Though their sound may remind you of the Clinton Administration, on … Like Clockwork, Queens of the Stone Age deliver a quality album that entertains without gimmicks or tricks. Music critics, in their heroic efforts to dissect music, often go astray. As they crucify or exalt or shrug at the music that they are reviewing, they often forget that, at the end of the day, what they are writing about is entertainment. And while pop musicians may provide us with important messages, enhance our livelihoods with their musical genius, create music that resonates deep within our psyches, or inspire homicides (shame on you, Metallica), they are, in the end, entertainers. If the music critic forgets this then the results may be detrimental. A lack of self-awareness is often the father of pretentious babble.
So then, what does this have to do with … Like Clockwork? Like much of the band’s previous music, the album wreaks of nineties alternative rock. Frontman Josh Homme’s vocals are reminiscent of Chris Cornell. The band’s earnest hard rock sounds similar to popular rock groups of the mid to late nineties, from the Smashing Pumpkins to Rage Against the Machine.
But what separates Queens of the Stone Age from the more party friendly sound of these latter groups is the clear psych and funk influences in their music. These influences give it a strange (almost industrial) danceability that sets them apart from a music industry that sees the more conventional ‘rock’ sound fading away. Bands like Queens are becoming more rare. For fans of traditional metal and rock, in their most general sense, the album will be a knarly time. As the popularity of these genres fades, the album’s position within the current climate of pop music is more intriguing than what it sounds like. … Like Clockwork does not disappoint- it is a nice collection of stoner rock tunes- but it’s release in today’s day and age is a clear reminder of how popular music taste has shifted, and the meaning of this change may provide insights into wider changes in the American pop-cultural psyche. In some circles, nostalgia for the glory days of rock continues to thrive. And while rock fans may appreciate the constant flow of bravado, the more interesting question is why the genre still remains popular and what the future holds for it.