Mechanical Bull review by Kings of Leon

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  • Released: Sep 24, 2013
  • Sound: 7
  • Lyrics: 7
  • Overall Impression: 7
  • Reviewer's score: 7 Good
  • Users' score: 6.7 (29 votes)
Kings of Leon: Mechanical Bull

Sound — 7
Kings Of Leon were formed in 1999 by 3 brothers and a cousin and at the time they played almost exclusively blues and southern rock, though their style has changed fairly dramatically over the years. "Mechanical Bull" is the sixth studio album by Kings Of Leon, and finds them delving further into the alternative rock/arena rock sound they have moved to from their original blues rock sound, though also reaching back for pieces of their roots occasionally. The first singles from the album were "Supersoaker" released in mid-July and then "Wait for Me" which was released in early August. The album contains 11 tracks with an approximate runtime of 42 minutes or the deluxe edition of the album has 2 additional tracks and clocks in at over 50 minutes. The album opens up with the track, "Supersoaker," which is also the first single released from the album. What stands out most on this track is the bass riff and the vocals. Next up is "Rock City" which is a little bit of a throwback to their early sound, with some of the most interesting lyrics on the album such as, "I was running through the desert/ I was looking for drugs/ and I was searching for a woman who was willing to love/ so I could take her like a woman." The track is rounded off with a melodic blues solo. "Don't Matter" has a really punk rock type of chord progression to it, as well as the lyrical themes having a very punk rock vibe to them. "Beautiful War" is carried almost exclusively by the bass and percussion for much of the track, with sparse use of guitar and almost spoken vocals at a slow tempo. Next up is "Temple," which finds us squarely back in the realm of alternative rock. Once again, on "Temple" the bass part is what really spoke to me on this track. "Wait for Me" starts out with a little arpeggiated riff on guitar, which recurs throughout, and lyrics that became repetitive fast. "Family Tree" shows Kings Of Leon at trying to add some funk fusion to their alternative rock, but it just doesn't quite sit right at the end of the day. "Family Tree" has a bassline that would have some serious groove to it if it had any real movement in it. "Comeback Story" is more alternative country than any kind of rock, complete with lap steel. Maybe this explains the album title of "Mechanical Bull." "Tonight" also has a country feel to it, but added to that is a weird little repeating riff that gives the song just a little bit of an edge. "Coming Back Again" is another straight up alternative rock song, with a few interesting little twists in it where the song does a few things I didn't expect. The album closes out with the track "On the Chin" which seems to be a fairly good mix of a country approach to alternative rock, and seems to finally pull off what Kings Of Leon was trying to accomplish with several songs on the album.

Lyrics — 7
Caleb has a voice I just can't get behind, but that isn't necessarily something that has translated to other listeners. I have always felt like he sings like he's wanting to sing country music, though, and with "Mechanical Bull" he finally gets his chance on a few of the tracks. He performed fairly well throughout the album in his specific style with just a touch of a country whine. As a sample of the lyrics, here are some from "Comeback Story": "Picking up the pieces in the world I know/ With one in the fire and one in the snow/ It's a comeback story of a lifetime/ A comeback story of a lifetime/ Been told believing everything is alright/ I break with the day and I've been with the night/ It's a comeback story of a lifetime/ A comeback story of a lifetime/ I walk a mile in your shoes/ And now I'm a mile away/ And I've got your shoes/ The brighter the lights they're burning out/ Everyone says it a lovely sound/ I don't know where they're leaving me/ Trying my best hoping that you'll see/ I walk a mile in your shoes/ And now I'm a mile away/ And I've got your/ I walk a mile in your shoes/ And now I'm a mile away/ And I've got your shoes."

Overall Impression — 7
I just want to be upfront that I'm not the hugest Kings Of Leon fan, though I do like several of their songs. In other words, if you ARE a huge Kings Of Leon fan you can take my opinion with a grain of salt. I felt like the album had some strong moments and it had some weak moments. They were mixed about equally throughout. My favorite songs from the album were "Don't Matter," "Rock City," "Supersoaker" and "On the Chin." My least favorite track from the album was by far "Comeback Story," which seemed like an unsuccessful attempt to record a country song. I have to wonder if this awkward foray into alternative country is an attempt to rediscover their southern rock roots. Overall, the good and bad weighed together, I would give this album a rating of 7.

