#11. Kings of Leon- Because of the Times (2007): Somewhat lost in the hype over Kings of Leon’s most recent album Only by the Night, is the brilliance and maturity they brought here. Preceded by the sophomoric Aha Shake Heartbreak, the family Followill makes a quantum leap here with a collection of material that brings their post-punk influence front and center. Lyrically, there is no new ground covered here. Older, but still young men, the themes of youth still exist. Yet the music, production, and musicianship reflects a level unseen in prior albums. Instead of Lynyrd Skynyrd tinged-garage rock, the band goes arena style with tunes like “Fans,” an homage to, well their fans. The opener “Knocked Up” is a sparse seven minute trance sprinkled with staccato drums and harmonic guitars that sounds like nothing you’ve heard from K-O-L before. Perhaps the strongest tune on the album, “Arizona” is as lonely and desolate as anything Rey Lamontagne has put out. Though their latest album made them a household name, Because of the Times is no doubt a stronger offering.
Faves: Knocked Up; On Call; McFearless; Black Thumbnail; Fans; Trunk; Arizona