe in a category of the biggest mainstream rock bands of current like Foo Fighters and whatever else that's hugely popular, it could be argued the best modern record of that bubble.

SowingSeason
Moderator
May 5th 2019


32734 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

I mean I get that point of view, although I'd assert that the truly innovative "great" rock bands tend to transcend the genre. For example I don't consider Pink Floyd "rock" so much as I do psychedelic/ progressive. So I'm probably pitting them against the kind of mainstream rock bands that you're currently imagining. Either way I enjoy this enough to say it's one of my "favorites", independent of objective instrumental criticism at al.

Morningrise767
May 5th 2019


1071 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Album is one of the best modern rock albums agreed!

Trebor.
Staff Reviewer
May 5th 2019


57023 Comments


never bothered with this band. The term rock just sort of leaves a bad taste in my mouth

Digging: Counterparts - Nothing Left to Love

Gyromania
May 5th 2019


28946 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

agreed

TalonsOfFire
Staff Reviewer
May 5th 2019


18884 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

It's definitely one of the best rock albums of the 2010s. I shouldn't say it grew off me, just in the past 6 years since this was released I've discovered so much other stuff too

SowingSeason
Moderator
May 5th 2019


32734 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

To me this is like modern rock in its purist form and that's a huge plus. Most straightforward rock today is 70-s worshipping try-hard stuff, or grungy radio garbage. Again I'm mostly referring to mainstream, which QOTSA certainly are. But regardless this is an amazing batch of songs, and that's all that truly matters.

luci
May 5th 2019


11970 Comments


on my decade to-check list, the rock with no qualifiers tag has always put me off



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