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Only by the Night

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Audio CD, September 23, 2008
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Kings of Leon return with the release of their highly anticipated fourth album 'Only By The Night' on 22nd September through Columbia Records. 'Only By The Night' is a bold and expansive sonic statement that looks set to solidify Kings of Leon's position as one of the most important international acts of 2008 and beyond. It follows rapidly in the footsteps of the bands previous albums 'Youth And Young Manhood', 'Aha Shake Heartbreak' & 'Because Of The Times', which have quickly established them as one of the most prolific and acclaimed acts around.

Despite a wave of criticism asserting that Kings of Leon's fourth full-length is "too commercial," Only by the Night may be the closest thing to a pitch-perfect album to drop in 2008. Granted, Tennessee's band of brothers (and one first cousin) takes a turn for the heavily polished here, but what the album lacks in rough-edged raunch, it more than makes up for in earnestness and--yes--stunning beauty. From the opening notes of "Closer" to the listing balladry of "Cold Desert," Only by the Night hardly misses a beat. Highlights abound, particularly in the trading off of melodic lines between instruments, and in this regard, bassist Jared Followill is the album's quiet MVP. Above these gorgeous instrumentals, singer Caleb emotes with a dramatic grit that never loses its command. A model of melodic rock composition, arranged and produced with a warm, inviting veneer, and performed with aching sincerity, these 11 tracks coalesce into a sanguine whole that eclipses the band's much-discussed rock posturing and yields more with every play. A good band's great album, Only by the Night (finally) establishes Kings of Leon as a rock act that's worthy of seriously sustained attention. --Jason Kirk

1. Closer
2. Crawl
3. Sex On Fire
4. Use Somebody
5. Manhattan
6. Revelry
7. 17
8. Notion
9. I Want You
10. Be Somebody
11. Cold Desert

Product Details

  • Audio CD (September 23, 2008)
  • Original Release Date: 2008
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Rca
  • ASIN: B001C3KCSY
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (322 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,275 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

116 of 127 people found the following review helpful By Alf R. Bergesen on October 8, 2008
Format: Audio CD
In several recent reviews, I've read Only By the Night decried as being "too commercial" or "too polished" and "straying too far from the Kings' signature sound". After a few listens, I've got to disagree with all of the above. As for the popular commercial appeal of this record, there is perhaps only one rock radio friendly single on this album and it's already peaked. "Sex on Fire" has been the Kings' most successful single to date. It has also been their most controversial, as far as their "old" fans are concerned.

"Sex of Fire" may not be the most sophisticated song, lyrically or musically, but neither were the Stones' "Satisfaction" or Jerry Lee Lewis' "Great Balls of Fire". It's just a darn good, darn catchy straight up rock 'n' roll song. Furthermore, it's no more commercial than their last album's first single, "On Call"- arguably more of a departure from the Kings' established, musically raw style. Why folks get upset when a nominal indie band has a successful single that gets significant airplay on corporate rock radio is something that I can't quite understand. This is not arena rock, in a pejorative sense, at least. The Kings have not become the American Coldplay.

Yes, Only By the Night is slightly more polished and perhaps more melodic, in a conventional sense, than the King's earlier albums, but it still features the King's musical trademarks: alternating rambling and cyclical song structures, non-virtuoso guitar solos (not necessarily a bad thing), and a truly unique and unaffected vocal style. The album isn't more commercial, it's more accessible. Yes, they've attempted to add a few sonic layers to several of the songs, Closer first and foremost among them. For the most part, this experiment has paid off.
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46 of 50 people found the following review helpful By Paul Allaer TOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on September 23, 2008
Format: Audio CD
It's only been a good year ago that Kings of Leon released their monster-sized album "Because of the Times", which ended up in my personal top 3 of the best albums of 2007. After releasing "Because of the Times", the band toured non-stop around the Americas and Europe, and so I was quite surprised to read a few months ago that a new album was already being finished for a Fall release. Here then comes the 4th studio album of Kings of Leon.

"Only By the Night" (11 tracks; 43 min.) continues the trail-blazing ways of "Because of the Times", if possible even more so. The radio singles "Crawl" and "Sex on Fire" are quite good but also a bit misleading, in the sense that there are a lot of epic "atmospheric" songs, with plenty of walls of (guitar) sounds. This band has become now more than ever an arena-sized band. The highlights for me include "Manhattan" (one of the tracks they played at their headlining show at Glastonbury earlier this summer in the UK), "17" (the days of the Beatles' innocent lines like "Well she was young and 17/Yeah you know what I mean" are long gone....), and the album closer "Cold Desert", but honestly I didn't hear any 'weak' tracks on here. The CD I bought came with a bonus live CD (7 tracks, 25 min.) from a performance of the band in April, 2007 at the Hammersmith Appolo in London, bringing 4 tracks from the then-new "Because of the Times" album, including a terrific "Fans" (a salute to the band's huge UK fan base), "My Party", and "Arizona", along with a couple of "Aha Shake Heartbreak" album tracks, just terrific. Seek it out if you can.

In all, "Only By the Night" is a great album. Is it as good as "Because of the Times"?
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48 of 54 people found the following review helpful By Wonko the Sane on September 23, 2008
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Many bands that stick around for more than 1 or 2 albums seem (IMHO) to follow a trend with two identifiable characteristics: (1) change, and (2) increasing commercial appeal. I think the complaints that "these guys aren't the Kings of Leon they used to be" are tedious and based on a ridiculous expectation. It's going to happen (if the band is any good and not Pearl Jam), so get over it. I don't really care whether 10 or 1,000,000 other people want to listen to the album, or even whether a band was explicit in attempting to target a larger audience. The proper questions, it seems to me, are: Is is it good? Do I like listening to it? Is it going to stay in my car stereo for more than a few days? My answers to the first two are: Yes! and Yes! I can't answer the third yet, but if their last album is any indication... probably so.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Kristin Grace Parker on May 27, 2009
Format: Audio CD
This album is appealing sensitive; the emotional terrain covered is subtle and complex, but Caleb's scruffy, impassioned voice keeps things from getting too soft. The album has a singer-songwriter feel to it because, well, the intensity of the album is found in the lyrics, melodies, and Caleb's voice. The Kings of Leon are touted up as a southern rock band, but the only traces of southern rock that I heard on this album were Caleb's singing style and the spirituality of it all. Otherwise, the instrumentals were pure indie/alternative (minimalistic instrumentals, lots of reverb.)

This album is not my kind of music typically, but I kept going back to it (4 listens) in the attempt to decipher what it "meant." The songs feel very personal and intimate, they sound like a soundtrack to Caleb's life. They're more compelling than catchy. Interestingly, by engendering repeated listens, they became the soundtrack to my life for a while. Cool trick. If you listen to these songs long enough, you will find yourself attaching them to specific moods and moments.

This album is great walking and thinking music. It's perfect for when you want some music to keep you company but you also need space to brood and muse. With this album, just pop in the earbuds and go. Now that I know these songs well, the listening experience is cathartic and pleasurable.

Last point . . . the overall vibe of this album is contemplative, but the variety is good. There's some uptempo stuff that will keep you from falling asleep, thinking too much, and walking too far . . .
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2-CD Deluxe Edition of Only By The Night sold at Target
I can't find it anywhere by me. Three Target's checked. When did these get so popular, or did they just send out a couple of copies to each store.
Sep 25, 2008 by J. Votteler |  See all 3 posts
only by the night
Honestly, it's not their best album. It's their most popular, so you may end up loving it. but personally I would start with Aha Shake Heartbreak.
Jun 15, 2010 by Benjamin Malone |  See all 2 posts
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