Future Valley rockers (Mesa Amphitheater on May 19) Kings of Leon have just been awarded a prestigious performing slot at this year's MTV Movie Awards. The show takes place May 31 at Universal's Gibson Amphitheater over in Universal City, California and features SNL standout/boat enthusiast Andy Samberg as host. This announcement comes as no surprise as the band has been having quite the jam-packed 8 months since the release of their fourth album, Only by the Night. Playing the MTV Movie Awards pretty much ruins all hopes of being deemed indie rockers for the band, but I'm sure the band could care less about this. It's a shame, too, because all of this success the band has garnered has ultimately lead to them producing watered down, boring rock music.
Only by the Night has already sold well over 673,000 copies, which is quite an accomplishment when you consider the absolute dearth of album sales since 2000. The album has notched many gigs and worldwide notoriety for the band. It's just a shame that it's by far their worst album to date. Youth and Young Manhood, the band's debut album in 2003, was unlike anything indie rock, alternative rock, and plain old rock music had heard. Supplanted by lead singer Caleb Followill's delightfully Tennessean vocals, the album was an okay success in the U.S. yet found huge success overseas, in the U.K. in particular. Along came Aha Shake Heartbreak, a better success Stateside and an album showing that the band's production was much crisper and more professional since their debut. 2007 yielded Kings of Leon's best work by far, Because of the Times. The album is kicked off by a 7 minute plus opus about pregnancy, features Caleb screaming himself hoarse and even features a track called "Arizona" (woo hoo!). The band had established themselves as scions of American rock music, and the sky seemed to be the limit.
Perhaps the brilliance of Because of the Times took its toll on the band and left them in a creative divot, if you will. Maybe Only by the Night needed more time to properly gestate and form, because the album seemed rushed and marketed towards arena rock and mainstream radio. Now the band finds themselves playing alongside Eminem (oh, for fuck's sake) at the goddamn MTV Movie Awards. Success has become them, and hearing that the band will be performing on the program made me yearn for the days when they used to tour and play smaller club venues with bands like Shout Out Louds.
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I could see the eventual progression of the band after hearing "Sex on Fire," the lead single off of Only by the Night. I just hope the Followill boys are still hungry and ready to return to form once 2009 stops turning them into the saviors of rock music. Leave that junk up to U2 and Green Day.
Bonus Elaboration: Listening to Because of the Times while writing this is absolutely breaking my heart. I miss those days...