Sound — 9
Chance's are if you're a QOTSA fan, you've listened to "Songs for the Deaf" (an album that some consider to be their magnum opus) all the way through a couple times. The album had a nasty driving sound to it, fitting as it was a loose concept album based around driving through the California desert. "...Like Clockwork" has the same driving force to it, although lacking the concept and spiced up with a filling serving of space-like songs to really get your man/lady parts trembling. Five out of the ten songs on the album have been previewed through the animated music videos released throughout the week. However, these previews do little justice to the album as a whole. "...Like Clockwork" has a lot of content fit into only 45 minutes of music. When you listen to an album, it's easy to categorize the entire album into one genre of music. On a second listen, you can start to flesh out songs and start putting them into the filing cabinet of sub-genres. What makes "...Like Clockwork"'s track list so unique, is that within the first three tracks, you'll realize that this album is simply a coin; one side is the dirty hash smeared side you found in your basement while looking for meter money, the other side is one that speaks to you prophetically, wondering of its identity as a coin while you sink into your chair in a haze of LSD and weed. This was my initial feel as I jammed to the sludgy "Keep Your Eyes Peeled," the "Songs for the Deaf" callback "I Sat By The Ocean," the stoner ballad "The Vampyre Of Time and Money," the riff-tastic jam "If I Had A Tail" and onto premiere single and only full released song, "My God is the Sun." As I continued through the album though, it didn't feel like I was simply flipping this strange coin and wondering what would come up next. The album is well paced, pumping you up and getting you head banging along. And once you start to feel your neck get sore, it busts out a sexy atmospheric tune. It's this album progression that made even the tired My God is the Sun feel new and fresh. This song is also the climax, but like a massage from the flexible and young mei-mei, its not an ending you won't love. The three songs not yet heard, "Fairweather Friends," "Smooth Sailing," and title track "...Like Clockwork," keep whats been good going. Friends has the legendary Elton John making the song his bitch with some great piano riffing. Sailing smells of influence from Homme's contemporaries, sporting a hip-hop feel with his signature fuzzy guitar and croon. "Clockwork" is the ending ballad in the likes of "Vampyre" that puts the focus on Homme's lovely vocals. Its a fitting end to the album that doesn't sound like anything else on the album, or really in QOTSA's discography (at least to me).
Lyrics — 9
I'm not one to focus too hard on the lyrics, so this section may not be a good representation of the lyrics on the album. They're pretty good. NEXT. Oh f--k a minimum? Well okay... Joshua Homme isn't a songwriter that I would think of if I was asked about deep mature lyrics. Then again, I know as much about lyrics as I do milking cows, that is to say, I've practiced on other mammals, but this says nothing to whether I can do the real thing. One of the themes that definitely stuck out to me was... MINIMUM REACHED. Short and sweet: Homme showcases his signature, wide ranged vocals throughout the album, some great tunes are "...Like Clockwork," "Vampyres," and "I Appear Missing."
Overall Impression — 9
Overall, it's an album I can only categorize in one way: Sexy. QOTSA has done an amazing job with advertising and teasing listeners, which always leads to the worry of over-hype. Homme doesn't disappoint however, with the music videos providing an excellent tease of the album without giving away too much. If there is one bad element to "...Like Clockwork," is the over hype of the collaborators. The likes of Jake Shears, Elton John, Trent Reznor, Alex Turner, and even Nick Oliveri and Mark Lanegan don't seem to add a noticeable contribution to the album. It's a sign, and a good one at that, that Joshua Homme has a good handling of these star studded musicians in the studio. Yet I'm sure these songs would sound much different without the collaborators; it's impossible to know unless we traveled back in time. It is a must-buy for any fan and definitely worth checking out if you're not a fan, yet. I will be actually buying it when it officially comes.