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Album review: Kings of Leon’s ‘Mechanical Bull’ provides ’80s sound

mechanicalKings of Leon assumes the throne of rock again with the release of its new album.

“Mechanical Bull,” the Grammy-winning band’s sixth studio album, was released in stores Tuesday, three years after the release of its last album, “Come Around Sundown.”

The band from Nashville, Tenn. returns from a self-imposed hiatus in 2011 after an onstage meltdown in Dallas, Texas that made lead singer Caleb Followill walk off the set.

The album starts out strong with the band’s first released single “Supersoaker.” As soon as the song starts, a rapid guitar melody is played, setting the pace for the hyperactive number.

“Rock City,” the next track on the album, slows the tempo from “Supersoaker.” But gone are the days of the heartfelt lyrics of “Use Somebody” from 2008’s “Only By the Night” with lyrics like “I was running through the desert / I was looking for drugs” and “I was looking for a bad girl / Looking for a bad boy / Someone who could take all the night away.”

“Beautiful War,” the fourth song on the album, was my favorite track. The lyrics are very genuine, and Followill’s vocals are gentle to match the narrative of the song of a person’s reassurance to their hurting lover. The melody of the music is also not demanding compared to the rest of the album, where the melodies were heavier in percussion and guitar riffs.

I felt this album to be safe compared to other recent releases in the rock genre such as MGMT and Arctic Monkeys, as well as the band’s past albums. Nothing on the album stood out to me as “Use Somebody” did in 2008 that I’d like to listen to over again, though.

The album does have a 1980s rock feel to it. “Temple” and “Family Tree,” the fifth and seventh tracks on the album, reminded me of music from such ‘80s bands as The Cure and Duran Duran. “Comeback Story,” the eighth track on the album, has a surf rock feel to it, reminiscent of the beach sounding songs from the band’s last appropriately titled album in 2011.

 

Grade: C+

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