on 23 October 2010
Going on what I know of Only By The Night's deluxe edition, I wasn't expecting a 'disc 2' but even so, I felt this was underwhelming. Knowing who's likely to buy this album, it's obviously just an easy & cynical way to make a lot more money. The deluxe version of Radioactive could well have been included on the album (This version includes the choir to a greater extent) & the remix of Closer isn't even worth including. Additionally, it wasn't made explicit what the deluxe edition would include and anyone hoping for 'My Third House' or 'Beneath The Surface' will be dissapointed.
The product aside, the album is definitely growing on me. At first listen it certainly wasn't as 'Here we are!' astounding as previous KoL releases, it seems to proceed at a steady, safe pace. 'The End' for example, relies on tried & tested formula, but makes it no less impressive and visceral sound-wise - thanks in no small part to Jared's stunning bass work (Great all across the album!); a personal highlight of the album. The first single, 'Radioactive' is a safe effort with enough nice little touches, which Kings of Leon seem to be including more & more of. Tracks like 'Pony Up' & 'Beach Side' are genuinely fresh & new for The Kings which make this album a worthwhile buy.
I'd agree with some other critiques of this album; at times too much of a conscious effort to return to the southern 'roots' and the 'beachy' sound is at times more gimmicky than necessary. This said, it's ridiculous to discard this album as an attempt to extend the worldwide success of Only By The Night or to reclaim the fans of Aha Shake Heartbreak. This album does sit prettily in the now five strong catalogue, with great details that require a few listens, but I did expect the songs to be more individual and not so evidently thematic.
on 1 November 2011
There are a few outstanding tracks on this album. Overall, it's pretty dull and uninspiring, I think everyone including myself expected more.
On the day of release, I eagerly logged onto the Itunes Store to listen to the previews. Now, if you go and do this, you will notice nearly every track sounds the same, which shocked me, as they've always had many different styles on one album, especially in Only By The Night with the likes of 17, Notion and Use Somebody. After this disappointment, I decided I should probably not judge by previews, as they're generally quite deceptive with only 30 seconds of the song. My fiance bought me this for Christmas, and my first listen to it was while I had the flu, lucky me, and only a few tracks made me go 'wow'.
Below is the track listing and my opinions on all of the songs.
1. The End.
One of my three favourites of the album. Such a powerful bassline and beautiful, beautiful guitar playing. I like how Jared's chords fit in perfectly with Caleb's singing and the pauses. I like the lyrics in this song and the way they are sung, especially parts like "Said I ain't got a home, I'll forever roam.." It's a fantastic, start to the album, and leaves you with high hopes for the rest of it. I also liked the ironic song name, and the variety of instruments used in the composition. The ending of the song is absolutely beautiful. Overall, it's an amazing song, just what I wanted to hear from them.
The first single from CAS. I was so, so, so excited to see on the music channels "New Kings of Leon Video Exclusive." Admittedly, it's not the best song ever. Yes, it's upbeat and happy but it's nothing in comparison to some of their old greats. It's extremely overrated, although listenable and enjoyable, it's nothing like their old singles like Molly's Chambers or The Bucket.
The second single from this album. I love this song, it's composed so beautifully with gentle bass and guitar in the background with a soft drum beat. "Everything I cherished is slowly dying or is gone.." is probably my favourite line as he sings it with such conviction. The song is sung with lots of emotion, which is odd considering it's about the FBI killing Christians that lived on a mountain...
It reached number 69 in the UK singles chart, which shows me it's not mainstream enough for the chav public to enjoy it, so that adds to my enjoyment.
One of those filler songs that people don't really like. It's alright, but a bit too boring for my liking. Guitar is very, very basic as is the entire composition of the song in general.
5. The Face.
Without a doubt, this is my favourite. Beautiful would be an understatement. This is 3:28 of heaven, in my opinion. Jared and Matthew both showcase their guitar playing talent, throughout, with a strong bassline and passionate riffs throughout, and Caleb shows how raw and incredible his voice is. Such a deep, heartfelt song, which is nice to have on the album. If you're emotional when you listen to it, there will be tears if you think of your loved one. "Ride out the wave..."
