Only By The Night

  • Record Label: RCA
  • Release Date: Sep 23, 2008
User Score
6.9

Generally favorable reviews- based on 202 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 39 out of 202

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  1. Oct 21, 2010
    10
    def the worst album outta the five though its far from bad. still some great songs on this album, sex on fire, cold desert, manhattan, crawl and i want you are great kings songs.
  2. Mar 4, 2011
    10
    kol have made a great soft rock album here. i do prefer the earlier sound but bands change, thats what bands do. Crawl, i want you, manhattan, cold desert and revlery are the stand out tracks.
  3. Feb 15, 2012
    9
    Alot of people probably think this is where KOL went downhill but I disagree. Yes it's more soft rock and radio friendly than their previous efforts but it's still full of strong tracks. If the singles of this hadn't been played to death U2 style, it would have a lot more credibility as a record. It's inevitable that the more mainstream fans you gain the more alternative ones you lose. KOLAlot of people probably think this is where KOL went downhill but I disagree. Yes it's more soft rock and radio friendly than their previous efforts but it's still full of strong tracks. If the singles of this hadn't been played to death U2 style, it would have a lot more credibility as a record. It's inevitable that the more mainstream fans you gain the more alternative ones you lose. KOL were laughing all the way to the bank with this but it doesn't make it a bad record. While you'll be sick of the sound of Sex on Fire and Use Somebody, tracks like Closer, Manhatten,Be Somebody and I Want You are up there with their best work. Expand
  4. Oct 11, 2013
    10
    Simply brilliant. All of the band's albums before this were genius and nothing has changed. Only by the Night is diverse and unique. Each track is totally different and it will be known as one of the best rock albums of our generation. It's truly one of the best albums I have ever heard by one of the best bands I have ever heard. Well done, Kings of Leon. My favorite tracks are BeSimply brilliant. All of the band's albums before this were genius and nothing has changed. Only by the Night is diverse and unique. Each track is totally different and it will be known as one of the best rock albums of our generation. It's truly one of the best albums I have ever heard by one of the best bands I have ever heard. Well done, Kings of Leon. My favorite tracks are Be Somebody, Closer, Crawl, Notion, Cold Desert and Revelry. Expand
  5. GaryC.
    Oct 11, 2008
    10
    Fantastic Revelry is probably song of the year.
  6. GrenL.
    Oct 8, 2008
    9
    Took the risk to become stars. One of the best bands out now. Sex on fire is one the best rock songs in the last 5years.
  7. DmitryS
    Aug 3, 2009
    8
    Great album, remind me of u2 achtung baby and other great stuff. Very accessible, good music. don't care about words much though.
  8. JonG
    Aug 28, 2009
    9
    Comical that critics pounced on this for being, ohmygosh, commercially successful. Meaning if a lot of people like it it must be dumb, because all people besides me, the critic/hipster, are dumb. Actually, this is a fantastic album, not going to appeal to the NPR/Paste magazine set but great rock music, with well constructed well written songs. Not for fans of The Decemberists.
  9. fredr.
    Sep 24, 2009
    10
    This album has been at or near the top of the Soundscan album sales chart since its release. KOL obviously know what they are doing. It makes me wonder whether their critics were paying customers.
  10. ZachP
    Dec 21, 2008
    8
    It's a shame that this is the album that will make them famous. It's solid and incredible but pails in comparison to the epic-ness of their three previous. Still, all 13 tracks (counting bonuses) are incredible and the album is probably perfectly mixed.
  11. LisaZ.
    Dec 4, 2008
    10
    Maybe they have changed their sound - more like evolved, which is normal for a group of young guys. Well...these are no ordinary guys...they're story is unique and amazing, and their music continues to amaze. There is plenty to love on this album, and the huge hit they've had with "Sex on Fire" has won them a whole new fan base, which may be a bummer for those of us who have Maybe they have changed their sound - more like evolved, which is normal for a group of young guys. Well...these are no ordinary guys...they're story is unique and amazing, and their music continues to amaze. There is plenty to love on this album, and the huge hit they've had with "Sex on Fire" has won them a whole new fan base, which may be a bummer for those of us who have loved them from the beginning and had hoped to keep them to ourselves, but at the same time it's great to see them get the recognition they deserve. They still play their hearts out at every live show...I know that we can expect only more great things to come from them in the future. Expand
  12. CoryB.
    Oct 4, 2008
    8
    One of the strongest rock vocal albums in a while.
  13. MichaelM.
    Sep 23, 2008
    10
    Not their best but certainly the best rock music around!
