Ten Years. It has been ten years since Kings of Leon first broke on to the scene with their debut album “Youth&Young Manhood”. This September, the polarizing but undeniably successful band from Tennessee, return to our streams of consciousness with their six studio album titled “Mechanical Bull”.
I will wait while the excitement dies down in here…
I remember the days when Kings of Leon were considered a breath of fresh air in indie music circles. I’m thankful my senility hasn’t quite set in yet. I was intrigued back in 2003 the first time I heard ‘Molly’s Chambers’. I was excited a year later when I heard ‘The Bucket’. I was still cautiously optimistic when I heard ‘On Call’, then became weary when I heard “Sex On Fire”. By the time ‘Radioactive’ was released, I just stopped listening.
I admit I am a typical indie music snob. It is no surprise that I began to lose my taste for listening to Kings of Leon in 2008, when they became massively successful. In 2007 KOL’s third album “Because Of The Times” introduced the band to a larger audience, in 2008 “Only By The Night” confirmed the band as a worldwide draw. The charming, promising, young indie kids from Tennessee became an obnoxiously overplayed, stadium filling, band that your mom and dad were comfortable listening to.
I tell myself all the time that I don’t begrudge a band success. I am quick to point out that Arcade Fire is a Grammy Award winner, and I probably love them more now than I did five years ago. I have been a fan of The National long before they became a household name, and I still love them today. I still have an affection for Muse even if I believe their last album stunk. Truth is, some bands can pull of the mass appeal thing better than others.
It isn’t how successful a band becomes that ruins them, it is what the success seemingly does to the music. Too often, talented bands become watered down, and I’m probably not going to get much argument from people that Kings of Leon are a perfect example of this. By appealing to the masses, they’ve made themselves and their music much less exciting. Maybe the natural order of things is that when bands age, their music loses its’ edge, and it gets passed off as maturation. It happens to us as individuals, so I guess it shouldn’t surprise us when it happens to our favorite bands. I know I certainly can’t live my life the same way I did ten years ago. Aging is a bitch, and in modern times, we go to the plastic surgeon to help us turn back the clock. Sometimes it works for a bit, but in the end, plastic surgery is just a superficial and temporary fix to a process we can’t stop.
A band and its life cycle is much like we are. In September, Kings of Leon are going to try and turn back the clock. Back to a time when they weren’t automatically written off by people like me who have lost their excitement for the band. The band has intimated that they are returning to their roots, before they achieved massive appeal, but we have heard this before from other aging bands. Problem is, these returns to ones youth are rarely successful. When everyone knows you, it’s difficult to be fresh and exciting.
Kings of Leon should be proud they have made it ten years. Most bands fizzle out long before, and don’t have near the catalog of music, or near the talent. However, it doesn’t mean they are exciting anymore.
But I will let you all decide for yourselves. The Kings of Leon have released their first single off the new album, and it is called ‘Supersoaker’. Check it out below, and let us know…does this make you excited about Kings of Leon again?