Kings of Leon | Can We Please Have Fun Review


Kings of Leon | Can We Please Have Fun Review

by Griff Stevens

Kings-of-Leon-CDKings of Leon, the Tennessee-bred rock band known for their gritty, anthemic sound, has returned with their ninth studio album, Can We Please Have Fun. Recorded at Dark Horse Studio in Nashville and produced with the deft touch of Kid Harpoon, the album reflects a band in the throes of creative rejuvenation. Freed from the weight of commercial expectations, Kings of Leon delves into a set of new explorations, presenting a body of work that harks back to their early rawness and pushes into new sonic territories.

The album’s title, Can We Please Have Fun, captures the essence of the record: a plea and an affirmation of the band’s desire to reconnect with the joy of making music. Caleb Followill, the band’s frontman, describes the recording process as the most enjoyable of his career. This sense of liberation is palpable throughout the album, oscillating between their signature southern rock and newer, experimental sounds.

The opener, “Ballerina Radio,” sets the tone with atmospheric layers and introspective lyrics, drawing the listener into a reflective mood. This is followed by “Rainbow Ball,” a track that combines driving beats with an almost ethereal soundscape, a testament to Kid Harpoon’s influence and the band’s willingness to explore beyond their usual confines.

“Mustang” is a quintessential Kings of Leon track, reminiscent of their early days with its raw energy and infectiousKings-of-Leon-2 hooks. It’s a throwback to the band’s “Because of the Times” era, blending raucous guitars with Caleb’s impassioned vocals. The track is a rollicking anthem, capturing the spirit of youthful rebellion and adventure.

“Actual Daydream” introduces a Spanish-inflected melody, showcasing the band’s ability to incorporate diverse influences without losing their core identity. This track, along with “Ease Me On,” which channels a breezy, almost tropical vibe, demonstrates the band’s versatility and willingness to take risks.

However, only some experiments hit the mark. Tracks like “Don’t Stop The Bleeding” and “Nowhere To Run” feel somewhat lackluster compared to the album’s more dynamic offerings. These ballads, while heartfelt, don’t reach the same emotional heights as their predecessors, coming off as somewhat restrained.

The album’s midpoint is bolstered by “Split Screen,” a textured, guitar-driven track that balances introspection and anthemic grandeur. It’s one of the album’s highlights, a reminder of the band’s ability to craft sonically rich and emotionally resonant songs.

Lyrically, Can We Please Have Fun continues Followill’s tradition of blending personal reflection with broader, almost existential themes. “Hesitation Generation,” for example, delves into the uncertainties and anxieties of modern life, delivered with a mix of urgency and poignancy.

One of the album’s strengths is its ability to evoke a sense of place and time, drawing on the band’s southern roots while feeling contemporary and relevant. “Nothing To Do,” with its squalling riffs and propulsive energy, channels the fiery spirit of the Pixies. At the same time, “M Television” offers a cheeky nod to The Velvet Underground, which marries classic influences with the band’s distinctive style.

Kings-of-Leon-1Can We Please Have Fun is Kings of Leon’s most liberated and promising album in over a decade. While not every track is a home run, the album displays the band’s enduring creativity and ability to evolve while staying true to their roots. Kings of Leon have managed to strike a balance between revisiting the raw, unfiltered energy of their early work and exploring new musical landscapes. The result is an album that feels both nostalgic and refreshingly new. In an era where many bands struggle to maintain relevance, Can We Please Have Fun proves that Kings of Leon can still surprise and delight their audience.

5 Finger gives a review of 86

Can We Please Have Fun

Release Date: May 10, 2024

Label: Capitol Records

About the author

Griff Stevens
Griff Stevens

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