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  Kings of Leon- Come Around Sundown

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LeeRain
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PostSubject: Kings of Leon- Come Around Sundown   Fri Jan 07, 2011 6:30 am

wrote this for one of my school newspapers.

"It is sad that Come Around Sundown has become the most important album of the Kings of Leon’s musical legacy. It is a story that will be told again and again. Band puts out original, sincere music, gets a devoted and respectable fan base. Band grows up a bit and wants the money and fame that they think they deserve. Band writes a commercially accessible, if sadly uninspired, album; goes platinum in 12 countries and leaves everyone asking “What’s next?” Unfortunately, what’s next is an exercise in mediocrity that will fail to appease the diehard Aha Shake Heartbreak junkies and do little to attract any larger fanbase.

What immediately stands out when listening to this album is Caleb Followill’s voice. What used to be aching, heart felt, and soulful has become some awkward combination of Chad Kreuger and Glen Hansard, relying on long notes and almost catchy chorus’ to try and get a rise out the soccer moms whom KOL are very aware that they are playing for.

What becomes mind numbingly annoying is that almost every song on this album sounds great before the lead vocals are introduced. Take the album’s second song “Radioactive” for example. The bass sustains on one note but has a sweet tone; the beat is kicking enough to get a head or two bobbing; the lead guitar lets out a simple but catchy guitar riff. Then, Caleb comes in and the result is boring, flat, lifeless. Bear in mind that this song was the first single off of the album and actually does have a very catchy chorus. But, at any rate, any song that gets worse once the lead singer starts singing can become teeth grindingly frustrating.

What furthers this frustration is that the lead guitar throughout the album is, actually, very good. It usually sets a simple tone for the music, playing slow but catchy melodies between verses or resting on simple riffs, but when the guitar really takes the lead in the song the result can be wonderful. The small, twenty-eight second solo from the album’s only stand out song, “Mary” is by far the album’s best moment and the slidey, clean riffs on “Beach Side” are perfectly subtle and hypnotic.

With the exception of “Mary,” what will really accost first time listeners of this album is the overall sound of same-iness that the band has adopted. He or she will be able to remember a decent chorus here and there, a nice guitar line or two, maybe one of the better bass lines but really they will all be caught up in a blur that will resemble a drunken night more than experience of good music. But, Come Around Sundown is not nearly bad music. It is something much worse. It is an album that refuses to try anything new, anything original. It is about as safe as safe can be and will reflect perfectly off the side-curtain-airbag-bigger-is-safer Escalade interiors in which it will be playing. It is the white rice of a Chinese food meal, nobody ordered it but almost everyone will have some.

Of course, this album has been and will be wildly successful, selling already 183,000 records its first weekend and peaking at number one on both the UK and Australian charts. But, let’s be honest, with the kind of attention that this band garnered with Only By the Night, anything by them would be successful right now. What this album really needs to judged by is how many steps it has taken the band towards the continuation of KOL’s arena-rock prostitution or towards what made them good in the first place. Come Around Sundown is an album that stands looking both ways, refusing to make any step at all."

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