This is the story of a band that had a fun sound and then sold it all for "critical acclaim" becoming an incredibly boring band in the process. First off, I don't hate them for expanding their sound or going in a different direction or whatever you want to call it. I am, however, disappointed in what I saw as a decent and maybe eventually very good rock 'n' roll band succumb to the contemporary music scene and forget to at least have some fun (or at least interesting) songs. Let us begin with their first album from way, way back in 2003. The world was a different place then, simpler, seemingly without a care in the world. Kings of Leon released "Youth & Young Manhood" in the summer and looked like a new, young band with a lot of promise.
I saw a review of the record in Rolling Stone and decided I would pick it up despite having never heard of them. Boy was I pleasantly surprised! The record benefited from catchy tunes in a garage rock style with some southern flavor thrown in. Most of the songs were high energy rave-ups, like a combination of the (not at all angry) Stooges and (eh) Strokes. I had high hopes for the next record. But when that record came out I was a bit disappointed. There were a few good tracks and even with it's more laid back different feel, I enjoyed it.
Then, in what I will call "The Strokes Syndrome," they decided to leave any bit of coolness behind and focus on trying to be the most indie. However, unlike the Strokes, people actually liked it! Sadly, those people were retarded. The third Kings of Leon record was almost universally indie-d out and boring. Sad indeed.
So here we are. A new Kings of Leon record and the cool kids are eating it up. I saw the band on Saturday Night Live last night and was amazed at what they had transformed into. The songs sounded like U2 and Toto and [insert trendy, possibly decent indie band here] had a horrible, skinny-jeans-wearing baby. The first single, "Sex on Fire," HAS NO SOUL.
And to think, they could have been a good band. Well, some people think they are. And they are the ones who write the magazines and buy the records. Maybe I am not the target market. I just think that if you are going to make a boring, pretentious sounding record (and I do not even know what you do in a studio to make a record sound pretentious) then the lyrics better be damn good. But the lyrics on the new record are not anything special. So, to the Kings of Leon, as a band overall, I give two thumbs down out of five stars (for selling out). Have fun in one of the lower circles of hell, maybe (making bad indie records was in Dante's Inferno, right?).
There is a consolation prize for everyone who read this long: some of the songs from the first Kings of Leon record, "Youth & Young Manhood."
Red Morning Light
Actually, as I was writing this and listening to them, I don't think they were ever that great to begin with. Eh.