Kings of Leon Return to their Roots with ‘Mechanical Bull’
There’s nothing pretentious or overly complex about Kings of Leon. Their lyrics are beautifully uncomplicated; their music, graceful and soulful; and their range of styles can masterfully fit any mood you are in. They have catchy tunes, and their songs hit close to home. On that note, we get the feeling our Artist of the Week have been on a journey that’s finally brought them back to their roots.
Kings of Leon’s newest album, Mechanical Bull, is about wrestling with personal demons, but it is more than that—it’s about redemption and remembering life’s treasures: love, sex, music, self-sacrifice, being yourself, letting go and forgiving, overcoming your own stupidity, moving on when it’s time, and (simply) coming home.
They take you on a tour of their past transgressions (drinking, fighting, lusting for everything), while showing you how they’ve emerged from it; perhaps scarred, but with a renewed sense of vitality. Throughout the ride, they dip in and out of multiple styles, always standing out with lead singer Caleb Followill’s subtle drawl and occasional, signature voice-crack.
They successfully weave explosive chart-toppers (“Supersoaker”)—its catchy choruses accompanied by guitar and xylophone jingles—with slow, soft ballads (“Beautiful War”) about the importance of fighting for love (bolstered by angelic guitar riffs over rolling drumbeats). They fuse what many call “arena rock” (“Work on Me” – the classic KOL sound), with funk-like sing-alongs (“Family Tree”), grungy garage tracks (“Don’t Matter”), and, of course, “southern rock” (“Rock City,” “On the Chin”).
You get the sense that Kings of Leon have turned the page into a third, or maybe fourth, chapter in their lives and careers, and are now very comfortable in their skin. Their genuineness translates into a well-crafted and satisfying new release. One day you’ll be telling jaw-dropped people how you saw Kings of Leon live. If you missed them at the Global Citizen Festival in Central Park last month, you can still catch them playing Austin City Limits this weekend.
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Article by Phillip Thompson