Metascore
74

Generally favorable reviews - based on 31 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 24 out of 31
  2. Negative: 1 out of 31
  1. 100
    Now the melodies are sharper, the scissor kicks are higher and the grooves are, er, groovier.
  2. Wrongly cast as a chicken-fried version The Strokes after 2003’s stellar Youth & Young Manhood, on their latest, Aha Shake Heartbreak, The Kings prove that they’re a band of significant depth and originality.
  3. There's an early-Stones feel here it would be perverse to deny: 12 songs in 36 minutes, each with an indelible identiriff and its own seductive rhythmic shape.
  4. Apart from Caleb Followill’s distinctive, growly vocals--half-man half-grizzly--this could be a completely different band. A much better band. It’s quite an incredible transformation--and I’ll say this upfront: it doesn’t matter what you thought of their debut, you should listen to this album.
  5. It would seem from the evidence presented here that [King Of Leon] are intent on rebuilding themselves from scratch, drawing on whatever wild and wonderful influences they've tripped over in their race to live five lifetimes in every day. [30 Oct 2004, p.63]
  6. With shorter, tighter songs far more reminiscent of 80’s post-punk than Southern AOR, Aha Shake Heartbreak can only be considered a pleasant surprise.
  7. Ignore the lyric booklet and you have one of the more impressive albums of 2004.
  8. Perseverance with the rougher sound and jerky arrangements will be rewarded. [Dec 2004, p.129]
  9. 80
    An unexpectedly weird bolt from the blue, an ultimately outstanding crack at brokering an accord between spiky noo wave and fuzzy '70s stoner rock. [Nov 2004, p.116]
  10. 80
    If their debut was a night of chasing skirts and drinking Jim Beam from the bottle, Heartbreak is the bitter, worn-out morning after. [Mar 2005, p.138]
  11. It sounds both unpretentious and new.
  12. A more focused effort that never sacrifices the band's manic intensity.
  13. While Aha Shake Heartbreak showcases four feckless stoners speaking in their own shop-class patois, it also captures them playing alarmingly sophisticated pop.
  14. In taking back the rawness of [their] first e.p., the band have simultaneously acquired the courage to experiment with a surprising number of styles. [#9]
  15. Aha Shake Heartbreak surpasses the previous record by leaps and bounds; it is a triumph over the dreaded sophomore slump as much as it is a worthy feat in and of itself.
  16. The lyrical terrain is insultingly common (girls, life on the road, girls), yet the band has such an idiosyncratic method of expression that makes these everyday themes sound – at least over the course of each song – radically inspired.
  17. Unlike the Strokes, and say, Interpol, no sophomore face-plant here.
  18. 76
    Yet another collection of crafty, drunken stories of manhood devouring youth. [#14, p.101]
  19. If Youth and Young Manhood was Kings of Leon tentatively using well-tested implements, Aha Shake Heartbreak is the sound of a group boldly forging a unique identity from common tools that have been stripped of all pretense and decoration.
  20. The tunes amount to sharply played but disjointed riffs. [25 Feb 2005, p.102]
  21. 75
    Though they fit snugly inside their vintage genes, the Kings manage to make room for a surprising amount of heart. [Mar 2005, p.85]
  22. There's plenty to enjoy on the new album and Kings of Leon seem willing to play it slow and become a career act.
  23. Heartbreak is an instance when that hoary music-biz cliche -- "They're better onstage" -- rings true; ironically so, since the Kings and producer Ethan Johns recorded Aha Shake Heartbreak live in the studio, with no overdubs.
  24. It's their seamless and agreeable blend of rock & roll, country, and Roky Erickson-style psychedelia, matched with a keen lyrical wit, that makes them fascinating to both sides of the pond.
  25. Musically, at least, Kings of Leon have matured during their two years on the road and, if you ignore some of the less than elegant lyrics, they have produced an acceptable second album.
  26. What remains... is a jerky, cocksure indie group striving to be accepted as a proper grown-up Southern Rock band, without the guts, depth or tunes to carry it off.
  27. In song after song there are moments where it sounds like the band is weaving its way into a fantastic instrumental jam section, only to have the new idea abruptly cut short by the track’s end or an obligatory return to the next verse.
  28. The album's one redeeming element is the band itself, who-- over the course of one EP and two albums-- have improved tenfold.
  29. 40
    Nothing more than the uncomfortable sound of a band escaping their svengali. [Dec 2004, p.142]
  30. Only once do the Kings offer an identity worth bugging out in a club over, on the reckless and fantastic "Taper Jean Girl." The rest of the time, it all seems more confused and cynically gimmicked than inspired.
  31. While this is drastically experimental by their standards, there is nothing here you haven't heard done infinitely better many times before.
User Score
8.3

Universal acclaim- based on 120 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 64 out of 75
  2. Negative: 8 out of 75
  1. Oct 21, 2010
    10
    there is not one bad song on this album, all the songs fit together like a glove. Caleb talks about not getting it up, taking cocaine, women'sthere is not one bad song on this album, all the songs fit together like a glove. Caleb talks about not getting it up, taking cocaine, women's nipples and having sex with hookers, he leaves no stone unturned, callsic album. Full Review »
  2. KonK
    Apr 25, 2007
    9
    Fantastic album. The band has developed a lot since their debut. It actually sounds like a new band. I liked their debut album, and Fantastic album. The band has developed a lot since their debut. It actually sounds like a new band. I liked their debut album, and din't buy this second one for a while, unsure whether it would match the quality of the first. But now, I look back at the first and think, wow- that's nothing compared to this. One of the best contemporary rock albums I have by a band that is talented, can actually play their instruments, and play really well. Full Review »
  3. SidVicious
    Sep 2, 2006
    10
    Hype can be an artists best friend or worst enemy. Kings of Leon recieved a hell of alot of hype. Hype usually deters me - if only becuase Hype can be an artists best friend or worst enemy. Kings of Leon recieved a hell of alot of hype. Hype usually deters me - if only becuase I've been burnt in the past by the hype machine. But I was crazy for the song 'Red Morning Light' off Youth and Young Manhood - So there you go, huh? And guess what fellows? Aha Shake Heartbreak is fecking fantastic! Buy it. Listen to it. Make sweet love to it. You'll thank me later. Full Review »