Mechanical Bull - Kings of Leon
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Generally favorable reviews - based on 31 Critics What's this?

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Generally favorable reviews- based on 75 Ratings

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  • Summary: After a three year hiatus, the rock band formed by four brothers return with its sixth full-length studio release produced by Angelo Petraglia.
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. 83
    Mechanical Bull finds the Tennessee rockers recapturing the white-lightning-in-a-bottle spark that made their early stuff so fun.
  3. Oct 4, 2013
    Mechanical Bull kicks up a tightly controlled disc that still leaves enough roots unpolished.
  4. 70
    By design, Mechanical Bull was made for fun, and in that spirit, they succeeded.
  5. 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]
  6. 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.
  7. Sep 18, 2013
    It feels mechanical, a band on auto-pilot, going through the motions of songwriting and recording but with their hearts elsewhere.

See all 31 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 20 out of 26
  2. Negative: 2 out of 26
  1. Sep 24, 2013
    I think it's an amazing album and it deserve better critics than that..........................................................................!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Expand
  2. Sep 26, 2013
    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 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
  3. Oct 20, 2013
    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.
  4. Sep 30, 2013
    To be honest, our expectations were really high. Their two latest albums Only By The Night and Come Around Sundown were great. When first single Supersoaker was released, we weren’t convinced Mechanical Bull was going to match them. But again, Kings Of Leon managed to produce some excellent songs, such as Wait For Me, Tonight and Family Tree.

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  5. Oct 5, 2013
    I thought this album was good, but that's all it was. It was not great. The songs themselves were good but I didn't find they were very memorable, especially considering many of their other very memorable songs. After listening to the whole album, I thought it was decent but I couldn't recall what any of the songs even sounded like except for Super Soaker. Expand
  6. Sep 24, 2013

    'While 'Mechanical Bull' is as solid and slick as the
    last two records, it is also just as predictable. Their latest album is the third album that has reinforced one of my long held quiet beliefs- that growing up is good, but youth and young manhood is great.'

    Read why I gave it a 7 at length on my review.
  7. 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. Collapse

See all 26 User Reviews