Kings Of Leon – Come Around Sundown

Come Around Sundown (2010)

C-

1. The End 2. Radioactive 3. Pyro 4. Mary 5. The Face 6. The Immortals 7. Back Down South 8. Beach Side 9. No Money 10. Pony Up 11. Birthday 12. Mi Amigo 13. Pickup Truck

 

Well, geez, Only By The Shite may have sucked, but at least it had a coherent identity and mission (ie $$$$$). I have no idea what the fuck they’re trying to do with this one. It seems as if they were attempting to regain some rock cred by making less overtly poppy music, but instead of coming up any actual interesting, rocking music, they just wrote songs without melodies. I guess that’s ultimately the best way to shed a radio audience… write songs so devoid of any catchy or distinctive traits whatsoever that no one with half a brain would ever play it on the radio anyway. I’m serious. I’ve listened to this album more times than anyone should ever have to and I still don’t have any idea what “The Face,” “The Immortals” and “Pony Up” sound like. A lot of these songs just have no melody whatsoever… there ain’t no riffs to be found, either, unless you count the cheesy “Sweet Child O’Mine” pastiche that pops up in the painfully forced pseudo-gospel rock lead single “Radioactive.” The song also has pretty much the only half-memorable chorus on the entire album (which Caleb oversings terribly, of course).

Come Around Sundown features basically the same sound as Only By The Night—echoey Edge-like guitars, 80s synths, terrible singing—but with all the cloying pop hooks removed. Maybe that’s a good thing in theory, but they didn’t replace those hooks with anything, which leaves them stranded in a dull, dull wasteland between shiny, well-packaged corporate pop/rock and what shiny, well-packaged corporate pop/rock artists apparently think constitutes “edgy experimentation.” It’s as if they think bashing out the first poor ass chords that come to their heads will earn them some regained respect in non-mainstream circles simply because nothing here is as poppy-sounding as “Use Somebody.” I mean, just listen to the moderate amount of craft that went into the pleasant arpeggiated guitar interplay and thoughtful melody of “Pyro” and compare it basically anything else on here… it seems like they only thing they spent nearly as much time on is finding just the right amount of reverb to put on the drums so that every time Nathan hits the snare I start wondering if the sound of me beating my own head in with a baseball bat would be any less appealing.

This album is just a slog to get through. It’s almost fifty minutes of lifeless nothingness, and the only thing I can remember about any of it after it finally ends is that it sounded really self-important with nothing to back it up. It’s obvious they’re torn between pandering to their new teenybopper fans making the dreary crap that they apparently consider to be “serious art.” Just look at the song titles, which range from pretentious (“The End,” “The Immortals,” “Radioactive” – I still haven’t a clue why it’s called “Radioactive” since the lyrics have nothing to do with the title) to the lowest common denominator of KOL’s former “we’re just average dudes with more hair” schtick (“Back Down South,” “Mi Amigo,” “Pickup Truck”). The result of all this obvious confusion on the part of the band is that nothing is as overtly obnoxious as “Sex On Fire,” but only because nothing registers enough to reach that point. Well almost nothing… “Beach Side” may legitimately be one of the worst songs I’ve ever heard in my life. It’s like an unholy combination of all the worst kinds of music ever made. I like to think I’m a pretty decent writer, but I simply don’t have the requisite amount of writing ability to accurately describe just how atrocious this song is. So I won’t try. Maybe with a couple of extra goofy synth sounds added it could qualify for “so bad it’s funny” status. As is, it’s just bad.

The sad part is that pretty much the only things that stand out about any of the other songs, devoid of any decent hooks or riffs, are the annoying parts. Like, for instance, the corny doo-wop melody and moronic pot metaphors that constitute “Mary.” Or the fact that “Back Down South,” sighing fiddle and all, is basically an accidental country song parody (but at least it has goddamned melody! Hey, I’ll take what I can get here). As for the rest, well… I can barely remember how it goes. Come Around Sundown is what happens when a band sells out and then tries to take it back, only to find that they have no clue how to.



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