Remember back in the good old days, around 2003-2007, when Kings of Leon didn't suck? I first became aware of KOL back when I still read Spin magazine in early 2003, and I got their Holy Roller Novocaine EP. Every year I make a list of CDs that I want for Christmas and my family randomly picks a few, and for Christmas of 2003 my brother gave me Youth & Young Manhood. I was in love with this album. Finally, a new generation of southern blues-rock! Their 2005 release, Aha Shake Heartbreak was even better. They lost me a bit on Because of the Times, their 2007 album, mainly because the first two songs on the album were awful (the song about babies, "Knocked Up," and the screaming song, "Charmer"). But the rest of the album was really good. I even saw them in concert that summer and they put on a damn good show.
But then in late 2007 I read an article about them and lead singer Nathan Followill was intoxicated and bitching to the reporter about how they should be more respected in US. Apparently they had this huge following in the UK, which didn't translate to the US market. I thought, "who the fuck is this guy to have such a sense of entitlement? He should appreciate what he has." Since day one this band has been on a major label (RCA). Hell, they were signed before their bass player even knew how to play, and their guitarist was only 16. Most bands dream of this kind of opportunity and success. Bob Stinson is rolling over in his grave!
On one of the rare times I was listening to the radio last year, I heard this band that sounded like Kings of Leon, but the song was awful. It couldn't be Kings of Leon, could it? Yep, it was that horrible "Sex on Fire" song. Or, as one of my Twitter followers said, "that firecrotch song." Frankly, I was shocked KOL was getting radio play. The firecrotch song is from Only By the Night, which reached #1 in the UK, #5 on the Billboard charts in the US, although Pitchfork mercifully trashed it, giving it a 3.8 out of 10 (for once, I agree with Pitchfork).
Late last summer I heard about Nathan Followill insulting a mild-mannered crowd at the Reading Festival. "We're the goddamn Kings of Leon, so fuck you." Ah yes, the son of a minister. Who would Jesus tell off?
But the real nail in the coffin, the reason I am finishing with KOL, is that, like Fall Out Boy and My Chemical Romance before them, they launched a clothing. And not any clothing line, but a "high end" clothing line that their tweeny fans can't even afford. For example, the bandanna to the right which I screen captured off of the Vogue website, sells for 65 British pounds. According to the Bank of Canada, for today, Friday, January 8, 2010, 65 pounds is $107.52 Canadian dollars or $103.95 US. I may not know much about retail, but I know enough cowboys to know that a $107.52 (presumably) cotton bandanna is a retail markup of approximately 20,000 percent.
So thanks KOL, its been fun, but you have abandoned your early fan base. I'll still listen to your first few albums, and I wish you well, but, we are breaking up. Although you are not over yourselves, I am over you.
Holy Roller Novocaine.mp3
Buy (MP3 only, CD out of print): Holy Roller Novocaine EP (2003)
Buy: Youth & Young Manhood (2003)
Taper Jean Girl.mp3
Buy: Aha Shake Heartbreak (2005)
Edit: Spin just posted a blurb about their "band of the year" and their fashion line. Love the comments section. S-E-L-L-O-U-T!