by Samantha Mae
Vulture Hound Music is looking back at 10 albums which turn 10 years old in 2017. This week Samantha Fisher looks back at Kings of Leon’s third studio album, Because of the Times.
In 2007 came the third full length release from Kings of Leon, Because of the Times. Maintaining the five syllable title rule, this album showed that the band of brothers and cousins are all about tradition. Beyond that, the album as a whole seems to go about exploring the notion of romance, making no haste in going from one feeling to another.
It opens with a gentle caress of heartfelt feelings with ‘Knocked Up’; a sweet little track oozing with devotion. There is an overbearing sense of young love, “I don’t care what nobody says, we’re going to have a baby”, or is it forbidden love? Even after all these years it’s open to interpretation, a track that is easy on the ears but littered with deeper meaning nonetheless.
Following this is a direct change in tone. In comes the brash nature of ‘Charmer’, less gushing devotee, more animalistic lover. Grunts and screeches come with a grinding riff and distortions thrown here and there, throwing us off course – we’re not in the same place as before. It’s distinctive and brutally natural, and ten years on, still manages to send a shiver down the spine.
It’s as if the Followill clan are tossing a coin on track three, ‘On Call’; landing back on heads as that calm tone of being there for a loved one returns. Chop and change as they might, Kings of Leon sound all the more honest for it, as if portraying the multifaceted nature of feelings. Because of the Times encapsulates the divine union of desires of the heart and a sexually driven energy in the most perfect way. It is an album in which everything just seems a little more ‘real’ with just the right amount of grit to give the smooth tones that bit of an edge. ‘Charmer’ is perhaps where they push the limits on the raw production, as it comes in a little more than rough around the edges. Thankfully, cushioned by two gentle tracks, this makes for a pleasant surprise rather than an unsolicited shock to the system.
Beyond the first half of the album, everything blends into one, with little bursts of joy. It’s not that it’s no good, more so it begs the question is it simply just the pure spark of nostalgia that makes this album such a standout piece of work. It’s as if it’s the last moment before ‘Sex On Fire’ took over the charts, after which, each album seemed to come as a different identity. Because of the Times maintains the raw beauty of the debut, Youth and Young Manhood, with just enough of a development to make it worthwhile.