Monday, March 22, 2010

Top 50 Albums of the 00s - #26: Kings of Leon - Aha Shake Heartbreak

Yep, we're counting down the top 50. Click here for overview and criteria.

Kings of Leon consists of three brothers and a cousin from Tennessee who were raised to play music with their evangelical father, but this hardly sounds like gospel. Whether their fuzzy rock and roll is meant as an act of rebellion is hard to tell, and in the end totally unimportant. What matters is that through all the disarray of this record, you feel like you stumbled into some kind of messed up party, but rather than feeling apprehensive, you're going to live it up. This is just a shit-kicking good time. And that's precisely the point.

I would comment that the lyrics are hardly inspiring, but that's more of an assumption than anything since most of what Caleb Followill's vocals range from unintelligible to cryptic. Somehow this void of meaning and male aggression appealed to indie hipsters and frat boys alike and led to the band's current overwhelming success. While I don't want to count myself in either of those groups, I must say that even though they came to this band for different reasons, they're both right. This is music to get wasted to, whether your cheap beer of choice is PBR or Natural Light.

Aha Shake Heartbreak. I can't think of a more aptly titled album. It sounds just like it sounds. Their first record, Youth & Young Manhood had the same feel, but the songs lacked the drunken punch featured here. The band had been working on their game and it showed. I realize that this undermines everything I just said, but Aha Shake Heartbreak is simply more on point.

A tour opening for U2 perhaps showed the band what they could be capable of. Their following records showed more and more polish. And that may say something about their craft. But I still believe this is where they were most in their wheelhouse. At this point they're still moonshine-drinking hillbillies, but it's well prepared moonshine.

Previous Entries:
#27 - Idlewild - 100 Broken Windows
#28 - Common - Be
#29 - The Futureheads - News and Tributes
#30 - The Black Keys - Rubber Factory
#31 - Wolfmother - Wolfmother
#32 - Juno - A Future Lived in Past Tense
#33 - Bad Religion - The New America
#34 - Franz Ferdinand - Franz Ferdinand
#35 - Rodrigo y Gabriela - Rodrigo y Gabriela
#36 - Wolf Parade - At Mount Zoomer

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