  14. DanielC.
    Sep 23, 2008
    9
    Strong effort. After hearing "Sex on Fire," I felt like giving these guys another chane. My purchase was well worth it. Don't buy the negative reviews. These guys are trying to be nothing more than they are. Who cares if they have left garage-rock for arena rock? I consider this a better sound for them.
  15. zoy
    Sep 24, 2008
    10
    Well i think it's great album,i can't get enough of specialy the first 3 tracks.in this album kings of leon look more relaxed and more focused.i think it deserves a little more appreciation and a good listen. enjoy it.
  16. NicoleG.
    Sep 25, 2008
    9
    Love the depth & torque of this album!
  17. ColinR.
    Sep 26, 2008
    8
    Not perfect, but the closest album to it that I've heard this year. No fillers, although some songs do take a while to grow on you but give it a few listens and you'll be hooked.
  18. MattL.
    Sep 30, 2008
    10
    Sex on Fire, Be Somebody, Manhattan, Notion, I Want You, and Be Somebody are good.
  19. MegB
    Jan 11, 2009
    10
    Great album! They may have side stepped some of the down home grit that made their audience love them early on but the polish of this album showcases how they are maturing as musicians. Caleb Followill's vocals have never sounded better.
  20. OzzL
    Mar 6, 2009
    8
    Progress from their previous albums. Perhaps lacking the rowdiness that we've come to associate with the Kings of Leon, but I still think it's better than their first two. Vocals are great, lyrics and lyric tunes are unique and wonderful, and musically a great effort too. The lead guitarist is brilliant in this album, sometimes chilled and effortless sometimes intense and Progress from their previous albums. Perhaps lacking the rowdiness that we've come to associate with the Kings of Leon, but I still think it's better than their first two. Vocals are great, lyrics and lyric tunes are unique and wonderful, and musically a great effort too. The lead guitarist is brilliant in this album, sometimes chilled and effortless sometimes intense and spikey. A great album which opens up the genres for this brilliant band. Expand
  21. JohnV
    May 4, 2009
    10
    Wow. One of the best albums I have ever heard. Very creative, groovy, and powerful all at the same time. Calebs voice is amazing.
  22. EvanT.
    Jul 23, 2009
    7
    The songs are well crafted, but kings of leon take no risks with this album. The lyrics are completely mindless though. And they picked the worst song on the album as their lead single. But overall its pretty good, at least as in what i was expecting.
  23. HazHanson
    Nov 10, 2008
    7
    here is the deal. this album is good....at best. However, i just saw KOL live and they did play several songs on this album, including Closer, Crawl, Sex on Fire, Use Somebody, Manhattan and Cold Desert and the songs sounded amazing. They sounded a million times better live than on the album. The only way to appriciate this album, unlike the Kings last three efforts, is live.
  24. ChrisB.
    Nov 18, 2008
    9
    Yes, this album is not the Kings of Leon we have all become to love. There's less of the Energy fuelled guitar rifts and they've dampned the 'get up and go' rythm. But for me and most of my friends, this album is a beautifully written very inspiring collection of moving songs. With just enough of the attitude we know, in songs like crawl and sex on fire but also Yes, this album is not the Kings of Leon we have all become to love. There's less of the Energy fuelled guitar rifts and they've dampned the 'get up and go' rythm. But for me and most of my friends, this album is a beautifully written very inspiring collection of moving songs. With just enough of the attitude we know, in songs like crawl and sex on fire but also showing maturety and possibly a 'nice change' for the band themselves in tracks like notion and use sombody. These slower, more emotionally charged songs remind me of previous work such as dusty, milk and on call. So to the 'Die Hard' fans that slate this album ask yourself - did you really not see it coming?? Expand
  25. RyanP.
    Oct 14, 2008
    8
    Solid, not spectacular.
  26. JesJ.
    Oct 16, 2008
    9
    Very strong record - catchy songs - good production - their best so far.
  27. ChK
    Sep 23, 2008
    10
    Pure greatness. It's almost as good as their debut.
  28. Dan
    Sep 26, 2008
    7
    If this weren't by the Kings of Leon, I'd be impressed. However, after 3 outstanding albums, each one better than the last, this pretty good album is still a dissappointment.
  29. Nick
    Sep 29, 2008
    10
    This album is amazing. Yes, it's a departure from their more eccentric style seen on Aha, Shake, Heartbreak and Youth and Young Manhood, but it's a natural extension of the style they began to cultivate in Because of the Times. The record is cohesive, tight without being overproduced, and more melodic than the vast majority of so-called "stadium rock". These critics have their This album is amazing. Yes, it's a departure from their more eccentric style seen on Aha, Shake, Heartbreak and Youth and Young Manhood, but it's a natural extension of the style they began to cultivate in Because of the Times. The record is cohesive, tight without being overproduced, and more melodic than the vast majority of so-called "stadium rock". These critics have their collective head in the sand. Expand
  30. FilazaferX
    Sep 29, 2008
    10
    This album sounded like a classic the first time I heard it. Many critics don't like music that is radio-friendly. But, good music is good music, period. An excellent cd.
