Kings of Leon

Only by the Night (RCA)

Caleb Followill and the other members of the Kings of Leon family once seemed content with updating Seventies Southern rock for the new millennium — but no more. Only by the Night is a bid for mass popularity and critical acclaim of the sort typically associated with Chris Martin, not Tennessee-bred good ol' boys. "Crawl" booms with effectively rendered Euro-centric arena ambitions, while "Be Somebody" somehow makes George-of-the-Jungle drums seem propulsive instead of dopey. Elsewhere, unfortunately, the Followills' commercial quest leads them in too-obvious directions. "Revelry" dribbles their early influences with drecky "oooh-ooohs," and "Use Somebody" sounds like it was composed to accompany a shot of an emotional Izzie storming down a hallway during a very special episode of Grey's Anatomy. Such is the price of fame.

 
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