Queens of the Stone Age - ...Like Clockwork

Queens of the Stone Age
...Like Clockwork
Matador Records
(This might be the hardest review I’d ever had to write...)
I have to start by saying that I’ve always liked Queens of the Stone Age a lot and that “Songs for the Deaf” is one of my favorite albums of all time. So, you can imagine how excited I was to hear that bassist Nick Oliveri and drummer Dave Grohl would be joining the ranks of Queens of the Stone Age once again. The fact that big names like Mark Lanegan (Screaming Trees), Alex Turner (Arctic Monkeys) Trent Reznor (Nine Inch Nails), Jake Shears (Scissor Sisters), Brody Dalle (The Distillers and Homme’s wife), and Elton John would be joining forces as well was of course an added plus, but not as important as the “Songs for the Deaf” line-up.
I took my time with this album because I really wanted to do justice to it. There is no doubt that “...Like Clockwork” is a complicated record that requires to be heard a few times in order for one to make any remarks on it. I can’t remember exactly how many times I listened to it, it must have been at least 7, and I made sure to leave one to three days in between every time I would do so. Even after all those attempts my feelings are mixed. It’s definitely a good album, but it is not satisfying enough. The songs are all good but they lack spunk, or backbone, or whatever it is that makes a great album great.
First of all, let me just tell those who have not heard the album yet (in case there are still some of you out there): It is nothing like “Songs for the Deaf”. And that’s fine. I mean, what would be the point of that? I think everyone would be sorely disappointed if they tried to replicate any of their previous work.
I found “...Like Clockwork” to be a little uneven. I think that it’s the sort of record that everyone involved had a great time experimenting whilst making it, but this fun does not work that well to the listener. I’m guessing that, for example, “The Vampyre of Time and Memory” may look great on paper, but it tends to get a bit boring when you listen to it. Please don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying there are any bad songs in there, I’m just saying that none of them are what I would call “a damn great song that I could listen to twice in a row”. I can respect the band’s lack of interest in writing a hit song that could easily be played on the radio, but at the same time, it’s never a good thing when none of the tracks in a whole album stands out from the rest.
Finally, even though songs like: “Keep Your Eyes Peeled”, “I Sat by the Ocean” and “My God is the Sun” carry the “Queens of the Stone Age stamp”, what I really missed in “...Like Clockwork” contrary to the band’s previous work was the general fun aspect of their music. I have come to like Queens of the Stone Age not just because of their composing and musical abilities, but also because of their fun-loving mentality. This side of them is somewhat lacking in this album. It goes without saying that Queens of the Stone Age have the right to grow up at some point and produce a mature album. All I’m saying is that, I for one expect a little tongue-in-chick humor from a Queens of the Stone Age record.