  31. MariaB
    Mar 10, 2009
    10
    This CD is raw, seductive and hypnotic. Love it, Love them.
  32. MateoG
    Mar 22, 2009
    9
    Very nicee record... One of my favs albums of the year... I know they've changed from their roots, but all bands need to change so we as fans don't get bored with the same music released with every new album... Very creative!
  33. MattH-C
    Apr 23, 2009
    8
    This is a very solid album, Caleb's vocals are on fire.
  34. SouthernRocker
    May 25, 2009
    10
    10..an easy 10. This album is great all the way through. Excellent lyrics. Expertly produced. Some may not like the progression and changes bands go through, but if album 4 sounds just like album 3, wouldn't that be a little boring? I can't put the CD down. Guess I'll play it again!
  35. ChrisH
    May 6, 2009
    10
    One of the best rock albums in recent memory. with a taste of 80's beat and feel that somehow works. Well done
  36. StephenW
    Jun 12, 2009
    9
    I really wanted to give the album a 10, but it Just Slightly misses some of the down-to-earth qualities that I expect from a Southern Rock outfit. Honestly, you have to give the album a chance before giving it such a bad rating (for those throwing out 0's). I HATED it first two or three listens, then it grew on me big time. Just put this album against any of the current drivel out I really wanted to give the album a 10, but it Just Slightly misses some of the down-to-earth qualities that I expect from a Southern Rock outfit. Honestly, you have to give the album a chance before giving it such a bad rating (for those throwing out 0's). I HATED it first two or three listens, then it grew on me big time. Just put this album against any of the current drivel out there (ahem, The Killers) and it shows depth and attitude far beyond many of their peers. In the end, they have created a full album of gritty blues rock that has few weak moments. Expand
  37. danielc
    Jul 11, 2009
    7
    Having loved the first three records i wasn't impressed upon first listn and i still belive that the best album they made was Because of the Times but after a while this record has grown on me it's more experimental than before and if you forget about there other efforts that you find that it acctully suites them well. this album deserves more time and rewards it quite well.
  38. ethanc
    Dec 3, 2008
    10
    Kings of leon are one of the best bands out there and this album is amazingly produced. they build the songs with their of the raw and thick sound. a perfect album some of the best tracks are "be somebody" "i want you" "closer" "revelry".
  39. FredP.
    Oct 24, 2008
    8
    It's different than their previous albums but still a solid piece of recognizable music of a very talented band.
  40. JyotirmayaD.
    Oct 25, 2008
    8
    I play this album much more than the previous two albums by KOL. I lke the fact that they sound different and have toned down the sometimes irritating "boogie-ing." Very good effort.
  41. MattJ
    Sep 23, 2008
    9
    A brilliant album, but a grower. The only low mark i can partly agree with is mojo in that it will help when this is in context of future albums however this is still a great album!
  42. andyh
    Sep 23, 2008
    10
    To make it quick and easy - this is my favorite album of 2008. You must give it a listen.
  43. OwenP.
    Sep 23, 2008
    9
    I really like the route they took on this album. Nothing wrong here. It's a pleasure to listen to straight through.
  44. LewisR.
    Sep 23, 2008
    7
    On 1st listen it is great, sounds like my fav album of theirs, aha shake heartbreak, but doesnt stand up afta a few more listens, 'Manhattan' is a carbon copy of 1 of their earlier songs, summing up the lack of creativity and ambtion. Still a fun rock album, but where they used 2 tread the line between innovative pop and rock, they hav now moved a bit further towards the safe, On 1st listen it is great, sounds like my fav album of theirs, aha shake heartbreak, but doesnt stand up afta a few more listens, 'Manhattan' is a carbon copy of 1 of their earlier songs, summing up the lack of creativity and ambtion. Still a fun rock album, but where they used 2 tread the line between innovative pop and rock, they hav now moved a bit further towards the safe, popular, stadium rock sound. Still definatly worth a purchase, but i know they could do even more coz they r 1 of the very best rock and roll bands around 2day and i hope they r a bit more adventurous on the next 1! Expand
  45. TomB
    Sep 23, 2008
    10
    Loving it!!
