• Record Label: RCA
  • Release Date: Sep 24, 2013
User Score
7.6

Generally favorable reviews- based on 78 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 66 out of 78
  2. Negative: 6 out of 78

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  1. Jan 31, 2014
    9
    Their 10 year anniversary album. "Coming Back Again!" I love this album. It rocks. Caleb's voice has matured very nicely and the guys look so sexy still !!!
  2. Oct 20, 2013
    9
    It’s amazing how fickle the American Rock & Roll fan base (or mob) can be. One minute they love you, the next they loathe you- if you even get big enough to make it to the hatred. But for the Kings of Leon they not only had the backlash from their hardcore fans churning against them due to their new-found popularity but there was also internal combustion of nearly catastrophic proportions.It’s amazing how fickle the American Rock & Roll fan base (or mob) can be. One minute they love you, the next they loathe you- if you even get big enough to make it to the hatred. But for the Kings of Leon they not only had the backlash from their hardcore fans churning against them due to their new-found popularity but there was also internal combustion of nearly catastrophic proportions.
    Singer/guitarist Caleb Followill was caught on the widening fault line between himself and the rest of the band that really began during the making of their fifth record Come Around Sundown which he revealed, “I pretty much checked out for that record.” Lead guitarist Matthew Followill added, “Making Come Around Sundown was just not fun. We were in a tiny studio in New York, there was too much alcohol around all day.” Everything came to a head when they almost completely imploded at a show in Dallas in 2011 when Caleb was unable to finish the show ending it prematurely and subsequently leading to the band having to cancel the last 26 dates of that tour. The other three members were irate over the situation causing a volatile rift with both parties lashing out at each other. Everyone needed to take a break and limp back to their caves to lick their wounds, take time to heal. The long road back to glory took two years, leading to Mechanical Bull.
    Don’t let the less than stellar album title and campy neon artwork throw you for a loop- Mechanical Bull is the real deal. Lead single “Supersoaker” opens with jangling guitars ushering in a palpitating backbeat and buoyant keys. It's a clarion call of sorts that the Kings of Leon have reconnected to an extent with their rough-and-tumble roots and it’s as carefree as they’ve sounded in years. “Rock City” saunters into the city limits out of the desert after a drug-abetted excursion, bourbon-sipping with southern-fried licks as Caleb confidently and androgynously states, “I can shake it like a woman,” suggesting more late night gender-bending mischief the likes of “Trani.” “Don’t Matter” is the filthiest track they’ve perhaps ever released, certainly it has the sand to stand with anything from Youth & Young Manhood or Aha Shake Heartbreak. Clocking in at only 2:50 it’s a ferocious stampede with Nathan Followill’s most thunderous, pummeling drums yet accompanied by gnashing, serrated guitars. A definite Queens Of The Stone Age influence prevails as pistons fire and the moonshine is guzzled on a charge across the sweltering landscape. Caleb proclaims with throbbing angst, “I can or I can fight, it don’t matter to me.” “Beautiful War” is the first foray into the grandeur of ballads the likes of which permeated Only By The Night and Come Around Sundown. Gorgeous and shimmering, reminiscent of Joshua Tree/Rattle & Hum era U2, a majestic crescendo builds into a magnificent meteor shower, a pining for connection on a vast frontier. They prove that they can craft a stop-the-clocks ballad as well as anybody and this might be their finest yet. “Temple” is an impassioned high tension wire of devotion while “Wait For Me” nocturnally simmers and glistens in the twilight. “Family Tree” settles down deep in a ‘70s groove, the funkiest conjured number here, as if they’ve been combing through a pile of old Stax Records LPs. “Comeback Story” is another phenomenal ballad with gentle rolling guitars similar to “Knocked Up” setting the pace. Seemingly autobiographical of the band, as if the title wasn’t enough, Caleb laments, “The bright of lights they are burning me out.” It’s certainly a testament to the exhaustion from the main spotlight and big stages before their hiatus as a genuflecting outro surges with strings for the mighty swell, nothing seems to be done on a small scale. “Tonight” blazes the night skyline with echoing staccato guitars and Caleb howling, “Tonight somebody’s lover is gonna pay for his sin.” “Coming Back Again” has the revving getaway engine of "California Waiting" with an eruption once more of caterwauling guitars in the chorus. The closer “On The Chin” is the most country-tinged song in the band’s canon with a heartbreaking Nashville twang as waves of pedal steel wash over the arena-ready tear-jerker. Caleb has said he has a great admiration for old-guard country artists such as Townes Van Zandt and this is no doubt his shot at their forlorn tales, channeling those outlaw ghosts with lines like, “Parked my bag of bones back of the station/ He said make yourself at home so I started day drinking.” Caleb shows he has the ability to write superb dusty storytelling songs and with its slow mirror ball spin this marks their fourth straight record closing with a “last call” of stunning beauty.
