Thursday, 26 September 2013
When the Kings Of Leon came straight out of Nashville, Tennessee with long hair and two great underground long play albums between 2003 and '04 in the form of 'Youth & Young Manhood' and 'Aha Shake Heartbreak' ,it was clear to hear that the modern rock sound was moving back to the bootcut jeans and leather strapped boots of good old hard-working American guitar music. 'Because Of The Times' took them further into the mainstream before the hair was cut and the sex was on fire for the massive single and album 'Only By The Night' , which remains one of the biggest albums in popularity and sales of the first decade of the new millennium. The stellar sound continued on 'Come Around Sundown' even though some critics cooled and dawned on the band. Then between drink, fights and bust ups everyone thought this band was broken up and done, but like the relationships they sing about there was always hope and now the kings return three years later to ride the wave of 'Mechanical Bull', hoping to find some sixth album sense and stay on there fans minds like neighbouring Georgia.
Willie Nelson would be a fan of these country boys and their tavern ready sound that continues to rock and roll like green bottled beer on 'Bull'. Anything but mechanical, this bands roadside rest-stop sound is the best driving music for road warriors bar none. On the opening spray of 'Supersoaker', the bands lead single lights up like the neon album artwork, confirming their shot and return to the big time. 'Rock City' is a kiss to the same idea, while 'Don't Matter' evokes chills and lines like "Such a swine, lips like wine but it don't matter to me/Take a turn before i burn and it don't matter to me/Last day get up anyway but it don't matter to me/I'll perform i'll be fine but it don't matter to me". Even if this band have lost some attention they still find that attentive lyrical detail that makes them one of the deepest rock bands of modern America and music. 'Beautiful War' continues this ugly fight back to the top as Followill sings with his brothers, "Your heart breaks/Rolls down the window/I've seen it all go and comeback around/And I've heard the sound/Tip of your tongue/The top of your lungs/Is doing my head in/I say love I don't need nothing/Left them something worth fighting for/It's a beautiful war".
Their signature sound gets in our heads further with the pressing 'Temple', while the second single 'Wait For Me' is what the eagerly anticipated fans have been waiting for. There may not be any burning loins here, but moving away from their biggest hit the band show us who they really are. 'Family Tree' discovers those roots further before 'Comeback Story' writes the return of these kings back to their throne. The crowning moment here is honest couplets like, "Picking up the pieces of the world I know/With one in the fire and one in the snow", "I've been told believing everything is all right/I break with the day and I've been with the night", "The bright of the lights they're burning me out/Everyone says it's a lovely sound/I don't know where they are leading me/Trying my best hoping that you'll see" and "You'll rue the day when you understand/I did my best to be an honest man/Race isn't over until the finish line/It's a comeback story of a lifetime". As our leading man sings happier then he's ever sounded it's clear our writer knows where he's been and where he's going.
Taking his band with him, 'Tonight' takes you to the evocative awakenings of a perfect evening traversing the real vaganbond heartland of real America. 'Coming Back Again' take us around and around this checked shirt and full beard sound, before the last chop of 'On The Chin' is the perfect hit to take you home. If you can't take that then the deeper deluxe edition of this album gives you the extra 'Work On Me' and the final encore of 'Last Mile Home', where Leon's leader Caleb sings "Take it back I never meant it/Never thought that it would come to pass/Baby know it's not forgotten/Baby know that this is gonna last", before closing this album and the bands return with the perfect, fitting statement, "Things are always better/When we're all together". It's great that the band are back and sounding the same. Sure, there may be nothing new here but this is what the fans wanted...more of the band they actually love. 'Sex On Fire' was a great and different experience but the morning after led the band down an unfaithful road. Taking the 'Mechanical Bull' by the horns they stay on their right highway, turning the wheel through the fork on the road and heading into the sunset of a right direction. Rolling and riding until everyone tunes the radio into what they need to hear. The kings back on their throne. TIM DAVID HARVEY.
The YMCB crew member and protege of Lil' Wayne gets even bigger with this bold and brilliant album. Anything but Canadian dry, the toast of the T-Dot is the rapper who can wear his heart on his sleeve and still wet the competition with the hands dealt from his power poker face in this rap race. Drake has hot again with his latest and arguably biggest single. 'Started From The Bottom' is his new calling card and represents his career, his crew and even serves as the perfect entrance music for sports teams to run out to. More than the game, even the Toronto Raptors could get caught up in this rapture like LeBron did 'Forever'. For their new, high flying season they'll need an anthem like this to save them from NBA extinction. This rapper isn't going anywhere himself however now he's shown how to 'Drake it in America'. The T-Dot still marks the spot for this up North cold and cool lyricist who begins his new set with the smooth touch of the 'Tuscan Leather' cut which is made of the tougher Run-DMC black material.
The classic beats continue to cut, chop and change on the following far reaching 'Furthest Thing' , as Drake makes contradiction classic for a conflicted age rapping "Somewhere between psychotic and iconic/Somewhere between I want it and I got it/Somewhere between I'm sober and I'm lifted/Somewhere between a mistress and commitment", before the singles come into perfect play. Drake has clearly put a lot of thought and work into this experimental and evocative project. From his '5AM In Toronto' sequel to his collectable '9AM In Dallas' iTunes bonus pick to his first album to his Marvin Gaye deep 'Hear My Dear' inspirations. Not only the album that Gaye wrote and recorded as part of his divorces legal requirements (what a response to all that stress and 'Anger' from the late legend) has influenced Drake's tortured but tough soul. The rapper even records in the soul masters old studio 'Marvins Room' which is also the name of one of Drake's greatest tracks off his last legacy making album. The young/old, switched up, side profile, oil painting artwork of this album is even reminiscent of the Notorious B.I.G's 'Ready To Die', Nas' 'Illmatic' or his partner Wayne's 'Carter III' and 'IV'. It's clear Aubrey Graham is shooting for legendary status.
The promotional single 'Wu-Tang Forever' furthers this testament and tribute to the greatest rappers of all time. Singing "It's yours" in homage it's clear to hear the game belongs to him right now. Drake even has the alliance of current top tier rappers 2 Chainz and Big Sean on the latest single 'All Me'. It's the second single 'Hold On, We're Going Home' featuring Majid Jordan that is even better than the biggest 'Started From The Bottom' however with it's sing-along "I got my eyes on you, you're everything that I see/I want your hot love and emotion endlessly/I can't get over you, you left your mark on me" odes. The rhythmic, cool, almost 80's feeling cut that's a different but decadent rap record, crowd pleaser and your iPod's new favourite track on constant repeat is the tip of the top. The great Drake proves as well as having wonderful wordplay he also has that velvet voice. One so rhythmic it serves as an instrument behind his brooding beats like the likes of Mos Def and Kid Cudi. This results in sweet sounds beyond the raps that make even the off-key singing able to hit the right note. 'Own It' continues to kill the competition. While the kinetic, boom-boast of 'Worst Behaviour' displays this character at his charismatic best as the Canadian king border lines his life lyrics, rapping it up with the statement, "Yeah, back and forth across the border line/Hate to leave the city, but I've got to do the overtime".