Come Around Kings

Come Around Kings
By Alexander Venturas


The Kings of Leon are a band of many sounds, going from garage rock to grunge and in their latest installment, Come Around Sundown, country crossover rock. The Kings? new album may draw inspiration from better days past, with the guitar melodies possibly being likened to country ballads of the past few decades, but the fans of today obviously like it, which is illustrated by music publication NME predicting that the album will go on to become the top-selling album of 2010.

Against the Followill?s (the band is made up of three brothers and their cousin) wishes, the Kings of Leon, have risen to international fame. Their last album Only by the Night, sold 6.5 million copies. With anthems like Use Somebody and Sex on Fire being sung in every party and club across the globe. Use Somebody being covered by the likes of Paramore and others. The song became a critical success too, gaining the respect of the music community by picking up three Grammys at the 52nd Annual Grammy Awards, most notably ?Record of the Year?.

Despite its massive following, many die-hard Kings fans felt that Only by the Night was a ?sell-out? album, focused on making money and selling records, rather than staying true to their original sound. Come Around Sundown seems like a response to these detractors, harking back to earlier albums like Youth and Young Manhood and Aha Shake Heartbreak. The songs on the new album, for the most part, take the shape of deeply contemplative, richly emotional and lyrically dense ballads.

Their new country ballad style is epitomized in the aptly named Back Down South, which is characterized by the bluesy guitars, violins fit for a hoe-down and lyrics that conjure up images of a father daughter dance deep down in Tennessee. The song also displays a characteristic of the whole album: diversity. The album, although following a theme of tone, features an eclectic mix of subject matter and sounds.

What has not changed on the new album is the slithery croon of front man Caleb Followill.  The potential of the slippery vocals of singer Caleb are perfectly boasted in the dark and dirty rock of Birthday. About a drunken night out, Birthday incorporates a mix of boozy vocals with catchy guitar riffs along with changes in tempo  to create a song with the potential to become an instant hit.

Not all songs deliver the same versatile and diverse sound as most, with Pony Up, seeming like it was forced out of the band by their label. Yes, it has a catchy rhythmic bass line and a cute guitar riff, that doesn?t detract from the songs shallowness and apparent lack of emotional investment.

The album is all in all a perfect example of why I still have faith in the music industry of today. Once you?ve waded through the clumps of pith and pulp, you manage to find a gem of an album like Come Around Sunday that shows that bands can be faithful to their sound, while still developing through new angles or even retrospective inspiration. The album, regardless of its lack of commercial anthems, should go on to be a commercial and critical success.









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