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Mechanical Bull

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Album Review

Kings of Leon hit it big in 2008 with their album Only by the Night and the accompanying one-two punch of singles "Sex on Fire" and "Use Somebody." The success of those singles propelled them into the upper echelon of arena rock bands and found them at a crossroads between the post-punk-influenced sound of their previous albums and the anthemic, U2-influenced approach that they'd begun to explore on Only by the Night. Perhaps not surprisingly, the band's follow-up, 2010's Come Around Sundown, while by no means a disappointment, seemed strained, as if the band was trying too hard to balance its early sound with its later hits, all while digging even deeper into its Southern roots. Which is partly why the band's sixth studio album, 2013's Mechanical Bull, comes as sweet relief. While still retaining Kings of Leon's penchant toward bombastic, hooky choruses and driving guitars, Mechanical Bull feels breezier and less labored than Come Around Sundown. Even the title feels like a cheeky double entendre that references both the band's Southern upbringing (lead singer Caleb Followill and his bandmate siblings were raised in Oklahoma and Tennessee) and the gear-like machinations of the rock industry. Front-loading an album with the leadoff single can often be a sign of weakness in a release, but not in this case. Kicking off with the passionate "Supersoaker" merely sets the tone for this album. In fact, two of the best cuts come midway through, with the yearning "Wait for Me" and the bluesy, Primal Scream-esque "Family Tree." Elsewhere, "Rock City" brings a heavy Mott the Hoople vibe to the fore and the raging "Coming Back Again" finds the band delving into War-era U2. Having grabbed their career by the horns with Mechanical Bull, it's clear that Kings of Leon aren't letting it get away from them anytime soon.

Customer Reviews

Queens of Neon

Ok, let's say Rod Stewart lost a bet and had to join the Village People...scratch that, lets say Maroon 5 traded in their Virginia slims & wine coolers for cigars & bourbon...never mind that, lets say after a decade or so overindulging in booze & groupies, kings of leon have lost it. Yea, that's it- They have lost it. it was a great ride for a little while there, but it's over now. I'm going to get this album for my recently divorced 50-something year old aunt to listen to in her Mazda miata, hopefully she'll do so at a reasonable volume with the top UP.

Where? Who?

Where are the days of old when their music was actually written from the heart and not for the consumer driven values of your studios. It was so much the better.
Where are great songs like Milk, The Runner, Arizona. Man, I miss Kings of Leon.


This is an album by a once great band now running on fumes. The songwriting has deteriorated significantly and rapidly.


Formed: 2000 in Nashville, TN

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '00s, '10s

Initially embraced as "the Southern Strokes" for their resurrection and reinvention of Dixie-styled rock & roll, Kings of Leon steadily morphed themselves into an experimental rock outfit during the 2000s. The Tennessee-bred quartet debuted in 2003 with the Holy Roller Novocaine EP, whose blend of raw, unpolished boogie rock was further explored on their debut full-length, Youth & Young Manhood. Such revivalist music was matched by a similarly revivalist appearance -- including long hair, mustaches,...
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