August 8th, 2008
I don't really know what's going on here. I think it's an "exorcism" plot. Caleb's exorcising his demons; or something. There's lots of symbolism--the Rooster (ie. Caleb's alter ego), it looks like they are flipping through the Bible, Baptism, Nathan without his shirt on, etc. Well, I have no idea. I liked my sister's idea where all four band members just milked the whole male model thing and made a music video in the tradition of a risque Calvin Klein advertisement. If you're gonna mail it in, might as well make it count, right? That said, I see nothing redeeming about the new Kings of Leon stuff. I'm sorry, but I'm not into U2, and it sounds like U2. Or some other kind of stadium rock. I always liked them because they had a garage, country, punk sound, which didn't sound like anything else, or if it did, it was a good thing.
July 30th, 2009
Fast forward to now. The "Sex on Fire" video still confuses the hell out of me, but I can see that "Only by the Night" is a solid effort. I think what threw me off about both of the latest two Kings of Leon releases was how much their sound has changed, compared to the first two albums. I complained that they've shifted to a more arena rock, less country-punk sound. That may still be true, but when I listen to "Only by the Night," I no longer fixate on how much it sounds like U2 (maybe that was just paranoia all along). Instead, I hear something more accessible, easier to listen to, more melodic, and just bigger sounding in general. There are a lot of "soaring vocals" on "Only by the Night," but not enough to rival U2's "El-Eeeeh-Vayyy-shyyunnnn" thank God.
PS. Patrick McDonald says that "Sex on Fire" is tongue in cheek. Is it?