Something for the Weekend
The sexiest album of last year has to be Only By the Night by Tennessee rock band Kings of Leon. This, their fourth album, was released in the late summer of 2008 and has proved to be their most successful yet.
I could go on to talk about the obvious influences of Radiohead and My Morning Jacket; opine the merits of the powerful blend of carefully crafted lyrics and guitar riffs in the impressive tracks (viz., Track 4, “Use Somebody”); discuss the political punch of the album’s second track, “Crawl,” and the fact that the timing for this release was perfect – an intelligent summer soundtrack.
But it is the first song from the album to be let loose onto an unsuspecting public that really does something to me. Whether it is the vocals of Caleb Followill (and the image of the skinny, jeaned, bearded lead singer belting it out on stage) or the power of the song in its entirety, I just don’t know. The title, “Sex on Fire,” speaks for itself, as do the Shakespearean lyrics:
Soft lips are open, knuckles are pale,
Feels like you’re dying,
You’re dyin’ well!
If you are innocent of the delights of Kings of Leon or you believe that rock is really not your thing, then make it your New Year’s resolution to try something different. Only By the Night will not leave you wanting.
The band’s back catalogue is also worth a perusal, with many tracks (“Slow Night So Long,” “King of the Rodeo,” and “Red Morning Light,” to name but three) that have become anthems across the dance floors of sweaty indie clubs around the world, Moscow in the forefront. Youth and Young Manhood (2003), Aha Shake Heartbreak (2004), and Because of the Times (2007) are all albums worthy of adding to your collection. Some may consider the indecipherable lyrics of these earlier albums to be a problem, but Followill’s mumblings combined with the band’s hard yet melodic support provide the listener with a totally enthralling experience.
Perhaps this is what sets their latest album apart and makes it their most commercially successful to date: You can hear every clearly enunciated word. Buy it...play it...love it!
Only By the Night is available at most record stores in Moscow, or dabble in “Sex on Fire” on YouTube.