Kings of Leon – Mechanical Bull: Album Review

September 30, 2013 § Leave a comment

Kings-of-Leon-Mechanical-Bull

Kings of Leon‘s latest record Mechanical Bull is a big landmark for the Tennessee boys – it is their sixth album and it also marks their 10th year in the music industry since 2003’s Youth And Yound ManhoodMechanical Bull – released on September 24 – definitely shows the band’s maturity. Long gone are the days of drunken fits and misbehavior, the band is now married and focused on becoming one of this generation’s rock greats.

The album kicks off with “Supersoaker,” which immediately draws back to their original and very missed homegrown country sound – think a more grown-up Aha Shake Heartbreak. Caleb’s voice is the strongest its ever been while still maintaining that gravely emotion that we’ve all come to love, and it adds perfect to the foot stomping, clanky melody. Following is “Rock City” – an ’80’s glam rock stunner with a guitar riff that is kind of Guns N’ Roses-esque.

“Don’t Matter” is the boys’ take on Muse mixed with The Stooges; it’s very punkish complete with a sickening guitar riff from Matthew as well as raw lyrics: “I can fuck or I can fight, it don’t matter to me.”  Yet “Beautiful War,” an incredibly sappy country tune, is slightly snooze-worthy: “Bite your tongue, don’t let us end here/ Everybody’s been here at least once before/ We’ve been here more.”

The album’s slow-churning charmer, “Wait For Me”, a dusky love ballad that is set in mid-1970’s California and it has a Because of the Times vibes mostly thanks to the lyrics: “Gonna do what I’m told/ Go where I’m told and listen up/ Take a shot in the rain, walk for the pain.”

“Family Tree” is a “get down with the boogie” uptempo with a touch of funk. It is a perfect song to be replayed on the jukebox at a honky-tonk bar, with a whiskey in hand of course.

At one point in Mechanical Bull, the songs suddenly begin to meld together in a trite pile of sonic drainers – most notably in “Comeback Story” and “On The Chin.” It’s much more forgettable and incredibly repetitive (compared to the first half of the rocker record) that draws bad memories from the band’s previous album – 2010’s snoozefest Come Around Sundown.

Overall, Mechanical Bull is a very homegrown, Southern album that captures classic Americana in the form of bluesy rock n’ roll. That bad-ass edge of Kings of Leon from 2003 is no longer there, and we’ll probably never get it back – but that’s ok (even though diehard fans like myself may find it hard to accept).

Kings of Leon has become full-fledged rockstars, loved by contemporary radio, international music festivals, soccer moms, wild college kids and everyone in between. Their edge has definitely got a little softened and a touch boring….who said there was anything wrong with some experimental sonic excitement?

Overall Rating: 3.5/5

Songs On Repeat

“Supersoaker”
“Don’t Matter”
“Temple”

Songs To Skip

“Comeback Story”
“Coming Back Again”

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