When I listen to Youth and Young Manhood, Kings of Leon's brilliantly simple and simply brilliant debut, it makes me sad. Those 11 songs showcase the type of song writing that they're capable of, and yet they continue to favor this new arena rock sound that sells tickets but certainly lacks the panache and attitude that I fell in love with in 2005 (I caught on a little late). Don't get me wrong, I do like their new stuff as well - for example, the infectiously groovy "Manhattan" on Only By the Night. However, I think a lot of the difference between the whiskey battered licks from when the band started and the anthemic atmospheres they put out now is that they’re completely different musicians in 2010. They’ve said in interviews that they could barely play when Youth and Young Manhood came out. Lead singer Caleb has said that he used to mumble his singing in the beginning because he was self conscious about his lyrics. The first two albums were the result of a zeitgeist - the rebirth of an edgier disposition in rock in the early 00's, and it doesn’t look like we’ll be hearing that kind of stuff from them again.
Kings of Leon just released the video for their new single "Radioactive" off of the forthcoming Come Around Sundown (a lame title if you ask me). I opened the blog post like a child on Christmas morning, hoping that inside I would find just exactly what I wanted and expected all year long. Alas, "Radioactive" is an overall very forgettable song with a Breeders-esque bassline that is completely ruined by obnoxious guitars that hearken to Band of Horses' "Infinite Arms" let down. I will not post "Radioactive" - not because it is just an "eh" song or because it reminds me and others of Aldous Snow's "African Child" video - but because I would rather not think about its existence. Instead, I offer you two crowning achievements in the Kings of Leon catalog, and a glimmer of what once was: