Kings of Leon: the new Kings of Pop?

Kings of Leon's album Because of the Times -- those were better times.

Yesterday was the day that the Kings of Leon decided to drop their new single from their upcoming album Come Around Sundown.  Yesterday was the day I was anticipating hearing this song, although I should have known better.  Being a pretty big fan of the band, I couldn’t help but become excited upon hearing the news that their new song was going to be played on the radio.  Everything in my being told me not to get my hopes up, not to expect anything exciting, anything less than — well, you get the picture.

And so there I was, sitting in my truck on my way to work and on comes Radioactive (click for link to song), their new single.  I kind of new what to expect because I had seen a trailer on Youtube regarding the making of the song and music video, and they had bits of the song playing during the 2-minute clip, yet I couldn’t help but feel let down.

You see, I was a fan of this band.  I still am, in a way.  I mean, it was only one song.

But based on this mediocre song at best, and based on the direction they were going with their last album, Only By the Night, I may be cutting the ties.  Unless, for whatever reason, there are a number of tracks on their upcoming album that can save it from going the way of their aforementioned previous album, which is the way of pop rock.

It’s not that I’m a hater of all pop rock, but if you know the Kings of Leon from their early days of Youth & Young Manhood, Aha Shake Heartbreak, and most of Because of the Times, you’ll know that they used to be different.  They were raw, energetic, bleak, jangly and honest.  A song like Joe’s Head has a sound you will likely never again hear from this band.  At least, I highly doubt it, now that they’ve become over-produced, eliminating any kind of raw intensity that captured my ears and kept me interested while I got to know this little family band from the south.  It’s all simply a matter of disappointment, and had I only heard perhaps their last album and this new song, I would likely feel differently, but that is not the case.

I’m sure this album will sell very well for the boys, and their next tour to support it will no doubt be very successful, selling out many arenas all over North America and Europe and wherever they decide to venture, and I’ll likely be there as well.  Not to revel in their recent successes, however, but to remember and hear the greatness that was this now band-of-the-masses.

Or maybe I’ll be wrong….. oh, how I hope this is the case.

To remember what the Followill boys used to do so well, I’ve compiled a brief list of their best songs, or what I feel are their best. If you do not know these songs, you are indeed missing out.

  1. Slow Night, So Long
  2. Trani
  3. Fans
  4. Knocked Up
  5. The Bucket
  6. On Call
  7. Ragoo
  8. Joe’s Head
  9. California Waiting
  10. Black Thumbnail

(Damn, that was a hard list to compile, too many great tunes.  Honourable mentions: Arizona, Sex On Fire, Soft, Closer.)


~ by DR on September 9, 2010.

5 Responses to “Kings of Leon: the new Kings of Pop?”

  1. Could not have said it better myself. I feel the same way you do about these guys. I feel like they’ve been sucked into the mainstream a little bit. Will always love them but just expected more and know that they are completely capable of better music. I will be at their show this time around, that is for sure. I had to enjoy there last tour on DVD. It was almost as good as live in my dad’s home theatre, after all I would argue that nothing beats a Klipsch sound system. Isaiah also thoroughly enjoyed it, which he wouldn’t have got to otherwise!
    To add to your list of besties, I would have included: True love way, wasted time, and genius. Otherwise my picks were all the same. FANS hands down one of my faves.
    They are still a great bad, just selling out a little bit too much for my liking.

    • Hehe, it’s funny you say “sucked into the mainstream a little bit”. I feel as though they have “sold out”. I know this is a snobby thing to say and it’s a broad term but I don’t know how else to explain it…
      You should definitely see them live, they sound amazing live! I wish they were a little more stage-active, but I guess you can’t have it all.
      That list of besties was hard to compose indeed. I love all those albums in their entirety, but Slow Night, So Long has been my favourite for some time, and was super stoked when they played it live! I think Fans could be their theme song, it’s that good; that or The Bucket. True Love Way is fantastic and so is Genius! Wasted Time is good too.

  2. Yeah, I find the newer Kings of Leon stuff is just a whole lot of of chorus and no verse. They tend to just wail the same lines over and over again while playing some very basic guitar. Not to mention that the lead singer’s voice is starting to grate on me. RIP Kings of Leon; another promising band sucked into the cesspool of mainstream pop music.

    • Shaun, I agree! It’s funny because Caleb’s voice was grittier and raspier on their older albums, and is now singing more “polished” than ever, but I prefer how he sounded before! I don’t know your knowledge of the band, but I highly recommend their first 3 albums if you haven’t heard much of them! Gotta love that cesspool of mainstream pop music, eh!?

  3. Yeah, It’s gotten worse than ever in the mainstream. At least the 80s and the 90s saw some thoughtful and meaningful pop tunes. The pop music of the new millennium is usually, lyrically, about partying, money; and/or cheesy love songs that make me wanna throw up. Basically as shallow as it comes. Well, it’s only following suit with television; it’s all about the almighty dollar. The easier it is to make that dollar the better too. The masses have been turned into mindless zombies by the dribble the media throws at them; so any song you can “kinda” tap your fingers too is acceptable. I mean honestly; rappers doing their “thang” with Justin Beiber; Tupac’s rolling in his grave.

    When it comes down to the wire, I believe the trend of shallowness in society is stemming from the fact that people can’t find real meaning in their lives in a fast-paced and unenlightening world; so they look for mediocre quick fixes to all their desires.

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