Only By the Night

by Jacquelyn Lewis

Kings of Leon’s new album is heartfelt with a dark, southern, restless edge.

“Jesus don’t love me/No one ever carried my load/I’m too young to fill this road,” croons Kings of Leon frontman Caleb Followill on Only By the Night closer “Cold Desert.” This heartfelt line sums up the band’s new album nicely. They have matured naturally, like finely aged bourbon, but they still have their youth, ambition, and a dark, southern restlessness. With their fourth release, they continue building on the spiraling guitars and big melodies of their previous work, except Only’s a little darker (“Crawl,” “Sex on Fire”), and the chaos is more controlled. “Seventeen” is a tale of yearning and restraint, which showcases Followill’s falsetto, while “Use Somebody” may be their first light-rock anthem. Its counterpart, “Be Somebody,” simply says “Given a chance/I wanna be somebody/If just for one dance/I’m gonna be somebody.” Unlike the characters in their tunes, Kings of Leon don’t have to dream of being “somebody”—they already are.

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