Review: Kings of Leon, ‘Only by the Night’

Kings of Leon, ‘Only by the Night’: Aidin Vaziri | In the best possible way, the Kings of Leon have dumbed down their snake-hipped Southern rock on their fourth full-length release, “Only by the Night.” At least they have for the first single and best track, “Sex on Fire,” which is probably not so much about sexually transmitted diseases as a passionate bedroom romp, judging by front man Caleb Followill’s impassioned howls once the chorus hits. The rest of the disc pulls back from the usual fist-punching Appalachian anthems in favor of dreamy, slow-burning laments such as “Manhattan” and “I Want You,” the latter prominently featuring some superb cowbell playing. The album feels like an extension of last year’s “Because of the Times” and a firm step toward the arenas occupied by former touring partners U2, particularly with the epic “Be Somebody.” Followill clearly isn’t messing around when he sings, “Given a chance, I’m gonna be somebody. … Open the door, it’s gonna make you love me.”

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