35 of 38 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a move into the big leagues
The 3-star and lackluster reviews are all from people who love the old stuff and hate that their favorite band has become more mainstream with its last few albums. Most of them admit the songs are pretty catchy and well-produced, but they long for the days before band got discovered...when they were dangerous. I've got a response for that: this album is KOL's best...
Published on November 10, 2010 by T. P Roberts
122 of 134 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars What I expected
I've listened to it a couple of times, and Come Around Sundown is (unfortunately for some of us) what I expected from the Only By the Night follow-up. Don't get me wrong. It's a solid effort. It's well written. It's polished both in terms of vocals and instrumentals. It's easy to listen to. And it's got an expansive, big sound that will play well in any arena. If...
Published on October 20, 2010 by Dakota
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122 of 134 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars What I expected,
I've listened to it a couple of times, and Come Around Sundown is (unfortunately for some of us) what I expected from the Only By the Night follow-up. Don't get me wrong. It's a solid effort. It's well written. It's polished both in terms of vocals and instrumentals. It's easy to listen to. And it's got an expansive, big sound that will play well in any arena. If Use Somebody and Sex on Fire were my introduction to KOL, I'd probably really like it.
On the other hand, it's a bit dirgy, safe, and predictable compared to previous records. It doesn't have the youthful exuberance or rawness of Youth and Young Manhood, and it doesn't have the experimental, what-will-they-do-next feel of Because of the Times. The story lines are a bit more finessed (what, no stories about grabby preachers?); the imagery a bit more mainstream (there are bloody teeth, but I didn't hear anything about a trani on a ten); and the lyrics do a little more lamenting than previous efforts. For me, that takes away a lot of the fun that is Kings of Leon. And where is that driving bass line that roars through 7 full minutes of Knocked Up? I can't find it anywhere on here.
Regardless, I do believe it is a solid effort. Of course, I could listen to Caleb sing Celine Dion if I had to. That voice...
If you're favorite record is Only By the Night, then you'll probably love this. If you're stuck in the past (like me) and want less polish and more grit, you'll continue to be disappointed.
35 of 38 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a move into the big leagues,
The 3-star and lackluster reviews are all from people who love the old stuff and hate that their favorite band has become more mainstream with its last few albums. Most of them admit the songs are pretty catchy and well-produced, but they long for the days before band got discovered...when they were dangerous. I've got a response for that: this album is KOL's best. Face it--anyone who thinks it's easy to write a collection of songs that are melodic, memorable, and singable can tell you that it's not selling out...it's a SKILL. Sure, there are TERRIBLE, overly-simplistic disposable pop songs with nothing interesting to say. There are millions of them. And I am a fan of a number of bands with complicated and obscure albums. This KOL album, though, is accessible for a REASON--the SONGS are great. The vocals are STRONGER than they were, and the lead singer is COMMUNICATING better than ever before. Listen to their first album sometime. I imagine to 90% of the world, it's kind of unlistenable. You can barely understand a single word (and I live in the South). It sounds like Tom Petty drank three straight bottles of whiskey and then got hit over the head with a shovel until he started bleeding from his nose. Sure, Sex Pistols fans find that to be a great recommendation, but THIS album, Come Around Sundown, invokes all the lessons learned on the previous albums and then stretches out with real melodies and vocals that could, as some reviewers say, catapault the band into U2 territory with songs that make people FEEL something. I'll put "The End" from this album up against "Spiral Staircase" any time. Sometimes success is actually as sign that something GOOD is going on and that a band it getting better at what it does. Listen to the clips. You'll hear the rock, you'll hear that voice, and you'll hear something uplifting and earnest. You won't hear any processed, over-produced, pandering. This music is from the heart and the band now has the skills to tell the musical stories that they want to tell. Reviewers who say otherwise are probably just finding that music sounds different when you're 16 and it's hard to recreate that feeling in later years. Get over it. This album is great.
46 of 53 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Safe Followup... Stands up well on it's own.,
**REVIEW DISCLAIMER** This album has to be judged solely on it's OWN merits, not how it holds up to Youth and Aha Shake. There exists a sharp divide within the KOL fanbase, going all the way back to the third album. The purists maintaining they were there from the beginning and that the Followill boys sold out their southern rock roots for radio play and fortune. The newcomers seen as carpetbaggers jumping into a party they should've known about long before they arrived. I was on the bus from the first album, and yes, I prefer my KOL with long hair and flannels, banging out chord driven southern swagger, but that does not discount the quality of the SONGS in the three subsequent releases... I think this may have contributed to some of the more negative reviews I have read on this release.
