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.