21 comments sorted by best / new / date

    "I walk a mile in your shoes/ And now I'm a mile away/ And I've got your shoes" That´s just funny.
    It's not so original unfortunetaly.. "Before you judge a man, walk a mile in his shoes. After that, who cares? ...He's a mile away and you've got his shoes." - Billy Conolly
    Their grandfather actually used to say that to them, so I don't think it had anything to do with "originality"... btw, no one know who Billy Conolly is
    "The album opens up with the track, "Supersoaker," which is also the first single released from the album. What stands out most on this track is the bass riff and the vocals." This is a pretty terrible review. Reads like shit I wrote in 9th grade.
    I made a similar complaint last week because I think this is the same reviewer who reviewed "MGMT", but this review is a disaster. UG, why have someone who's not into the KoL review an album of theirs? At least have someone more familiar with their discography be able to give specific critiques of this album, and in comparison to their past work... I don't want to rant too much longer here, but personally I agree that they've settled into this professional-countryish sounding groove. It works for them but it's not really for me, and they have not become the band most projected them to be after their first two albums were released. Anyway, your reviews, or at least this reviewer's reviews, have a long way to go.
    I think this album is pretty solid. For me it really mixes their old sound, with new sound. I would prefer some more "rocking" songs like "Molly's Chambers" and things along those lines, but this album isn't bad. The best part about it is that it truly grows on you. I just thought it was OK yesterday, but even since then I like more songs from it.
    This is a good album. I don't understand how you say you like them but can't get behind the singers voice. What sense does that make? None.
    Calebs voice is the one thing that really stands out in KoL. I couldn't see myself listening to them if they had a more generic sounding singer.
    I absolutely hated Come around Sundown, and only like a couple off of Only by the Night. This album, in my opinion, is leaps and bounds better, and closer to their first few albums.
    I still think youth and young manhood is still their best album. Raw, and just more aggressive in sound.
    I'm not posting this to start a fight, I'm just looking for some direction. Kings of Leon must have had a few studio albums on their resume by the time I heard of them. I looked them up on Wikipedia where they were called southern rock, which is repeated in this article. When I read that I think, "Great, I love Lynyrd Skynyrd and the Allman Brothers." So I checked them out. I did not hear southern rock. Are these guys called southern rock because of where they are from or because they once made music reminiscent of the great southern rock bands? If the latter is true, would someone please give me the names of a few songs to look up from their southern rock era? As of right now, I DESPISE all I've heard from this band. I'm trying really hard to like them but everything I've heard is awful to me.
    They're not southern rock but when they started they sounded a lot less polished. I guess "indie" would be a better label for that period. Like many people I used to like 'em and now I don't, but tbh they weren't THAT incredible to begin with and I don't think they're all THAT terrible now. The amount of hate is disproportionate and probably has to do with the fact that most people think of 'em as this new prefab group that catered to the teen girl demographic from the get-to. I think those people would be milder if they saw some of the older footage. Can you say inbred 70's pornstar rejects?
    If you want to hear a GREAT southern garage-rock band check out White Denim. They're much more of a jam band actually but since a lot of southern rock fans seem to like their bands a lot more if they're from Texas or whatever (not saying you're one of those) I thought I'd share it anyways:
    Whoaa why does this have such a low rating? This is such a good album. The most full album they've released in a while.
    JammyP 93
    Pretty good album wish there were more songs similar to Rock City but still a better album than Come Around Sundown.
    My review as a long time fan: 1) Supersoaker - Great all around song, great guitar, even better rhythm section 2) Rock City - Don't know why, but my first thought when I heard this song was "Weezer", lol, then Caleb came in and saved the day... and i'm also a sucker for drug references in songs 3) Don't Matter - Killer song, terrible production on the album (imo)... may only listen to live versions 4) Beautiful War - Simply beautiful, emotional, and all kinds of other emotions... powerful meaning 5) Temple - Really outside of the box for KOL, and I LOVE IT... gives a certain "90's sitcom theme song" feel, KILLER hooks all over the place 6) Wait for Me - Another beautiful song... reminds me of "The Police"... the drums carry this song and really make it what it is 7) Family Tree - The "haha" at the beginning is dumb, but the rhythm section is ridiculously groovy and the breakdown couldn't be better... weird lyrics, but hey, that's Caleb sometimes 8) Comeback Story - Is this an electric cover of Harry Nilsson's "Everybody's Talking"? lol j/k... seriously, another awesome tune and homage to the man, Grandfather Leon... music has a "Wilco" vibe at times 9) Tonight - Hell yes! Delay and beautiful guitar tones!!! AWESOME first verse, had me hooked right after... sound a lot like "The Immortals" at times but I don't mean that in a judgmental way 10) Coming Back Again - is this even KOL?!? damn what a song! Quite possibly the most "indie" song they have ever made, and it worked like a charm... instant all-time favorite... the backup vocals during the chorus are perfect! (side note: Nathan is way too good at drums) 11) On the Chin - Don't really care for it... too country and sounds too much like that Ford commercial that annoys me every time I turn on the television... oh well 12) Work on Me - Crazy weird guitar work (in a good way), gonna take a while for some of these lyrics to soak in, but the music is really chill and comforting... I do really like the "Phil Selway-ish" drums during the verses... not bad for a bonus track I suppose... 13) Last Mile Home - just plain, no opinion really, lol... good slow close to an album I guess Rating: 7/10 - WAY more interesting and diverse than CAS, but with that being said, the album doesn't feel like a whole (yet), whereas CAS had this "complete" quality to it... same with OBTN... but anyway, this isn't a comparison. All in all, this is a great album filled with great tones and catchy beats. It's really encouraging to hear some songs like "Temple", "Tonight", and "Coming Back Again", and then hear that they can still rock the house down with "Supersoaker" and "Don't Matter". I'm not sure how a lot of songs will sound live, but I will definitely be at the show to find out. It also scares me how good Nathan and Jared can lock in now. KOL are a musical force to be reckoned with.