Single Review: Kings of Leon – Radioactive

By on Friday, 10th September 2010 at 1:00 pm

This autumn, few albums are as highly anticipated as American rockers Kings of Leon‘s 5th effort ‘Come Around Sundown,’ which will be released on 18th October 2010. They’ve just released the first single, ‘Radioactive,’ which they started writing in-between ‘Aha Shake Heartbreak’ and ‘Because of the Times,’ and was the first track they started to play around with when they began to work on the new record. This lengthy writing process really shows in the song: in it, the Followill clan goes back to their roots while simultaneously taking the band’s sound in a new direction.

When I say they’re going back to their roots, I don’t mean that it sounds like their early music, so fans who complain that they sold out with ‘Only By the Night’ will probably still complain. They’re taking it even further back: to their childhood. As kids, they traveled around the South with their father, Ivan “Leon” Followill, from whom the band takes its name. He was a United Pentecostal Church preacher, and would often enlist the boys to play music at churches and tent revivals. Since they grew up around gospel, its no surprise Caleb would turn to an old spiritual song they used to sing growing up in order to make the song work.

And it really works well. In the short verses, Caleb’s slow Southern drawl builds up to the chorus, which is loud, exuberant and backed by a choir. Rather than sounding over-the-top or clichéd, it just sounds natural, because for Kings of Leon, “It’s in the water, where [they] came from.” By going back to their roots, not only have they created an incredible song, but they may even earn their grandmother’s approval. As Nathan said, “after my grandma sees this video, she definitely doesn’t think we’re going to hell…as fast as she did think we were going.”

Kings of Leon will be playing six dates in the UK this December. Check out the TGTF ticket alert for more information.

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