RE-REVIEW: Kings of Leon, “Because of the Times”
By Breanna Murphy on April 7, 2011
We're not perfect and, let's face it, sometimes hindsight is truly 20/20. It's with that spirit that we approach the FILTER Re-Review, a second chance for us to evaluate our opiniony opinions on records from past issues. How does the record hold up now that we've had years to contemplate and listen? What would we give the record if it was coming out in the next issue? Two of FILTER's editorial staff, Editor-In-Chief Pat McGuire and Associate Editor Breanna Murphy, sat down to scratch their heads on a few releases and present to you: The Re-Review.
What are some records you think we did wrong? Leave 'em in the comments and we might just give it a second look.
Kings of Leon
Because of the Times
If I’m ever in a bar fight, I’m gonna pray the Kings of Leon have my back. Sure, at first glance the Followill boys might appear to be a boy band masquerading behind designer denim, a nomadic revivalist upbringing and grimy Southern garage jams that make you pump your fist and spread your legs all at once. But there ain’t nothin’ bubblegum about cocaine-induced impotence or self-loathing one-nighters with faceless groupies, and these boys don’t just live this gruesome reality—they have the cajones to sing about it, too. Make no mistake: these dudes are fuckin’ cowboys. Surprisingly, two albums deep and the group’s success in the ol’ U.S. of A. has left a little to be desired, while our fish-and-chips friends from across the pond have treated the Kings like Americana bluebloods from day one. But all that rock-and-roll gunslingin’ and on-the-road ruckus has matured the Pentecostal posse, and they’re ready to preach their electric outlaw gospel to the American masses once and for all, with six-shooters a-blazin’.
Because of the Times is the Kings’ fiery repentance for unplanned pregnancies, black Camaros and the songs of the road, and it is their finest confession to date. From the weeping harmonics of “Knocked Up” to the shrieking vocals on “Charmer” that echo like a Greek siren close-miked inside a coffin, the boys seem hell-bent for sonic stimulation. The remaining tunes blend stoner-friendly guitar atmospherics with grizzled Motor City licks that would give Ted Nugent a stiffy, while Caleb’s garbled, seemingly drunken warbles pierce and penetrate as if a switchable were pressed against his jugular. This is meat-and-’taters rock mixed with the Devil’s blood, and these lady-killin’ rawhides dance the diablo two-step like they’re fixin’ for their day of reckoning. Yipee-kay-yeah. PHIL EASTMAN
(originally ran in FILTER 24 Winter '07)
Original Rating: 90%
Original Review Said: "Because of the Times is the Kings’ fiery repentance for unplanned pregnancies, black Camaros and the songs of the road, and it is their finest confession to date."
Are We Still Listening?: Depends on how many glasses of whiskey we've had.
Legacy: A low pinnacle of a platinum(-selling) career. In 2011, Kings of Leon sell millions of records, have a clothing line, sell-out massive tours and take home Grammys. It's also entirely en vogue to knock 'em 'til they're down. In 2007, the Followills were a huge sensation across the Pond but remarkably blahly-received by the public here in the States. Oh, how those times a-change. We can't fully hate on "On Call"—probably the single that would launch the Kings into radio play and stardom at home—or "Knocked Up" or "Arizona," but they ain't got the sweet and bitter cocaine charms of Aha Shake Heartbreak. Since we've got the advantage of retrospect, all we can say here is: it could (and did) get a lot worse.
Refreshed Rating: 79%