Mechanical Bull - Kings of Leon

Generally favorable reviews - based on 31 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 18 out of 31
  2. Negative: 0 out of 31
  1. Sep 18, 2013
    Kings of Leon zeroed in on their gifts for visceral rock grooves and soaring hooks--lifting standout tracks on their sixth album to a Springsteen-like level of gritty grandeur. [Oct 2013, p.70]
  2. Sep 18, 2013
    A strong, engaging return to form, Mechanical Bull is made to ride. Strap in and enjoy.
  3. Mechanical Bull is the sound of real life. It’s the sound of Kings of Leon realizing that sometimes where you were is better than where you ended up.
  4. 83
    Mechanical Bull finds the Tennessee rockers recapturing the white-lightning-in-a-bottle spark that made their early stuff so fun.
  5. Sep 24, 2013
    The three brothers and a cousin reconnect the dots of their career and interrelationships in an impressively catchy set of 11 songs.
  6. Sep 20, 2013
    The group embraces its status as a classic-rock band, and make no mistake, this is a classic-rock album--one that evokes the sort of denim-clad '70s-rock vibe that Guns N' Roses and Foo Fighters tapped into.
  7. Oct 4, 2013
    Mechanical Bull kicks up a tightly controlled disc that still leaves enough roots unpolished.
  8. Oct 18, 2013
    All in all, the best return to original form a stadium band can risk these days. [No. 103, p.57]
  9. Sep 30, 2013
    For the first time in a while, they’re moving forward with a sound truer to their nature.
  10. Sep 26, 2013
    Mechanical Bull won’t make everyone happy, but the Followills have come back after a booze-and-burnout sabbatical sounding not just refreshed but enriched. And that’s more than good enough.
  11. 70
    Mechanical Bull is the sound of a band reviving its former selves for the benefit of each other and for their longtime fans, and it’s their best album since Aha Shake Heartbreak.
  12. Sep 24, 2013
    Although their sixth album hardly feels like a comedown, or an apology, it's loose and down-to-earth; you can imagine them bashing it out in a shed, albeit a very large one.
  13. Sep 23, 2013
    The best parts of Mechanical Bull, its sixth album, come when that exhaustion seeps into the songwriting and playing.
  14. Sep 23, 2013
    Having grabbed their career by the horns with Mechanical Bull, it's clear that Kings of Leon aren't letting it get away from them anytime soon.
  15. Sep 23, 2013
    The band is just about out of transgressive fury, but they manage to muster enough rigor and discipline to keep Mechanical Bull kicking.
  16. 70
    By design, Mechanical Bull was made for fun, and in that spirit, they succeeded.
  17. Sep 24, 2013
    It was cool for them to sound effortless while channeling the dark-side-of-fame turmoil--and the Followills are still skilled crowd-pleasers--but on this record, they sound weary even when they aren’t trying.
  18. Sep 27, 2013
    Though they may have felt immense pressure to replicate the monster hits that have come to be expected of them, the band have struck proper middle ground between the jaggedy, bluesy Southern rock of their early years with more polished commercial anthems.
  19. Jan 27, 2014
    Occasionally frustrating and sometimes even a little soapy, Mechanical Bull has its flaws, but it also brims with personality and passion. [Oct 2013, p.104]
  20. 60
    It'll do for a fleeting one-night stand, but Mechanical Bull isn't the rekindling of a romance that we'd hoped for.
  21. Whatever they say, this isn’t the “comeback story of a lifetime”: it’s the low-risk re-entry bid of a band who know where their bread is buttered.
  22. Sep 23, 2013
    The most exciting thing that can be said for the remaining tracks is that they're less maudlin than last time around.
  23. Sep 19, 2013
    If the album's (mostly) feral guitars and off-mike whoops conjure a band keen to re-harness the pluck of 2003's Youth & young Manhood, in places, the enormodome-courting trappings of recent years linger on. [Oct 2013, p.94]
  24. Sep 18, 2013
    This is as forceful, salacious and dangerous as they’re likely to get.
  25. Sep 20, 2013
    At least there’s a couple of good ones here to stick onto the singles collection that’s inevitably just around the corner.
  26. Sep 18, 2013
    Uninspiring, unexciting, largely forgettable--this is nothing more than Kings of Leon by numbers.
  27. Sep 24, 2013
    Unfortunately, they miss and it lands in the five-day-old dregs of a keg in an Anytown, USA backyard.
  28. 42
    Mechanical Bull is the sound of Kings of Leon de-fanged, de-crowned, and de-throned, further evidence of their inexorable slide towards artistic irrelevance.
  29. Sep 26, 2013
    Mechanical Bull is adequate arena rock, a collection of songs fit to play on Guitar Hero.
  30. Sep 24, 2013
    At its best, Mechanical Bull is standard, paint-by-numbers fare that attempts to sprint to the finish line. However, it runs out of gas and you have to wonder if Kings of Leon have as well.
  31. Sep 18, 2013
    It feels mechanical, a band on auto-pilot, going through the motions of songwriting and recording but with their hearts elsewhere.
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 75 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 20 out of 26
  2. Negative: 2 out of 26
  1. Sep 26, 2013
    If you love this album, you have ridiculously low expectations of what music should be. You likely compare Kings of Leon to Lady Gaga or Rhianna and think that this latest insipid offering from the Nashville quartet is somehow more credible because they wear chequered shirts and play guitars. The album is an insult to my intelligence from beginning to end, and if that wasn't enough they've even called it Mechanical Bull (translation; going through the motions garbage). "Don't Matter" could easily be a b-side that Queens of The Stone Age record when they reach their 60s."Family Tree" is a poor rehash of The Zutons "You Will You Won't", missing the sense of communion it is so blindly attempting to embrace. "Temple" contains the album's only fleeting moment of true enjoyment in an otherwise heavy, tired and extremely pointless album by a band who just don't care any more. Full Review »
  2. Sep 26, 2013
    I'm not saying this album is awful, but I'm not excited about it either. It simply sounds like the Kings are getting old and settling down. This is not the restrained mastery they showed on Come Around Sundown. They really try to rock out here. I'm just not convinced anymore. Full Review »
  3. Sep 24, 2013
    Eagerly anticipated, easily disappointing. I think they were going for an effortless, grand, anthemic sound here but in the end achieved something that sounds bored, lazy and bland. There is little aggression, little energy and seemingly little inspiration.'Wait For Me', 'Supersoaker', 'Temple' and 'Comeback Story' are all decent tracks, but even combined they cannot add enough punch to elevate this album from it's status as a damp squib. They are not Bruce Springsteen and should stop trying to be. We have heard what they are capable of. This sounds like less than 50% of that. Full Review »