by Emily Grinberg
*Out of 5
When I hear the name “Kings of Leon,” the first thing that comes to mind is their unexpected blowout in 2011 when frontman Caleb Followill walked off stage, heavily intoxicated and unable to finish their set at Dallas’s Gexa Energy Pavillion. The rest of their tour to promote Come Around Sundown, their fifth album, was cancelled but the band has significantly cleaned up their act since. The 2013 release of their sixth album, Mechanical Bull, was followed by a successful tour and was crucial for the band to crawl their way back up the charts and into mainstream media again. Kings of Leon are following this up with WALLS – an acronym for “We Are Like Love Songs” – which was released on October 14th, 2016.
Kings of Leon’s usual recording spot is in their hometown of Nashville, however they decided to get a bit nostalgic and record WALLS in Los Angeles, where their first two albums were created. They figured it would be the perfect change of scenery and hopefully give them a new sense of inspiration, and succeeded – WALLS is full of powerful, yet haunting tracks. The band decided to go extra passionate on this album with topics including heartbreak, death, and addiction. While a majority of the album is fueled by dark thoughts, the sound is light and airy. The third track, “Around the World,” has the makings of a summer anthem, perfect for driving on the highway with the windows down. Also on the upbeat side, are songs such as “Eyes on You” and “Find Me,” which contain peppy drum rhythms and stimulating electric guitar riffs.
Although Kings of Leon’s ability to get themselves together and discover a newfound motivation for making music is commendable, WALLS is nothing special. Many of the tracks feature cliché lyrics such as, “My heart will never let you go” and “never ask to be forgiven.” Their sound hasn’t progressed since their older albums. The 2008 hit, “Sex on Fire” is comparable to “Waste a Moment” – Followill’s voice even enters at the same time on both songs following a similar instrumental introduction.
We Are Like Love Songs is a great listen, but there is nothing that specifically sparks my interest. I can’t quite pick a favorite song on the album because they all satisfy me the same amount. If you’re looking for music to listen to on a long car ride, or background music while you’re cleaning your room, WALLS is your album.