…Like Clockwork is Queens of the Stone Age's sixth album and their first in six years. Spawned during a turbulent time, which included the departure of longtime drummer Joey Castillo and a near death experience for vocalist Josh Homme, their difficulties were the stimulus for record's name. "The inability for anything to go like clockwork was the inspiration for the album title," Homme laughed to MTV News. "It's because an inside joke; we'd have these great victories and then something would go south for a bit, and we'd go 'It's like clockwork!' I think a sick sense of humor is what's always been our preservation mechanism, so this time, we're using that sick sense of humor for a title."
The song finds Josh Homme concluding, "One thing that is clear, it's all downhill from here." NME commented to him that it was a pretty negative way to end the album. The Queens vocalist replied: "Funny you bring that up. Because it wasn't really for the Queens record. It was just so powerful that you couldn't look away, and I was talking to the band about that track and we were like 'Does anyone know what 'it's all downhill from here' means?' And we were like, 'Is it bad or good?' And we couldn't decide, so I Googled it and the internet didn't know either. So I actually thought it was a wonderful way to end the record, because the consensus among all of us was that it's up to you. So apparently you're quite a negative person. Because downhill is coasting, right?' But it's a phrase that sits on the fence. You need to decide which side you're gonna jump on. But you gotta jump."
UK artist Boneface created the artwork for the … Like Clockwork album. He told NME where the concept came from: "It's intended as a beautiful moment, romantic even, but there's a sense of threat there too. I tried to convey that if you want to make something really special, you'll usually have to get through some bad s–t to get there."
Queens of the Stone Age became king of the charts when …Like Clockwork became their first #1 album on the Billboard 200. The record also did well internationally, topping the charts in Ireland and Australia.
James Lavelle's string arrangement for this song broke new ground for QOTSA. Homme told Mojo magazine: "We've never been a big user of strings, 'cos I like horns more. There's tubas on the track, too. I'm a tuba man. James really wanted to give it that refined edge, and I wanted someone to blow into a giant metal tuba. We compromised and had both. For me, everyone uses strings, but James found a really good way to use them. We just decided, lets bury the band underneath a fleshy mass of horns and strings."
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