    Kings of Leon make a statement with Mechanical Bull that they were out to make a record on their own time and their own terms, devoid of attempting to make mega hits or please anyone but themselves. Not for the casual fans who probably only listen to “Sex on Fire” and “Use Somebody” nor for the apparent diehards who have been crying “Sell outs” since Only By The Night. And really, that’s the approach they should take when making records going forward. They’re still an immensely talented band and the muse will find them no matter how they’re perceived to the masses. Mechanical Bull is the most evenly balanced record they’ve released blending rockers with their matured ballads. Fans of the earlier material have a real tough time coping with the fact that the Kings of Leon were destined to be headliners around the world, they can’t fit in their back pockets and they aren’t just their band anymore. Whatever discord there was in the band the past couple of years has seemingly now floated under the bridge and they can now concentrate on getting back to the throne to reign as rock royalty for decades to come.
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  3. Sep 24, 2013
    10
    I think it's an amazing album and it deserve better critics than that..........................................................................!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  4. Sep 26, 2013
    10
    Kings of Leon has done it again. Mechanical Bull is easily one of their finest albums. Standout tracks are Wait For Me, Temple, Family Tree, Comeback Story, Coming Back Again and Work On Me. There is an energy here that wasn't present in the somewhat mellow "Come Around Sundown". The boys have never sounded better or looked better live as they do in 2013. They don't have a single badKings of Leon has done it again. Mechanical Bull is easily one of their finest albums. Standout tracks are Wait For Me, Temple, Family Tree, Comeback Story, Coming Back Again and Work On Me. There is an energy here that wasn't present in the somewhat mellow "Come Around Sundown". The boys have never sounded better or looked better live as they do in 2013. They don't have a single bad album. This is a special band, one we will look back at as one of the, if not the best rock groups of our generation. Expand
  5. Sep 25, 2013
    10
    A great Kings of Leon album A musical bridge between the firsts albums and the 2 latest. But don't try to analyse the musical quality, just enjoy it and Caleb's voice. Simply brilliant !
    Hard to choose the best songs as different styles but definitively not a bad one within the 13 tracks of the Deluxe album.
    Don't matter, Coming back again, Temple are my favorite songs, but just because
    A great Kings of Leon album A musical bridge between the firsts albums and the 2 latest. But don't try to analyse the musical quality, just enjoy it and Caleb's voice. Simply brilliant !
    Hard to choose the best songs as different styles but definitively not a bad one within the 13 tracks of the Deluxe album.
    Don't matter, Coming back again, Temple are my favorite songs, but just because we have to pick up some, as they're all good and this album deserves worldwide success !
    KOL are back
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  6. Sep 24, 2013
    10
    A fantastic return to form for Kings of Leon. After the slightly underwhelming "Come around Sundown" Fans were looking for that spark of excitement that used to plague the bands music. Mechanical bull is the hybrid of what made the select few gems on come around sundown great and the intense lyrics that made Youth and young manhood so exciting. The stand out songs for me were "Coming backA fantastic return to form for Kings of Leon. After the slightly underwhelming "Come around Sundown" Fans were looking for that spark of excitement that used to plague the bands music. Mechanical bull is the hybrid of what made the select few gems on come around sundown great and the intense lyrics that made Youth and young manhood so exciting. The stand out songs for me were "Coming back again" and "Work on Me" (only in the deluxe edition) Expand
  7. Sep 25, 2013
    9
    Simply put A very good album, this album has brought them back to their best after Come Around Sundown was a bit of a let down. The best 2 songs I think are Comeback Story and Tonight, although it is hard to pick as there are so many good songs on this album. Well done Kings Of Leon.
  8. Oct 22, 2013
    9
    This is basically an album that takes all the band's best elements from their experimentation over the years & tossed them together into what I think is their best album so far. It takes the dirty blues-tinged southern rock of the first 2 albums, the unapologetic diversity & scope of Because of the Times, the huge amphitheater-packing hooks of Only by the Night & the introspectiveThis is basically an album that takes all the band's best elements from their experimentation over the years & tossed them together into what I think is their best album so far. It takes the dirty blues-tinged southern rock of the first 2 albums, the unapologetic diversity & scope of Because of the Times, the huge amphitheater-packing hooks of Only by the Night & the introspective maturity of Come Around Sundown, and shoves them all into a stylistic blender where some of their best material to date comes out. For example, fans of the rawness of the first 2 albums will love the driving punk-esque “Don't Matter”, the coolness-exuding southern rocker “Rock City” (where Caleb basically does his best Tom Petty impression) or “Family Tree”'s rhythmic & sleazy hyper-blues groove. Meanwhile fans who prefer the epicness of Only by the Night & to a lesser extent Because of the Times might be more attracted to the back half, where soaring guitar leads & choruses are abundant & always great (particularly on “Tonight” & “Coming Back Again”). And those fond of Come Around Sundown will be happy with the more mature ballad-like tracks like “Beautiful War” & “Wait for Me”, as well as the twangy & uplifting ode to longtime friends “On the Chin”. But there are also some fantastic career hybrid in some of the album's best songs, like “Temple” & “Supersoaker”, as well as the 2 bonus tracks. And each track has that KOL natural catchiness that makes for a lack of throwaways, as well as Caleb's emotive vocals which are better than ever.