Come Around Sundown... A platinum album well into the teeth of the download era, mainstream breakthrough finally after three critically acclaimed albums shot just under the radar, headlining outdoor arenas... The brothers Followill had the rock community guessing as to their ever varying direction for the followup to 2008's Only by the Night. Would we get another groove driven, jangly new wave effort, or would the boys pull the rug up from under us and revert to the raucous southern smash in the mouth they came in on... now that they got everybody aboard the train? What you get is the former, a safe play followup and a very logical successor to OBTN... we'll have to wait for the distorted power chords and anthems pertaining to cigarettes, shotguns and whiskey to return, if they ever do.
On the whole the album is solid front to back. Second or third listen hooks and sing along choruses are again the order of the day. As has been the case since since Because of the Times, Jared Followill's bass is out front of the guitars, creating most of the melodies for the songs. Very rarely do you hear discernible guitar riffs, the six stringers used more as accompanying instruments and to add mood and atmospheric effects. The transition to a band being fronted by their rhythm section has resulted in a definite "danceable" element to the sound. This has no doubt been a factor in the droves of young fans the band has won over. What sets this Tennessee outfit apart from the rest of the sheep polluting the rapidly decaying rock radio waves recently is simply this...songwriting.
Caleb's vocals are as versatile as ever and the lyrics are descriptive and abstract at times, rather than the cliched "you, me" verbiage we've endured these last dozen years or so. We still get a brief flicker of southern roots, more so than on the predecessor. Listen to Caleb channel Ronnie Van Zant on Mi Amigo as he calls out "you know son!" preceded by a short blast of falsetto on the last chorus... and who can resist the hook of Caleb boasting of his gal friend's admiration of his manhood on the same track...possibly the coolest KOL vocals since the sophomore effort. Indeed, there are no radio "monsters" in this collection, and sales will probably pale in comparison to OBTN. In 2010 we'll take fun, well written rock records wherever we can get them... that's what you get on the fifth release from the Kings... take it as it is.
9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An Unbiased, No B.S., No Baggage Review,
I'm not a diehard KOL fan. Although I've been aware of KOL ever since they came onto the scene with their debut and before they blew up, despite a few songs that sparked, they just never caught fire with me. Therefore, I'm not biased or carrying the torch for the sound of their early albums and the baggage that goes along with it when a band starts to evolve. I'm not even biased towards the sound of their last album. Honestly, when they started to get all that buzz for "Sex on Fire" and "Use Somebody" I thought, OK, time to give them another listen. For me, the first half of OBTN was the making of a classic, but the second half fell flat and kept me ambivalent about KOL. Upon my first listen halfway through "Come Around Sundown" I felt I had again fallen prey to the buzz. The first half seemed clearly tailored for fans picked up by the last album, but, except for Radioactive, sounded like leftover B-Sides. However, I kept listening. The new album really didn't get interesting to me until the second half kicks off with "Back Down South." I think its the best song on the album and most successfully combines their early southern rootsy sound to their recent arena-ready sound. I love how "Back Down South" would be a total front porch southern jam with its fiddle and slide guitar if not for the U2 BAD-esque bass and drum part thumping in the background. Speaking of U2, let me be the first to say that if I hear one more band being touted as "the next U2" I'm going to let out an arena-sized scream! Let U2 be U2 and KOL, or any other band, find their own sound without the weight and hype of the U2 tag. Luckily, unlike Coldplay, KOL doesn't jump at the chance to take on the U2 mantle and be something they're not. Sure, there are flashes of U2 and some Edge-like guitar playing here and there. However, I hear more of a marriage of KOL's southern twang and influences of Johnny Greenwood (Radiohead)and the Pixies on this album. The second half of the album really comes together and rocks and simmers right to the end. The rhythms and melodys are really tight while still giving the songs room to breathe and space so you can really hear the intruments and vocals playing off each other. The songs have a looseness and classic laid-back feel that flows well. This album seems to be more of a lesson in subtlety (something U2 has lacked since The Joshua Tree) as compared with their previous albums which I believe is more interesting and rewarding with each listen. Also, with subsequent listens I have come to enjoy the contrasts of the first half of the album as well. "Radioactive" is the best rocker on the album and "Mary" is a lot of fun with its doo-wop vocals and overdriven guitars reminding me of Teenage Fanclub from years ago. The only song that really falls flat and stalls the album for me is "The Face" which seems like a dumbed down couples-skate power ballad, forced and calculated to elicit high school makeouts and slow mirrorball dancing(It will probably be the biggest single). There may not be a song as classic as "Use Somebody" or "Sex on Fire" that screams to be heard and breaks down the barriers to rock music being heard on pop radio stations these days. But that's OK, I'm burned out on those songs anyway! As a whole, I think this is a better album then their last. It challenges fans both old and new. Taken alone, as I essentially took it, its a good, maybe even great rock album and that's OK in my book. P.S. I wouldn't spring for the "Deluxe Version." Unless you're a diehard fan, save your money. You're not missing out on anything.