6. The Immortals.
A mainstream song, which I guessed would be their next single, and so it happens, it is their third from this album. I'd like to say it's one of my favourites, but it doesn't even touch 1, 3 or 5. It's a feel-good song, with some nice guitar playing, emotional singing and a really cool instrumental between verses.
7. Back Down South.
I love the way this song really shows off where the Kings are from, just the sound of it, and the crowd of Southeners cheering at the end. It's a nice song, listenable, but not as good as my three favourites, but much better than most that follow it. From here on gets a bit boring for me.
8. Beach Side.
I love the start of this song, you know that it's Beach Side. It, like the album as a whole, is a feel good song. I like the guitar and bass in it, and it's a listenable song. Very, very unlike KoL though.
9. No Money.
These last 5 songs all blend into one for me, as I felt they were quite similar. I love the backing vocals in it though during the chorus, and Caleb's voice works perfectly with the music. Didn't really appreciate the two unnecessary swears though...
10. Pony Up.
The reason I like this song is probably because of the hoof like noise at the beginning, because I know it's Pony Up. I also like the guitar throughout and the bass sounds fantastic. Yet again, quite different.
I must admit, I do quite like this song, especially the chorus. I'm not sure why, probably because it's a happy song and yet again, the bass and guitar are great.
12. Mi Amigo.
This is simply just a listenable song. The only thing I can really say about it is that I like Caleb's voice in it, and Matthew's guitar playing is awesome during the bridge/chorus.
13. Pickup Truck.
I like the beginning, unusual start with a mini riff and bass strum. I like the chorus, simply because it has emotion in it, and Caleb's voice sounds great, as well as a strong drum beat from Nathan and a brilliant combination of bass and guitar. I also like the parts between the verses, as they sound really good. It has a nice powerful end as well, which slowly gets quieter with less and less instruments until it fades out.
Overall, an odd album from the Kings. Completely different from their usual stuff.
My stand-out tracks are definitely: The End, Pyro, The Face and Pickup Truck. They would be the only reason I'd recommend this album to a friend, as they'd be better off listening to Because of the Times, to get a good feel of the band.
On another note, I like the simplistic album artwork, and love the yellow palm tree design on the disk.
If you're not going to buy or download the album, at least listen to the three I've recommended; you won't regret it.
on 27 October 2010
I had read a lot of reviews before purchasing this album, and to be honest I was a bit put off. After playing it for a day I realized I shouldn't have been worried at all; this is an excellent album by one of the most unique bands of the last 20 years.
Some reviewers have called the album bland and accused it of having many tracks sounding the same, I couldn't disagree more. There are many influences that ring through on this album, from the 50's diner sound of 'Mary', to the heavy country sound of the excellent 'back down south'. 'Beach side' has a surf music feel to it and 'Mi amigo' has a reggae type of guitar throughout. No matter which song is on, the sound will be what the KOL have consistently delivered; heavy bass-lines, infectious guitar, quality drumming and raw, honest lyrics, but as with all the KOL releases, the package is greater than the sum of its parts.
As one reviewer has already stated, the 'sex on fire', 'notion', 'fans' and 'four kicks' anthem style tracks are not here with the exception of 'radioactive'. But, the songwriting on here is of a really high standard and reminds me more of 'because of the times'(my personal favorite) rather than 'only by the night', and in my opinion this album is much better than the last.
I love the album. I've had it for almost a week and its been played every day and it is quality from start to finish. Play any song and you'll know you are listening to the Kings of Leon, immediately. Even with all the influences on the album, every track is stamped with the distinct KOL sound; their essence is in every song. Listen to the album; I'm sure you'll buy it after you have.
on 19 October 2010
If you were hoping for Youth & Young Manhood... look elsewhere. If you hoping for Aha Shake Heartbreak... look elsewhere. If you were hoping for Because Of The Times... look elsewhere. If you were hoping for Only By The Night... you're in luck!
Come Around Sundown pretty much follows on from their 4th album. It is still a good album in some respects but when they have set their level so high with the first 3 albums this just doesn't sit right. You can tell they have tried to rediscover their magic by creating good basslines and nice KOL signature guitar sounds, but their gritty upbeat tempo and rough snappy lyrics are replaced by a clean layered sound and long drawn out yelps which start to make each song sound a bit similar and repetative, and quite frankly a waste of a good tune in some cases.
