Kings of Leon are back after a year-long hiatus triggered by frontman Caleb Followill’s exhaustion due to alcohol and touring. Reports of them sounding invigorated may be accurate, but it all depends on what you expect of them. If it’s anything resembling rock and/or roll, don’t get your hopes up. However, if it’s several slight variations on the general ‘Murican theme of “heading back home on redemption road so I can kiss my sweetie pie” sprinkled with folksy idioms set to arena pop, then KoL’s sixth album Mechanical Bull is firing on all cylinders.
Caleb’s so patriotic his squirt-gun sexual apparatus fires the same colors as Old Glory. It least it hasn’t caught fire this time, but that doesn’t change the fact that he “can’t find [his] home [or his] place,” which will be a problem he’ll repeat nearly verbatim throughout the album. Sounds rough: [LISTEN]
After going for shock value by “searching for drugs in the desert,” also known as a weekend in Vegas, Caleb complains about how he “breaks down like a woman.” That drearily misogynistic flop of a line only delays his inevitable need to find a place and a home (again). As far as simple, vague, stadium anthems go, Only By The Night was way better: [LISTEN]
Caleb’s realized not only the drunken error of his ways, but also how much his loved ones have helped him through those dark times. As such, he digs into the Southern-gentleman handbook to signal his respect, by letting them know that he’d take a punch for them “in the temple:” [LISTEN]
Unfortunately, he ran out of ways to convey this emotion once the Tennessee slang dried up. So, he simply repeated it and moved the location of where he’d take it for you. Who knows, maybe there’s even a hidden track promising he’d take a knuckle sandwich to the gut. On the bright side, it’s sonically solid: [LISTEN]
The Followills could have let the balladic strength of “Wait for Me” speak to their resurgence, but Caleb needs you to know that he’s made a comeback. Nay, made the comeback – of a lifetime, no less. He still ‘doesn’t know where he’s going’ (although the listener has figured it out by now, at least lyrically), but at least he’s armed with a nice zinger borrowed from his grandpappy Leon, the band’s namesake: [LISTEN]