Defending the Indefensible: Kings of Leon
Everett True writes about music he likes at this site. Go there to find some amazing bands you probably haven't heard. Speaking of which, he'd managed to avoid hearing Kings of Leon until being assigned this article. Sorry.
Someone's been lying to me.
Someone once told me that Kings Of Leon can rock.
"I used to admire them for having Creedence hair," remarks one 'friend' on Twitter, "but now I can see they're just American jocks ... like the awful Foo Fighters."
Oh, come on.
1. Hair-length has never been a good signifier of ability to rock, otherwise we'd all be in thrall to Poison.
2. Music is not football, American rules or otherwise.
3. Dave Grohl's not that bad, is he? It's a serious question. I haven't knowingly listened to his group since 2000. But as far as I know, Foo Fighters have never released a song as mind-drudgingly dull and anaemic as "The End" from the new Kings Of Leon album Come Around Sundown, which is like Coldplay and U2 rolled into one only A MILLION TIMES OVER, and which features the most horrible guitar sound this side of Jonny Greenwood.
Foo Fighters have never released a song as pompous and meandering and bombastic as "Pony Up" from the new Kings Of Leon album Come Around Sundown, which is like Coldplay and U2 rolled into one only TEN MILLION TIMES OVER, and which features the most horrible drumming this side of Journey. Have they?
Foo Fighters have never released a song as shamelessly opportunistic as "Radioactive" from the new Kings Of Leon album Come Around Sundown, wherein Kings Of Leon drop all pretence of wanting to sound like Coldplay and sound EXACTLY like U2, even down to the pope-felching 'expressive' vocals of Caleb Followill. Have they?
Oh, wait. I'm thinking of the wrong Dave Grohl band.
"Their second album is great," writes another Twitter 'friend'. "They've since decided to become a Top 40 hit machine and I wish them all the best with that." Look, let's shout this out from the rooftops and wipe it in three-inch excrement across the chests of a thousand money-grabbing rock-destroying A&R men: I DON'T CARE WHAT KINGS OF LEON HAVE DONE BEFORE. Nothing can excuse this grey amorphous pottage of shoe-gazing guitars and rictus-inducing vocals, every song over-polished and wiped clean to buggery until all that is left of the original turd is an even smaller, even harder turd. I was expecting a mediocre Led Zeppelin rip from the fifth Kings Of Leon album, even a few dynamics. Not this. Not this pile of self-regarding, verbose, anodyne crap. How are the Kings Of Leon going to tell themselves apart from the Chris Martins and Bonos of this world when they meet at award ceremonies? I sure fucking hope their press machine remembers to write them name tags.
"There should be no thoughts on KOL after 2007," states another 'friend'. "They stopped being relevant 3 years ago." (Who are all these assholes who once listened to Kings Of Leon? What is their fucking problem? Why are they following me on Twitter? Why don't they go suck Perez Hilton's bum-hole or something if they're so into their celebrity culture and middle-of-the-sidewalk rock?) "Nothing that a bit of Warpaint can't cure, surely? ;-)" suggests another. No, no! Don't click on that link. It's like ... God, they even have the same fucking guitar sound as Kings Of Leon. WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU PEOPLE?
On the other hand, it seems like either the folk who follow me on Facebook really don't like Kings Of Leon, or (more crucially) don't want to be caught liking Kings Of Leon:
- "Fucking wank" -- well, no. Wanking is normally pleasurable, as is fucking. Kings of Leon are not.
- "I like to listen to KOL while gassing my family" -- see my point above. Unless you need to be in a bad mood before exterminating your folks.
- "Listening to Come Around Sundown is like a bad case of gastroenteritis ... as the record progresses, the bowel movements become more frequent" -- again, I would take issue with this. Bowel movements usually offer some form of relief. Come Around Sundown doesn't.
- "Their new songs sounds like a bad take on U2. Other than that, 2 words describe them: boring & over-rated" -- you can have a bad version of U2? Wow. You learn something new every day.
- "Cute. Boring music" -- cute? Boring is cute? Whoa.
- "First album ok, followed by steady decline to current nightmare" -- as the old punks used to say, never trust a hippie ... I mean, former Kings of Leon fan
- "Meh" -- meh to you too.
- "Hahahahahaha etc" - this is surely no laughing matter.
- "A study in the inverse curve popularity-vs-ability and shark-jumpers to a degree ..." -- in other words (please), they're good at what they do -- creating horrendous stadium-filling tat. The sheer mundane banality of Kings of Leon's music makes Katy Perry sound like a genius. Not that I'm saying she isn't.
- "Horrible, horrible thoughts"
- "I don't think much of them at all ..."
- "Whiney ..."
- "Devoid of grace, beauty and humour. I actually prefer Then Jericho and I really don't like those cunts" -- ooh, now that is low. Fair, but low.
- "There are worse bands. Kasabian, The Killers, Coldplay & Snooze Patrol. But that's it" -- I beg to differ, sir. I beg to differ.
Kings of Leon make rock music for people who don't really like rock music.
Actually, reverse those two words, "really" and "don't."