Only by the Night review by Kings of Leon

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  • Released: Sep 23, 2008
  • Sound: 10
  • Lyrics: 10
  • Overall Impression: 10
  • Reviewer's score: 10 Gem
  • Users' score: 8.6 (101 votes)
Kings of Leon: Only by the Night

Sound — 10
The sound of course is a huge expansion from where they were in because of the times. They went from that raw, twanggy sounding guitar and super raspy voice, to a more organized guitar and much finer vocal line. I think the overall new sound is great. It turned them into this whole new revoltion of a band. There is still a presence of the old Kings in there. It seemed as though they Caleb turned to more ballad types of songs which completely works. The choruses and breakdowns are spectacular on Only By The Night. The opener Closer is just a wonderous explosion into the new sound of KOL. Crawl has a more Zeppelin-esque crunch to it with the raw guitar sound, and a great touch with the distorted bass. One of my favorite new sounds from the new album is the use of background vocals. The very distant use like in Use Somebody. Also, In Cold Desert, Notion, Manhattan, Revelry all have that super drowned out reverbed guitar, a brilliant touch and also shadows the older sound from Because of the times.

Lyrics — 10
The lyrics are brilliant. Caleb has definitely grown up on this album. He sings the shit out of this album. He may not have used his usual screech as much but he absolutely shows his skills both verbally and vocally. The huge amount of pain that is carried across from vocals to ears is huge on many of the songs. Closer is one that screams to the listener: "She took my heart, I think she took my soul. With the moon I run. Far from the carnage of the fiery sun." Use Somebody is a song that you can feel. You almost feel alone when you listen to this song. The way he says the verse with just guitar. "I've been roamin' around, I was lookin' down at all I see." Brilliant piece of music. There is 17, which is the lowest point on the album. rehashing his old number of 17. The majority of the songs, it seems, are about being alone or lonely. Which works perfectly with the album, because of the overall vibe it gives you when you listen. I know I felt it.

Overall Impression — 10
The Song arrangement is amazing: 01. Closer: absolutely amazing. Starts off with that erie cry of a guitar and then Caleb busts into it with that raspy voice that just works. 20/10 02. Crawl: Jared really shows off his skills and diversity with the distorted bass riff. The solo in this song is impressive as well, I think this was the song that they choose to show off their skills with. 10/10 03. Sex On Fire: just amazing. Caleb is Phenominal on this song. 20/10 04. Use Somebody: another great track with Caleb just tearing it up. Great reverberated background vocals as well. 20/10 05. Manhattan: rolls along. great track. lyrics are awesome. and the guitars are singing in your ears. 20/10 06. Revelry: awesome track. Starts out a little like Peter Gabriel. Really catchy chorus. a tiny bit too repetitive. 8/10 07. 17: just a poorly introed song. it starts off confusing with bells? It becomes an alright song if the bells would go away. Not awful. Just during the "Oh she's only 17" part. 6/10 08. Notion: great far off guitar in the begining to get you interested. Wonderful vocal line by Caleb. Great chorus. This just has everything. Only thing that bothers me is the crappy solo that sounds like an octave pedal. Much like The Police's So Lonely. It almost makes that part of the song unbearable. Thank God it's only for ten seconds in this song. 11/10 09. I Want You: starts off a little slow. Nice Cowbell and Tambourine Combination. Not a bad track. A Story more or less, not to be cluttered with too much. 7/10 10. Be Somebody: awesome riff once again. Great touch by Matthew with the distant guitar. Very catchy lyrics: "I loosen my tie". Great Track. 9/10 11. Cold Desert: amazing track! They couldn't have picked a better ending song. It almost makes you sad to say it is over. The creepy guitars are f--king amazing! This song is f--king great. One of those will go unheard because of it's peculiarity. I love it. 20/10 This album is by no means at all a disappointment. I think it is the best album to come out since Radiohead's Kid A in 2001. it is Phenominal. The only song I wish had not been on this album is 17. It is a new great sound for Kings Of Leon.

2 comments sorted by best / new / date

    Yeah I agree with the latter comments, this is a really good album with some gems like closer, sex on fire and use somebody. I'll admit I do miss the bluesy element to King's work, but they aren't "sell-outs" (whatever the hell that means anyway). I just hope that they're one of the last announcements for bdo, cause they're killer live.
    Although Youth & Young Manhood will always be KOL at their raw best for me, its fantastic to see a band evolving with each release. This album taken in context with the other three provides perfect balance to their catalogue and I'm sure that's how they see it. This is exactly where they were going. You can take each album and heap praise on it as a stand alone project, but taken as a whole, MY GOD.... 4 albums of this calibre in 5 years!! I see a rather long hiatus now and then a return to dirty, raw, rocking form which may scare away newer fans sold on this wider, big arena sound. I'm afraid to say these boys can do no wrong, and as long as they don't know that, we're lucky, lucky people!!