Thursday, March 29, 2007
Rolling Stone's Sheffield Off Mark With Kings of Leon Review
Rolling Stone's Rob Sheffield is on crack. It's not bad enough that he gave the Kings of Leon's hideous new album, "Because of the Times," an undeserving 4 out of 5 stars, but adding insult to injury he implicitly blasted KOL's debut masterpiece, "Youth and Young Manhood," by claiming: "When the Kings first arrived on the scene a few years ago, they whipped up so much interest right away, nobody really minded that they weren't any good." Weren't any good? Are you friggin' kidding me? From the album's opening "Red Morning Light" with its exploding guitar to the brilliant closer "Holy Roller Novacaine," where leadsinger Caleb Followill with his southern drawl blasts a promiscious preacher for using faith to bed women: "I'll be outback in my white Cadillac, won't you join me for a ride?/ We'll go up to the mountain top, where I'll show you all the good's I got/ Don't look back keep your eyes ahead/ This could be the night that the moon goes red/ Oh Lord!/ Don'cha worry babe, you won't feel a thing... close your eyes: Holy Roller Novacaine," it's solid. In fact, the album is riddled with so much outstanding writing like the girl who is "shaking her apple right in my face" (notice the religious allusion also?) that England's NME wondered if 17 and 18-year-olds were capable of writing that good! They WERE that good and they WERE 17 and 18 when they released the debut. And nevermind their live shows. I have a feeling that Sheffield was either asleep on the job or maybe got caught up listening to something "important" like Fall Out Boy or Evanescence and is now desparately trying to make it up to the sons of a preacherman (plus a cousin). The problem is the new album is as crappy as The Killer's shabby sophomore release, "Sam's Town," where they try to go Springsteen. On "Because of the Times," the Kings strip the southern rawk sound that made their first two albums so enduring and replaced it with corny electronic samples. When I first heard the single, "On Call," I thought Siouxsie and the Banshees' "Cities in Dust" was about to start. In a year marked by the "make-up" award of the century: Martin Scorsese finally getting an Oscar for not-his-best movie, "The Departed," it seems Rolling Stone is trying to do the same and give KOL the adulation they deserve. Nothing wrong with that. They deserve much more album sales and recognition than they've achieved in the U.S., but this isn't the album to point to. People just need to play catch up and buy their debut and the excellent follow-up, "Aha Shake Heartbreak." My review would be simple: Forget this album, wait for the next one and if you haven't already done so, buy the first two.