Only by the Night review by Kings of Leon

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  • Released: Sep 23, 2008
  • Sound: 7
  • Lyrics: 7
  • Overall Impression: 7
  • Reviewer's score: 7 Good
  • Users' score: 8.6 (101 votes)
Kings of Leon: Only by the Night

Sound — 7
Kings Of Leon has an intangible quality that makes their songs very pleasing and yet very common sounding. There is nothing sonically spectacular or ear-popping impressive about KOL's music, but their songs have mass appeal which keeps people gravitating to their albums. The Tennessean quartet of brothers Caleb Followill on lead vocals/rhythm guitar, Jared Followill on bass, Nathan Followill on drums, and their cousin Matthew Followill on lead guitar, have released their fourth studio album Only By The Night. As much as the band talks about making each album different, some things about them will never change. For instance, Caleb's voice still has a rusty yowling pitch relatable to Peter Frampton which he will never shake off and that is just fine, because his voice is perfectly fitted to the band's slow burning rock fuses wired with Southern country blues esthetics and smoky heartland rock pastorals reminiscent of The Marshall Tucker Band. Kings Of Leon have a tendency to make songs that people can sing along to while on their way to work or simply involved in the daily activities of life. The music is common, and yet there is something very special about the songs. The band's lyricist Caleb Followill explains on the band's website that the track Use Somebody, deals with feeling lonely on the road as he expresses, It's about being far from home. The track revitalizes vintage rock seedlings liken to Bob Seger and Joe Walsh and makes good use of the band's rhythm section who have a proclivity to create slow throbbing rhythmic swells. Many tracks are garbed in wall to wall heartland rock stylized cables which rig songs like Closer, Crawl and Revelry as Caleb's raw vocal textures are barricaded in smooth melodically furnaced harmonies. The upbeat rhythmic strokes of Manhattan are grated by sleek vibrating guitar effects that soar and recede in alternating phases as transfusions of Southern-waxed bluesy tones are shot into the melody. Beams of vintage rock flames are freckled with harsh tugging drum strikes and exasperating guitar twists venting out steamy emotions in the tune Somebody. The smoky vapors and cool rock strut of I Want You" is reminiscent of Nick Gilder's infectious 1978 hit song Hot Child In The City, and the band's slow whipping flusters cloaking Sex On Fire swarm loosely around Caleb's vocals like a ring of moss growing at the base of a tree bark. There is a regenerative quality about Kings Of Leon's music that makes it earthy and keeps their well of songs always filled to the brim.

Lyrics — 7
Caleb's lyrics are very personal, and yet, they have a broad appeal which is able to tell the story of so many people's lives. The band's song Manhattan is about combating loneliness by inviting all lonely souls to join in the festivities, No matter who you are / So you dance all night / And dance all day / I say, I say / We're gonna feel the fire / We're gonna stoke it up/ We're gonna sip this wine / And pass the cup / Who needs avenues / Who needs reservoirs / We're gonna show this town / How to kiss the stars. Caleb's words often deal with feeling lonely even though on stage on through the songwriting process, he is surrounded by family. Like many regular people, Caleb Followill has something inside of him that makes him feel isolated and eager to get out of his system, and his journey is documented in KOL's songs. Each album is another page that takes a deeper look inside of Caleb Followill.

Overall Impression — 7
Kings Of Leon have Southern rock tastes with soft bluesy textured sound bytes. Their new album Only By The Night shows aspects of nostalgia and elements of soft pop, melodic rock, and country-folk. Though their music shows remnants of classic rock, their songs are all their own, made from their own handcrafted gaskets, briquettes, and geysers. For the recording of Only By The Night, Kings Of Leon returned to Nashville's Blackbird studios with their long-time producer Angelo Petraglia and Nashville-based producer/engineer Jacquire King at the helm. The band makes the best of what they have and they don't seem to desire anything outside of it. They seem pleasantly content with the music that they make, and they don't forage through other band's garages or experiment beyond what classic rock has equipped them with and inspires in them. They make classic rock a contemporary music form, which adds pages to it's own historical logs.

18 comments sorted by best / new / date

    this album is their worst, yet its no 1 in the 'charts' thats proof that the charts is bultish, and the music industry is fkked.
    sorry for the double post but i just had to say that i do admire them trying something differnt, if they made the same record as their first one i would be saying they sound excatly the same as before so hats off to them trying summat new, i do like this record.
    I like this record but i do prefer there first two records, i think there best record was there first one youth and young manhood, they had a raw sound back then i liked that, their new record sounds a bit over produced but thats my opinon still this record though just not as good as the other stuff.
    Thomas dude
    j_hunter_hkr wrote: They peaked on 'Aha Shake...' and it's been downhill from there. Because Of The Times had it's moments, but I much prefer the old KoL to the new one.
    nah thats wrong its a great album
    man this is pretty intense! Everyone should just know that no matter what the Kings Of Leon rock the shit off of everybody, closest band to come close to them right now is the Foo Fighters and Radiohead and Coldplay and Muse... Okay now I'm just spowting off my favorite bands but Yeah The Kings Of Leon rocks so hard. Best album, Because Of The Times, My favorite, Aha Shake Heartbreak. Different strokes for deifferent folks right?
    See I remember this with RHCP fans. As soon as they mellow out a little and change their sound, the 'hardcore' fans are all over them complaining to bring back the old stuff. Guess what? They've matured, and in a ll honesty would get worse if they recycled their old sound. Only the true hardcore fans will welcome this with open arms. It's a cracking effort.
    I don't care that they've evovled and changed their style really, I just think it's a really average album. Nothing really stands out..
    Early Cuyler
    although i do miss their country-fried rock outs... i ****ing LOVE this new album.... its clear that theyre evolving... and all good things do.. i mean how many Beatles albums sound the same?
    My friend was listening to this the other day and I thought he was listening to christian rock. I swear I did. I had no idea who it was at the time. I'll have to give it a real listen some time, though. It was from another room and I wasn't really paying attention.
    personally, like all of their other albums... i love this one. i think it is a lot more consistent, all of the songs are good, but unlike Because of the Times... there arent as many AMAZING songs. they have evolved a lot since aha, and this is an evolution i like.
    Bozjoarmstrong wrote: i personally think this is terrible sex on fire is an insult to rock music, and frankly i am shocked that it got to number one Kings of Leon should stick to what they know instead of betraying their fans with this crap
    Waaaaahhhhh If you don't like it, don't listen to it. If you think a band shouldn't change, listen to someone who gets paid and who are praised to do the same bull shit over and over again. Bands change and grow, so should their fans. I love this new album, it's good, but it's awesome to mix in the really good old KOL to.
    666JakeY666 wrote: Okay, I had this album a week before it's release. And I havn't stopped playing it. It's a great KOL album everything you could want from them. So the people who are ripping on them by saying "I want the old KOL back" then your not really a fan of the band. Your a fan of THAT band, I've loved them since the first album. Seems like another Metallica thing going on here.
    Fans should really consider how good their albums are. They've got excellent material, so, stop it with this garbage, people.
    I thought track 1 was brilliant. track 2 dull. track 3 and 4 brilliant. and then it steadily went downhill from there. Some songs suffered from having no ideas as to where they could go. I remember some songs suffering from having too polished a production on them. Ultimately, like most of KOL's albums, i think this is one to download, delete the 60-70% of duff tracks and keep the rest. If KOL were more consistent they'd be amazing.
    Before this came out KOL were getting better with each album but this is easily their worst. I like about 5 songs on this but apart from that I don't like it at all. Sounds a little too much like they're trying to sound like U2, in my opinion.