Saturday, October 23, 2010

In defense of Kings of Leon

I love the new Kings of Leon album Come Around Sundown. I love it because it sounds almost exactly like their last album Only By The Night. Except their last album was better. I think that's partly due to it being so different than their previous efforts. Still, and despite reading some well-argued lukewarm reviews from critics, I think the new album is great too. And while I do agree that Come Around Sundown is less impressionable than their last effort, I question the sincerity of old school Kings of Leon fans who are currently losing interest in the band.

If you disliked Only By The Night, you'll dislike Come Around Sundown. And to that I can only ask: why? What's wrong with a band evolving and polishing their sound? What's wrong with a band discovering and sticking with a style that works for them? Don't confuse well-produced with over-produced. Don't confuse popularity with selling out. Yes, Kings of Leon is a famous American rock band now. DEAL WITH IT.

I'm ecstatic that a talented rock band can be heard on our radio stations and also do well overseas. Yes, I do have fairly mainstream taste. It's no secret...just take a look at all my music posts! But I try to stay open to all sounds. I especially try to stay open to any direction a band that I love moves toward or decides to stick with (I'll also be the first to criticize if that direction sucks). So if Kings of Leon wants to continue making accessible, polished, country-influenced rock music, then I'm thrilled to listen! If you're not into their sound anymore, that's fair. Taste is taste. Opinions are opinions. Music is subjective. But don't diss their new album (or their last album) because you only dig obscure, indie rock and can't handle listing a famous band as one of your favorite artists.

With that said, for those of you who did love Only By The Night, and don't mind two consecutive albums being similar, I highly recommend Come Around Sundown. I especially love these tracks: The End, The Face, and The Immortals. But the whole album is solid. You can currently download it for $7.99 on the Kings of Leon website here.

Also, they'll be on SNL tonight! So catch their performance!

Oh! Just one last important comment: Caleb Followill's voice is still gut-wrenchingly sexy. I want to have sex with it so badly. Not even him, just his singing voice. Yeah, I wanna be his microphone.


Steve G. said...

I think part of it stems from listener fatigue. I feel like I heard "Sex On Fire" and "Use Somebody" a million times in 2008 and 2009, and they already have a new album out that sounds pretty similar for 2010? If you're not going to significantly change your sound, you might want to take a bit more time between albums. (I'd offer the same advice to Weezer, a band I love.)

Castling said...

See I HATE Weezer because their sound changed too quickly and drastically for me. I loved their first 2 albums but I abhor anything after Pinkerton. And I've fully given up on them as a band. In fact, I'd say it's insanely insulting to Kings of Leon to even bring up Weezer to make a comparison.

But my entire point is that it's all so subjective. I'm ok with two similar sounding albums, coming out close together, because I can listen to a song or album that I love over and over again without it getting played out for me. And while I pay attention to what gets played on the radio or at clubs, I don't really feel as though I'm a slave to it--I listen to whatever I want to listen to because I know how to turn off/tune out DJ's playlists.

FYI, I do find your point to be completely justified. I think you have a pure and valid reason for taking issue with their new album.

Steve G. said...

@ Castling - Sorry, I was just using Weezer as an example, because they were the first band that jumped to mind that 1) released albums at a pretty brisk pace and 2) had a pretty similar sound from album to album. If anything, I consider Pinkerton the outlier in their catalog, and I don't really think they've gone back to that sound since. It's probably hard to just keep making soul-crushing music without it seeping into or being a reflection of your life, a la Elliott Smith.

Castling said...

Oh I couldn't agree more with your last sentiment! I'm glad for Rivers' own sake that he is making happier music.