  46. JoshK
    Sep 23, 2008
    10
    Don't believe the negative crap, this album is GREAT. It's a more mature and confident sound for the band, great tunes there as well, there isn't a single dud on this record. I have a feeling most of the negative votes come from Pitchfork (who I respect but they aren't always right) and from those hipster kids who can't form their own opinions and rely on Don't believe the negative crap, this album is GREAT. It's a more mature and confident sound for the band, great tunes there as well, there isn't a single dud on this record. I have a feeling most of the negative votes come from Pitchfork (who I respect but they aren't always right) and from those hipster kids who can't form their own opinions and rely on Pitchfork to do it for them. P.S. I rated it 10, which, on the second thought is probably a little bit too much. But it'll somewhat counteract the negative feedback, so it's all good. Expand
  47. ReubenS.
    Sep 24, 2008
    10
    It's the kangs. That's why.
  48. AlanL.
    Sep 24, 2008
    8
    I think this is a much better effort than the previous ones including the overrated "Because Of The Times". With "Only By The Night", Kings Of Leon show they're capable of creating intelligent, catchy and well structured music with incredible bass lines and a unique vocal style. This is like if My Morning Jacket had met U2. A really good and enjoyable album within the Top 25 of the I think this is a much better effort than the previous ones including the overrated "Because Of The Times". With "Only By The Night", Kings Of Leon show they're capable of creating intelligent, catchy and well structured music with incredible bass lines and a unique vocal style. This is like if My Morning Jacket had met U2. A really good and enjoyable album within the Top 25 of the year without a doubt. Expand
  49. ArnA.
    Sep 24, 2008
    10
    Great album...better than the poser band Coldplay and their disgraceful garbage of an album.
  50. sarahs
    Sep 25, 2008
    10
    Excellent cd - love it from beginning to end.
  51. DavisF.
    Sep 25, 2008
    8
    Not their best ... but a couple of songs will rock as though they were!
  52. VincentB.
    Sep 26, 2008
    10
    Grows on you, like all good music.
  53. Jason
    Sep 26, 2008
    8
    Not at all like what i was expecting. I can see why some people are a little turned off by the new direction but after a few listens its really growing on me a lot.
  54. Dec 15, 2010
    8
    I don't agree with all the hate on this album. I personally love their sound on this album. They slowed their music down quite a bit. All the rip-roaring guitar riffs are cut out for the most part. It's more arena rock on this album and it sounds great. Caleb's voice just soars and it sounds the best on this album than any other album they have put out. The opener "Closer" is a dark songI don't agree with all the hate on this album. I personally love their sound on this album. They slowed their music down quite a bit. All the rip-roaring guitar riffs are cut out for the most part. It's more arena rock on this album and it sounds great. Caleb's voice just soars and it sounds the best on this album than any other album they have put out. The opener "Closer" is a dark song and it's a great way to start off the album with. "Be Somebody" is my personal favorite on the album and one of my favorite Kings Of Leon songs. The smash singles "Sex On Fire" and "Use Somebody" are good songs but there are a lot better on the album. All In All, Only By The Night has a great sound and I love The Kings transformation from Southern rockers to more "easy on the ear" rockers. B+ Expand
  55. Mar 14, 2011
    7
    Inconsistently excellent. Only By The Night is a good album with some good tracks, some great tracks, some outstanding tracks, and some terrible tracks.
  56. Jun 29, 2012
    9
    A very solid alternative rock album. Yes its sound is much more commercial then their previous efforts but to that I'd say, "so what". If an album is good it's good. An there is nothing wrong with change, those who alienate them were never really fans to begin with. Crawl is unequivocally the best song on this Lp.
  57. Nov 1, 2012
    8
    Very good album. The songs are diversified, relaxing but still rocking. Caleb Followill's voice is groovy, the guitar and bass riffs are remarkable and the lyrics also got me. You should go and hear this!
  58. Oct 30, 2013
    8
    There is no denying that kings of leon changed their sound on this one but it worked. Closer and crawl are two of the best songs they have ever created. Other stand out tracks are I want you and cold desert.
Metascore
63

Generally favorable reviews - based on 30 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 15 out of 30
  2. Negative: 3 out of 30
  1. Mojo
    60
    Only By The Night is best viewed as a transitional record from a band who have quite literally done their growing up in public. [Oct 2008, p.98]
  2. The dreamy 'Cold Desert' is the perfect maudlin end to this short, sharp, 42-minute, no-filler album, revelling in every miserable blues-rocker cliché as Matthew's guitar goes all shoegazey and then briefly threatens to turn the whole thing into a 'Purple Rain' wig-out.
  3. As it is, it's a very fine record from a band who are seemingly growing in stature, confidence, and ability by the day.