Structurely the songs have become more "radio friendly" instead of their usual unstructured and not so obvious choruses which in my opinion created their unique sound and made them poles apart from anything around. The Followill's turned up nose to normal structured songs created their loyal fan base from the begining and you can see why they are starting to lose patience with what is being created of late.
As i said before, it isn't a bad album and there are some good sounds made throughout, it's just hampered by Caleb's drawn out yelps which don't suit his style of voice and makes some songs repetative. The End, Pyro and The Face sound extremely similar due to this and although good sounds are made by their instruments, vocally it sounds lazy, probably because he ad libbed majority of the album instead of the tried and tested they have readily prepared for recording. Back Down South is the most stripped back track on the album but in the company of the other songs it makes it sound like they are trying a little to hard to go "back to their roots".
In my opinion the second half of the album is closer to the older KOL and more them in general, with slightly rougher quitars, better structures and upbeat lyrics (not so many yelps) Track 7 to 13 are a better listen and the key songs for earlier followers are No Money, Pony Up, Birthday, Mi Amigo and maybe Pick Up Truck if it takes you're fancy.
In all it's a mixed affair with some good things going for it but it is put together far to crisply and the songs sound to clean for it to be a classic Kings Of Leon album. It will please some, mainly the more recent followers, radio listeners and Radio 1 followers (KINGS OF REPETITIVE SONG PLAY, WHICH IN TURN KILLS ANYTHING REMOTELY GOOD AND CONSTANTLY PLAYING ELECTRONIC, N-DUBZ, JLS, X-FACTOR TRASH! excluding Zane Lowe and the odd DJ who play different music now and again) but it will also lose some of the earlier fans because it doesn't quite have the same cool, who cares type attitude that came from the start.
I have just downloaded a song called Celebration from the Deluxe Edition which has given me hope that they still have what it takes and all is not lost! This has genuinely given me a warm feeling inside because i was starting to worry that their genuine sound which has alludded them of late is still clinging on. Lets hope that after this album they take a break, relax, go to church and come back creating something thats more in fitting and more of a progression from their first 3 albums + Celebration. I live in hope with my fingers crossed.
on 19 October 2010
I have been a KOL fan since day one and to be honest have enjoyed their steady progression in seven short years. Aha-Shake Heartbreak is my favorite record, but i have enjoyed everything they have produced. Only By the Night was a shift away from the chuggy swamp garage sound, but was a pretty obvious direction post Because of the Times (awesome album), and at the end of the day a good record. I agree with a few of the magazine reviews like Q that Come Around Sundown is a consolidation album. It was never going to stray too far from the Only By the Night formula, but is certainly reigning things in a little. Its a good follow up with some top tunes and is consistent from start to finish. I think their next record will be the interesting one. I also think Come Around Sundown may be a grower for the older fans. I picked my copy up yesterday and had it on repeat through the day, and by the days end was pretty impressed. Pyro is a stand out, as is No Money, Pony Up and Pick Up Truck. Not a dud track really. Yeah they could have freaked things up a bit, but be patient, the boys have only been with us since 2003 and have managed to produce five quality records in that time. I think we'll see a progressive leap on the next one, akin to that between Aha-Shake and Because of the Times. Any KOL record is a much appreciated effort when compared to much of the average fodder out there. Long live the Kings!
on 28 October 2010
Like so many others I have loved KOL's first 3 albums and even though 'only by the night' was more commercial, still really loved that. They could do no wrong in my eyes.
The major disappointment for me was prior to this albums release, KOL came out and said "we are going back to doing what we did before and shifting away from the commercially successful last album". This was exactly what I wanted to hear and was so excited about this album.
This album isn't bad because they have tried to be more 'radio-friendly' or 'commercial'. It's bad because the songs are so boring. The pace of each song, apart from Radioactive, is slow and mellow and like so many others that have reviewed this album, each song sounds like the next. I have tried to let it grow on me, but after 10 or so tries, it hasn't.
The people that have given this album 5 stars, well maybe you have a different taste in music to me but I ask you to listen to Youth and Young Manhood and tell me that this album is not bland, slow and boring in comparison.
Maybe I would like it had I not loved their previous work?? I doubt it though.