22 of 30 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars What Happened?,
First two albums were glorious; drop the needle (so to speak)anywhere in the disc and it would lift you up, lyrically and musically. Sweep you up.The 3rd one was a big great step forwards. The 4th one was understandable. I had high hopes for this latest release, but already with the first cut I am thinking "this sounds like "Sex on Fire/Use Somebody II". U2 had the global vision to absorb and digest synthesizers - KOL sounds swallowed up by the sounds and lost. And will someone please take that reverb knob away from them. The songs sound like they are coming via formula: hear the initial bassline, Matthew's guitar lines soaked in delays and reverb, Nathan ( a great drummer btw) working in the odd snare hit, and then the melodies that have become repetitive. This used to be one of their strengths: Caleb's vocal melodies that once had no rules.
I don't understand the reviews about "back to their roots" ; I don't hear the influences from listening to Towns, or Ry Cooder's slide; it seems to be going exactly the opposite way. I was reading an interview where Caleb was saying "This was before I knew how to talk to a celebrity". Maybe they should unlearn all that as soon as possible.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Interesting Mix of Variety, of New Songs, & New Sounds, From the Kings of Leon.,
This review is from: Come Around Sundown (2 CD Deluxe) (Audio CD)
This album is full of variety, and I like that. The current issue of the "Rolling Stone" magazine, covers the variety of songs, included in this deluxe edition, and gives it a very good review. Also, the amazon product description even mentions, this deluxe edition is full of variety. Also, the New York Times, has called this the "Rock Blockbuster of the Season". Also, the magazines, "Spin" (Nov.2010), & "American Songwriter"(Nov.Dec.2010) both rate this as a great release, and both have the Kings of Leon on the cover of their current issues. Also, the current issue of "Uncut"(Nov.2010), have the Kings on their cover, and they give this album a good rating. The review of this CD by "Uncut" (Nov.2010,p.89), states "Come young, come old! A Superb fifth will delight Boomer and Tweeter alike...". Also, on p.57, Matthew states, "If I was a Kings of Leon fan, I would want to hear an uptempo rock record eventually." Also, the review in "Uncut" P.89 links the sounds on this deluxe CD, to the Great Southern Bands, that came before them, especially the songs, "Back Down South", & "Pickup Truck". It compares them to the Marshall Tucker Band, and the Allman Brothers Band. Also, in "Spin" (Nov.2010)p.76 it even suggests that KOL might be their generation's Lynyrd Skynyrd. Also, on p.61 of "Uncut" Nov.2010, in the "Songs of the South" Guide, it mentions that the KOL are proudly restating their Southern roots on their new LP "Come Around Sundown". I agree with these assessments.
After reading all these magazine articles, and listening to the songs on this deluxe edition double CD, many times, and from reading other amazon reviews, I've learned alot about this band. I've learned from other reviewer's assessments of this release, even from the ones that totally disagree with my assessment. I've learned about the pro's & con's of this release. I've learned that it's "popular" & "cool" to be disappointed with this release. I learned about the Pigeon droppings, incident, at a KOL concert, in St.Louis of this year. Yes, this album is different from their first 2 albums. Plus, yes they listened to a lot of "Texas", Townes Van Zandt music, and other related music, but they also liked Thin Lizzy, and other artists also. They came up with the name "Kings of Leon", because the father of the 3 Followill brothers', middle name was Leon. So, they started to call themselves the "The Sons of Leon", but then they had a cousin in the band, who was not a son of Leon. So, they came up with the name "Kings of Leon".
"Radioactive" is like a "Rock/Gospel/Spiritual" song, plus it relates to the Kings' Southern Christian roots. It begins with the words, "When the Roll is Called Up Yonder", which is the title to a Gospel hymn. Also, it includes the lyrics "...its in the water...where you came from...", which adds more support, about releating to the Kings' roots. Plus, it could also, be a great arena rock song. "Back Down South", "Mi Amigo", and "Pickup Truck", have somewhat of a Southern Rock &/or Country sound to them. Some songs such as "The Immortals", "Beach Side", "Pony Up", have somewhat of a "Punk Attitude" about them. While, "Mary" has a "50's Doo-Wop" sound to it. "The Face" relates back to Tennessee and the South, it mentions "If you give up New York, I'll Give You Tennessee". "The End" is good solid arena rock, subtly suggesting that this release may be the end of the KOL's popularity. The rest of the songs on disc one are all good solid rock songs.
The lead singer Caleb, has a unique singing style, I love his southern accent, it sounds as if he's "preaching" the lyrics. Afterall, his father was a southern, pentecostal preacher, while the band members, three brothers & a cousin, were growing up, down south. I can relate to a lot of their raising, because I grew up in the deep South, in a very similiar environment, and so did Jerry Lee Lewis, to a certain extent. When they talk about "blow-outs" in Sunday Morning Church Services, in the "American Songwriter" (Nov./Dec.2010), I know exactly what they're talking about.
