Best of 2008: #11, Kings of Leon

Rank: #11
Album: Only By the Night
Artist: Kings of Leon
Label: RCA

As our countdown continues, we've reached #11, Kings of Leon's Only By the Night.  This record, (surprisingly) like so many others on this list, was also nominated for multiple Grammy awards.  Who knew the people at the Grammys knew anything about real music?  I spoke about this album at length when it came out, so I'll apologize in advance if any of this seems repetitive.  What Only By the Night does best, as far as I'm concerned, is make an 80s new wave/80s hair metal sound acceptable in today's music landscape, tweaked by a noticeable southern influence.  The album is filled with interesting, moving rock- all influenced by frontman Caleb Followill's foray into painkillers (his claim, not mine).  

Only By the Night has one of the best opening sequences of the year, at least as far as setting the mood is concerned, in "Closer".  It's tough to describe this track, besides the smokey bar atmosphere and neon lights it seems to allude to.  This mental aesthetic holds true from start to finish, with the hypothetical steamy nightlife breathing on every track.  Catchy and driving at times, desperate and soul-searching at others, the record manages to maintain an interesting sense of uncertainty, one that keeps you eagerly awaiting the next track.  "Sex On Fire," as just anyone who's heard the album already knows, is the track that really grabs your attention, and gets you excited for what you're hearing.  Between that, and Followill's best Richard Marx impression on "Be Somebody," along with the rest, you'll be sure to find great material.  For comparisons, see The Strokes, Kasabian and The Black Keys.

Best Track: "Sex On Fire"

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