When you see yourself and like what you see
24 March 2021-
The Kings of Leon are back with an 8th studio album, When You See Yourself, which beautifully complements their already rich discography. And provides musical relief in these strange times...
Timing is everything. So is Rock n’ Roll. OK, that last part is somewhat biased: not everyone loves Rock n’ Roll the way we do. But the first statement stands: what you do matters just about as much as when you do it. And that is precisely the case with Kings of Leon‘s eighth studio album in 18 years, the interestingly reflective When You See Yourself — starting with that title. Not only is it the right album for them as a band, but it is the right album for us listeners stuck at home and getting to discover this new set of tracks on Spotify and/or Youtube and/or [choose your platform].
What always defined the sound of Kings of Leon was a sense of urgency that made them spiritually (if geographically) brethren to the British Arctic Monkeys — and to a lot of Brit Rock’s finest in the process. The fact that the Kings of Leon are actually brothers (and a cousin) notwithstanding, of course. Admittedly, though, the Kings always created a sort of more compressed sound than the Monkeys, and by that we mean that it always felt like they were showing some kind of restraint in their songs, where Alex Turner‘s gang does not shy away from sheer explosiveness. Which made their work all the more interesting from the get go: you felt the energy in every song, chord progression, word… That core musical identity is very much present on the new album, as new songs clearly take from their predecessors: with lead single “The Bandit” or the more subdued (despite the title) “Stormy Weather”, you feel tension in the air just as much you once did with their 2009 breakthrough hit “Sex on fire“.
However, there is something new here, the part that is so utterly relevant today: it feels like the Followill gang are evolving as years go by, towards an ever softer sound within the confines of their artistic universe. The fact that the band is indeed reaching middle age has to account for something, as well as the guys letting 5 years pass by since their previous album… to the fact that 2021 is such a strange era to be living in, as we all know so incredibly well… The point is this — When You See Yourself is clearly a mature piece of work, one that the remarkably titled “Golden Restless Age” could sum up fairly well. The end result is an arguably more appeased collection of songs, unveiling a natural trajectory from the trepidation of youth towards a growing sense of collective wisdom.
The closer, “Fairytale”, could for a minute make the listener believe that this was all but a dream, a parenthesis in the band’s music and personal history. We believe otherwise. We believe that this is a very interesting — and very real — progression, and we can’t wait to see what else wisdom brings out of the Followills!