On disc two, the bonus disc for the deluxe edition, includes another great arena rock song "Celebration". Also it has a great remix of "Radioactive", which includes a mass gospel choir singing in the background. Also it has a great remix of "Closer", from their Grammy Award Winning album, "Only by Night".
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars KOL has come a long way...,
I have every KOL CD ever released, and I have been listening to them from the beginning. That said, I am impressed with the depth and the sound of this album. I still expected more of the poppy sounds that made up "Sex is on Fire" and "Use Somebody", but was pleasantly surprised to hear more southern rock coming from my speakers. The Followill brothers (and cousin) have grown up, and grown into a much more mature sound, that now compliments the lead's voice, rather than make him sound like a screeching banshee as on previous albums.
Overall, very happy with this CD, and I look forward to more music from this multi-talented band of Followills.
7 of 10 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Mostly limp, generic "arena" rock,
At its best, rock music is supposed to be dangerous. It should have intent and sincerity. When KOL first came on the scene, I caught a small show in Boulder, CO. I recall discussing with friends that KOL were a band who MEAN it. The songs were immediate, engaging and yes, dangerous. It was sloppy and polished at the same time. Caleb's phrasing on songs like Soft, Red Morning Light, and King of the Rodeo was so unique it was almost singular. I'd never heard anything like it. And the guitars had that beautiful tube break-up that was the perfect match for Caleb's raw but lyrical vocal style. KOL was the band I'd been waiting for ever since the Strokes decided they were too cool to make records and tour.
The problem with Come Around Sundown isn't that the band abandonded their original sound. The problem is that I don't believe them anymore. With the possible exception of Back Down South, there is scarcely a moment on the record where the music feels engaging, original or sincere. And dangerous? All I can say is that this set of songs is even less dangerous than Colplay. I don't fault the band for trying to make a career though, and songs like Radioactive, The End and Immortals clearly have the "anthemic" quality that will translate well live. This is no small achievement. The folks who really love highly polished, effects-laden, atmospheric guitars and big sing-along choruses in the vein of Use Somebody are going to enjoy most of this record. Folks hoping for a return to a more raw rock n' roll aesthetic will be disappointed...again.
In fairness, only a handful of bands in history have managed to write songs with both mass appeal AND a sense of danger. The Rolling Stones did it for Baby Boomers. Nirvana did it for Gen X. I thought the Kings might be the band to do it for Gen Y. Instead, the new record completes the band's transformation from promising young rock torch-bearers into something akin to a less talented Radiohead, a less charismatic U2 and a less sincere Coldplay all rolled into one.
13 of 19 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Love This Band, but Not This Album,
I started listening to Kings of Leon back when their first album debuted. I loved it. Their second album was a bit more evolved, less rowdy, more structured. I loved it. Their third album was a total departure, we saw the band go from a southern garage sound to a stadium sound...I LOVED IT. That's right. Loved the change. What you find about KOL fans that defend the early work is that they include Because of the Times in the "glory days", even though it wasnt the same kind of music as the earliest material. If that goes to show anything, its that the reason the early fans of KOL don't support them anymore isnt beacause they're famous, and isn't because the style of music is different. Plain and simple, the songs arent as good. Only By the Night was the album that made them huge, but it didn't pick up right away. I bought it the day it came out, and realized how the punch that was in their other albums was missing. I don't dismiss the entire album though. Crawl, Sex on Fire, and Use Somebody are all great songs. Only by the Night sounded like Beacuse of the Times without the energy and creative ideas. I was hoping for something better this time around. Not so much a return to form, but a return to looking at songwriting from a more creative process.
When i first listened to this album from beginning to end, I honestly couldnt remember one song. Nothing stands out. They played it very safe, each song sticking to a mid tempo, over produced feel. Songs like Black Thumbnail and Arizon from Because of the Times have totally different personalities. Nothing on this album sounds unique. There's just simply a lack of good ideas, and a lack of passion in the songs. When you listen to something that you love, you can FEEL it. Trying to listen to this album was difficult, as I found myself spacing out halfway through trying to pay attention to each song. The music is uninspired and trudgingly boring. It became background music to me, as hard as I tried to find something to like. "Mary" had its moments I guess, but not enough for me to justify it as anything more than the best song on a bad album. I love this band, they had 3 and 1/3 great albums, but I can't back this record up. I'll still pay attention to them when the next release comes around, but I'm hoping its better than this.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding Stuff,
This review is from: Come Around Sundown (Deluxe Version) (MP3 Music)
Closer is even more haunting than the regular version. Absolute ear candy, and you should definitely check it out. Soon.
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