    The lyrics, while not quite as notable, are still very well-written. No matter the mood there's always a kind of sincerity & personality that gives the album as a whole a likable characteristic. “Rock City” & “Don't Matter” start out as standard tales of rock & roll debauchery, but later turn into the narratives of a man getting burned out on & sick of that lifestyle, which in a way echoes KOL's personal arch over the course of their career. “Beautiful War” & “Wait for Me” are a pair of sweet love songs with nicely detailed emotional imagery. “Family Tree” & “Comeback Story”, without entirely committing to it, have moments of commenting directly on the recent band-drama, especially with the former's opening lines. Some songs have more substance than others, but at worst the lyrics just sound good against the musical backdrop.

    If I had to nitpick for a flaw in this album, it's that a lot of the songs have the same verse structure of “line 1/line 2/line 3 (maybe twice)/line 4/line 5/line 3 (maybe twice)”, and it's more necessary on some songs than others, where it can detract a little from the lyrical content. But that just barely lessens the enjoyment of an otherwise fantastic album. If you're a KOL fan that's been disappointed by everything they've put out after 2007, I imagine there'll be a sense of redemption to be found in Mechanical Bull, even if it might not be your favorite of theirs to date because of the latter-day influences. And for anyone just looking for a great, catchy, melodic & genuine rock album, I can't recommend this enough.

    Top 5 tracks: Temple, Don't Matter, Supersoaker, Last Mile Home (bonus track), Comeback Story
    Score: 91/100
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  9. Oct 13, 2013
    9
    Such a solid album from top to bottom. The boys have grown up even more to create a sonically brilliant album, incorporating the same chill SoCal southern vibes from Come Around Sundown, though with the raw demeanor of the earlier 3 albums. You can tell that the Followills actually put their heart and soul into this. Caleb, though his age is starting to show, belts songs here with verySuch a solid album from top to bottom. The boys have grown up even more to create a sonically brilliant album, incorporating the same chill SoCal southern vibes from Come Around Sundown, though with the raw demeanor of the earlier 3 albums. You can tell that the Followills actually put their heart and soul into this. Caleb, though his age is starting to show, belts songs here with very controlled, but believable
    authority. Matthew has returned to his more creative ways through many of the solos and catchy licks in the album. Nathan and Jared, though more incognito in this album, still play with the same precision and their signature styles that is synonymous with this band.

    Favourites: Supersoaker, Don't Matter, Temple, Wait For Me, Family Tree
    Worth the 3 year wait, and easily a Rock Album of the Year contender!
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  10. Oct 23, 2013
    9
    However the band makes up for that with their melodic chords, energetic drumming, groovy bass lines and tireless energy I mean vigorous, dynamic energy) that really keeps the album going throughout its forty two minutes. In addition, stylistically the album is a bit predictable but in all honesty, its too fun to even care.

    Kings of Leon really outdo themselves here, it's strong,
    However the band makes up for that with their melodic chords, energetic drumming, groovy bass lines and tireless energy I mean vigorous, dynamic energy) that really keeps the album going throughout its forty two minutes. In addition, stylistically the album is a bit predictable but in all honesty, its too fun to even care.

    Kings of Leon really outdo themselves here, it's strong, cohesive, focused and mature but still shines with passionate youth and energy. If there's any album to listen to to get hyped, it's this one. Once I get my hands on this album physically, the volume is going up to 11. That I guarantee you.

    Follow @PRTYNTGRVS for more music reviews
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Metascore
70

Generally favorable reviews - based on 31 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 18 out of 31
  2. Negative: 0 out of 31
  1. Jan 27, 2014
    60
    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]
  2. Oct 18, 2013
    70
    All in all, the best return to original form a stadium band can risk these days. [No. 103, p.57]
  3. Oct 4, 2013
    78
    Mechanical Bull kicks up a tightly controlled disc that still leaves enough roots unpolished.