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Album Review
Kings of Leon - Mechanical Bull Album Cover

Kings of Leon - Mechanical Bull

Reviewed by
8.5
Kings of LeonMechanical Bull
Record Label: RCA Records
Release Date: September 24, 2013
This review was written by an AP.net staff member.
It gets a little nebulous when you try to explain why Mechanical Bull is the best Kings of Leon album since Aha Shake Heartbreak. It’s not that the Followill boys have drastically changed anything about either their sound or persona. Perhaps it's that their Southern sensibilities have finally leveled out with their unexpected alt-rock fame. They’re not reacting to being “big” anymore. They aren’t giving interviews to British rock mags about how they beat the shit out of each other because they think that’s what made them “authentic.” And as I try to stammer out an eloquent theory or two about Mechanical Bull’s success, it’s comforting to know that the real answer is as simple as the foundation this band was built on. Mechanical Bull is just fucking fun.

If you’ve become numb to the statement, “Kings of Leon released a new single,” it’s time to wake up. “Supersoaker” and “Wait For Me” make excellent use of their elevated Southern rock formula. They’re smart in the same way your mechanic is, in that they know everything there is to know about one topic – but nothing more. “Supersoaker”’s effortlessly catchy and raucous chorus is exhibit A: “Cause I’m a supersoaker red, white and blew ‘em all away / With the kisses unclean as the words that you say / I don’t mind sentimental girls at times / Miss don’t walk away.” There’s an ease here that wasn’t in the try-hard posturing of Come Around Sundown or a song like “Cold Desert.”

Much like the album’s namesake, you can expect a good time, every time. From songs like the bluesy porch-tune “Rock City” to the, I assume extremely cathartic, country-tinged “Comeback Story,” Mechanical Bull is an album built to be performed live. And that’s exactly what we want from the Kings – a chance to gather up our friends and a few substances and just forget our lives while getting lost in Caleb Followill’s tales. His storytelling has always persisted, but it’s best when it’s simple. It’s refreshing to hear a song from them called “Temple,” where the chorus is, naturally, “I take one in the temple / I take one for you.” The guitars spring to life and the ever-reliable bass of Jared Followill bounces with the excitement of a bar brawl.

It sounds condescending, but it’s so nice to not have to figure out what the Kings of Leon are thinking. Mechanical Bull is a Southern breeze of an album, and one that doesn’t feel like it could even be written by a band with a song called “Sex on Fire.” In “Temple” we even hear the lines, “I just want to be noticed,” and we hear the fire behind the music they’re making. (Oh, and of course, there’s also a nice piece of Americana to close out the album called “On The Chin.”) But we’re not sitting around analyzing psyches or figuring out which starlet fucked over which Followill. Mechanical Bull is the sound of real life. It’s the sound of Kings of Leon realizing that sometimes where you were is better than where you ended up.


RATING: 8.5/10
 
Displaying posts 1 - 15 of 26
03:15 PM on 09/19/13
#2
Craig Manning
Down in Jungleland
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Solid review, Blake. Favorite tracks on this joint? I'm partial to "Beautiful War."
09:36 PM on 09/19/13
#3
Blake Solomon
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Solid review, Blake. Favorite tracks on this joint? I'm partial to "Beautiful War."
yeah, love that one. think my favorite is still "wait for me" though. but i also really dig "temple" and "comeback story"
05:55 AM on 09/20/13
#4
Modern Leper
what?
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I've never liked this band but Supersoaker sounds like early Walkmen and that's cool with me.
07:04 AM on 09/20/13
#5
morgantayler
We are all Tatiana Maslany.
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Nice review! I love all of their albums but this one definitely returns to the style of some of their older stuff which is great. My favorites right now are Rock City, Wait For Me, and Coming Back Again.
07:13 AM on 09/20/13
#6
Phil507
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This band's first two albums contain some of the most hookless rock I've ever listened to yet their "real fans" hold those 2 albums in such high regard and I can't figure out why. Curious to hear this.
07:16 AM on 09/20/13
#7
transitrock
young brash hopeful
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maybe i'm too open-minded but i have enjoyed all of their albums, this one included. Come Around Sundown was my jam last year.
07:20 AM on 09/20/13
#8
Blake Solomon
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This band's first two albums contain some of the most hookless rock I've ever listened to yet their "real fans" hold those 2 albums in such high regard and I can't figure out why. Curious to hear this.
well then take that style and add in some hooks and you have Mechanical Bull
08:19 AM on 09/20/13
#9
drudo182
You Are Not Alone
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1. Temple
2. Rock City
3. Wait for Me

I wouldn't say it's their best since Aha, but I dig it a lot.
09:45 AM on 09/20/13
phaynes1
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Family tree and beautiful war are two of the worst songs this year. Liked don't matter and the last two. About it.
10:27 AM on 09/20/13
Blake Solomon
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Family tree and beautiful war are two of the worst songs this year. Liked don't matter and the last two. About it.
still nailing it bro! love your style!
10:29 AM on 09/20/13
Slangster
Kill the lights, I've seen too much
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Love this album. "Temple", "Rock City", "Comeback Story", and "Tonight" are favorites, and the two singles are great as well.
11:16 AM on 09/20/13
Craig Manning
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Man, phaynes and I could never be friends. Haha
11:41 AM on 09/20/13
phaynes1
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Man, phaynes and I could never be friends. Haha
Have plenty of friends with bad music taste!!
12:10 PM on 09/20/13
Jake Jenkins
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This band has a handful of songs I absolutely adore and a whole lot of shit I hate. I'm definitely going to listen to this eventually

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