Friday, September 24th, 2010

Kings of Leon – Radioactive

It’s probably going to be number one, it’s…


Doug Robertson: While Kings of Leon have been away, counting their money and wondering how they got to the stage where even pigeons feel the need to express a critical opinion on them, they have clearly also been spending quite a lot of time listening to A) The Talking Heads in general and B) The Talking Heads’ cover of Take Me To The River in particular. Sadly they didn’t spend even a smidgeon of a second on the slightly more important C) actually having an original idea for once in their lives, and so this can be rated a D, which roughly equates to the same mark the pigeons gave them.

Alfred Soto: Thus, Kings of Leon solve the problem of giving a generation without its “Lakini’s Juice” a taste of stentorian religiomystic twaddle.

Martin Skidmore: One of the world’s more tedious rock bands, they seem to be after a kind of arena rock these days, and while the guitar playing is sort of bright in places, the deeply boring and unimaginative singing and song make this a total no-hoper.

Edward Okulicz: A pleasing clatter, a drony riff and I was very nearly dancing and wondering if Kings of Leon had discovered fun or something. They haven’t. The verses are inoffensive but when they amp up and rabbit on about it being IN THE WATER, something about it drips with a pretension that belies the fourth-grade poetry of the lyrics.

Anthony Easton: I think that Kings of Leon, who used to have a solid southern rock energy, has become slightly worse then Nickelback but better then Hedley — for a song that is about how local water influences local sound, the irony of the absolute genericness of this has the subtlety of a chainsaw.

Mallory O’Donnell: Every other rock band ever, meet the Kings of Leon. Kings of Leon, meet… oh, I see. You already know those dudes.

Chuck Eddy: So is this their “Cannonball” move, their late ’80s David Byrne move, or their late ’80s U2 move? Or did they do that last one already? Hard for me to separate these hacks’ music from all the tone-deafs who think they ever had anything to do with either “Southern rock” or “garage rock”, who think they made three (or any) of the 80 (or 8000) best albums of the past decade (howdy Rolling Stone), who think Caleb “We Don’t Want To Go In There And Do Something That Isn’t Real And Something That Doesn’t Really Move Us” Whatshisface has anything remotely interesting to say to justify any feature that’s not a business story about how their promotion and/or management teams have persuaded sheep in high places to take their nondescript tenth-generation post-grunge seriously, and helped turn that into a durable career. In the great tradition of the comparably useless Foo Fighters, their interesting-for-five-minutes-in-2003 backstory (they’re preacher’s kids, y’know!) has clearly proved quite valuable. But at least this track can’t be confused with Candlebox, Live, Seven Mary Three, or Blind Melon — I’ll give it that. (Also: Pigeon poop!)

8 Responses to “Kings of Leon – Radioactive”

  1. Okay, I was wrong — Alfred compared this to Live after all! (Also funny that, despite clearly hating these guys’ guts, I tied for the second best score here. Almost went with at “3,” then looked back at the score I’d given “Notion” last year, which was a “4,” and decided this was sure no less stomachable than that single — probably even a slight improvement — so I stuck with that grade here too. Also get the idea I probably have a higher tolerance for certain kinds of “rock” than most Jukeboxers: even when it’s inept like this.)

  2. For the several seconds at the beginning that I liked this, I thought it might turn into their Teddybears move (for sounding like “Yours To Keep”). I don’t mind their sounding unoriginal so much as their sounding vastly worse than anything they remind me of (including Paramore sounding surprisingly good sounding like Kings Of Leon). Doubt that it’s the promotion/management team that’s primarily responsible for Kings Of Leon being taken seriously, though. For some reason this band is really respected by all sorts of types, from hip-hoppers to goth poppers; everybody but us.

  3. It helped that I’d heard “Lakini’s Juice” the day before.

  4. Actually, a head-clearing bike ride has just convinced me “clearly hating these guys’ guts” is a bit of hyperbole. As is my claim that they didn’t make any of the 8000 best albums of the past decade. (My own ’00s lists probably top off around the 1000 mark, at least if you exclude reissues, so how the heck would I know?) Guess it just really bugs me how, in a decade that — thanks to Nashville — was frankly an excellent one for music that sounds like Southern hard rock, such a mediocre band was knighted by so many as keepers-alive-of-the-rock-flame. Just makes no sense to me at all; but then, to be honest, I never really got what the big deal was with U2, either (especially after their first few LPs), or Pearl Jam even more so. So maybe I just have a major blind spot for this sort of earnest mush. That said, I did get the idea, compared to other stuff I’ve heard by them, that Kings Of L were at least attempting something a little different with this particular track — maybe even something vaguely new wavey. Which, for post-grunge hacks, is usually not a horrible move to make. (Though also, one reason I assume these dorks get so much respect industrywide and across genres is that, compared to other recent popular rock bands post-grunge and otherwise, they sound less heavy. Which, a’ la Foo Fighters, makes them tasteful, somehow. Do think skilled marketing has a whole lot to do with it, though.)

  5. And by “other recent popular rock bands” I mean, for starters, the band that Anthony mentioned up above, Nickelback — whose post-grunge seems no less varied, whose best hit songs are lot better, and who reach a much bigger audience than even Kings of Leon do, and cross over pop way more as well, but who, as far as I can tell, are regularly dismissed as symptomatic of everything wrong with commercial rock by the same people who think Kings Of Leon stand way above the pack. How do you explain that? (Also, as far as I can tell, Kings don’t have anyone with half the charisma of an Eddie Vedder, much less a Bono. So their appeal as rock stars pales next to those two bands, too. On the other hand, pretty sure I read once that lots of women find the Followill brothers sexy, and maybe Caleb’s singing even more so? Which strikes me as odd, because to my ears his grunting usually doesn’t diverge all that much from the constipated post-grunge norm.)

  6. I don’t mind their sounding unoriginal so much as their sounding vastly worse than anything they remind me of


  7. Can’t believe this won’t end in the courts v Talking Heads – oh boy, it’s so unoriginal, I can’t believe someone in the studio hasn’t said ‘Erm, d’ya not think this sounds like Talking Heads’!!!!

  8. I thought its was a Talking Heads cover !!
    I heard it the car and was thinking
    “Damn which one are they covering… sounds a bit like take me to the river but… i dunno”