Friday, January 8, 2010

Remember When Kings of Leon Didn't Suck?

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)

Wasted Time.mp3
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!


toomuchcountry said...

Aren't you being a bit harsh Aimz? After all, the 23 y/o bassist has a mortgage to pay like the rest of us.

KOL bassist buys $1.83M home

chris said...

"...lead singer Nathan Followill"? Really? Somebody paid attention in his rage...

Anonymous said...

get over yourself man. stop hating so you can sound so in-the-know for a massive band. arguably one of the biggest in the world right now.

because they have radio hits? big deal. sure they sound a little different than back in 03 but maybe its because of the times? they have played huge stadiums and their songs needed to song good in that environment.
ive seen them a few times now, and sure, the last time i did it was in a huge arena, and not as good, but who can blame them for wanting to be big?theyve been HUGE in the UK and Europe for years (why the wrote "fans") .

poeple love to say that a band who is now popular (even though theyve been around for years) sold out or blahhh blahh, just so that they can say they were cool enough to know them "when they were ______________" .


Anonymous said...

Right on. This band sucks and deserves to be called out for shunning their true fans for the opportunity to sell out.

Their music has completely changed from what it once wasd, and not in a positive way. Instead of journeying deeper into the specific roots of their early work they escewed it in favor of light-rock hymns to placate children in search of an anthem for this year's high school prom.

kim said...

I too am sick of every music blog inevitably hating every band famous enough to be heard outside of the indie blog world, basically.
But I will agree, I have heard "use somebody" enough that I am sick to death of it. Where as, I have heard "the bucket" a hundred times and am still not sick of it.
And I don't feel bad for anyone with a mortgage over $1 mil. Must be nice, but I won't feel sorry for you when you default.

LD said...

Hey, I thought this band sucked when they were unwittingly ripping off Steppenwolf and playing tiny clubs. Now, that they're ginormous and ripping off Afghan Whigs, I still think they suck. Props to me for consistency.

Steve said...

Not everyone in the UK likes `em. I was night fishing on my boat and so long as I played a bunch of twang or alt country songs on the CD I was catching fish one after the other. Then I stuck a KoL disc on someone had lent me, and all the fish buggered off. Hated them ever since.

XIII said...

KOL finds a little success so now they are sell outs? Has Beck sold out? The White Stripes? Arcade Fire? Why so harsh towards KOL?! Were they sell outs when they were used in a car commercial?! Were the Flaming Lips when they were used in a car advert?! Just be happy that one of your faves has found some success and you can say that you were there from the beginning! I know I was and I am proud to say that I still love KOL!!! How does the saying go . . Don't hate the player, hate the game!!

Kings of Leon Tickets said...

First of all,i would say Congratulations to Kings of Leon for the Grammy award for Record of the Year, Best Rock Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal and Best Rock Song for "Use Somebody" at the 52nd Annual Grammy Awards.

Anonymous said...

It has nothing to do with radio play = sell out. Their noticeable change in sound between Aha Shake Heartbreak and Because of the Times is what proves KoL sold out. They didn't even start getting heavy radio play until their absolutely godawful Only by the Night album.

joey said...

they arent sell outs because they are famous you fuckin retards... they are sellouts because they changed everything about themselves the music they play and the way they look. They use to be a garage rock band almost a southern version of the strokes but now they are just as big of douches as say... 30 seconds to mars. Their sound completely changed and the only reason it changed is so they would have more fans in america and so they could make more money. fuck kings of leon i fuckin hate them now.

Anonymous said...

this: "It has nothing to do with radio play = sell out. Their noticeable change in sound between Aha Shake Heartbreak and Because of the Times is what proves KoL sold out. They didn't even start getting heavy radio play until their absolutely godawful Only by the Night album."

I will continue to listen to their first two albums.

Ranger Kenny 3rd said...

Did any of you KOL supporters actually read his blog entry? Gimmee a break, making money is fine, many bands do it without selling out, but sell out is clearly what KOL did.