Single Review: Kings Of Leon – ‘Radioactive’

Gentles and ladymen, welcome to our magnificent daily tour of Kingsofleonland, where you’ll get the exclusive chance to tour around of this open top page all day to see, explore and learn about Caleb, Nathan, Jared and Matthew Followill and all their guitar-twiddlings since ‘Sex On Fire’.

You see, since that song that put Kings Of Leon on the map (‘Sex On Fire’ in case you though it was something like one of their actually good songs), Kings Of Leon have taken quite a jump from Garage rock/Alternative rock by wanting to sound good in a big boomy place like a stadium, so they’ll need a sound to match; a sound that will fill up said stadium. And gradually the stadium idea has sunk in well with the Followills, so they want to replicate the ‘Sex On Fire’/’Use Somebody’-type popular sound because then lots of people will want to see them, and lots of people will want to song their songs and do a Mexican wave in the crowds, and of course, lots of people will naturally be needed if the Kings Of Leon are ever going to fill up a stadium in the first place.

And if they’re lucky, they’ll even have someone sing another one of their new songs on The X Factor, which will send whichever song that is sung back up the charts like BOOM.

‘Radioactive’ sees the Followills stick to their newly forged, commercial stadium rock, with tinges of early U2 to it, only this time they’ve added some religiously influenced lyrics and latched on a gospel choir to make the stadiumness even more pronounced. The guitar riff at the intro is typical Kings Of Leon, and throughout the first verse it sounds like it’s going to go down the path of their older sound, but it instead sort of… changes and becomes more pop-y, but not as annoying as ‘Sex On Fire’. Well, I say “not as annoying”, I mean you won’t find some random group of drunk males leaving a club on a Saturday night belting “IT’S IN THE WATER” like they would “WOAH THIS SEX IS ON FIRE”.

The video is one of those that’s shot in sepia/muted colour to give it an authentic, old-fashioned, tape-reel effect, and it feels lots of children looking happy and the Followills looking unhappy.

After the unexpected yoink towards a more commercial sound, releasing ‘Radioactive’ gives me the impression that the boys just wanted to release a few commercial songs to get them on the Single Chart map, then go back to their original sound a little bit (‘Radioactive’) but still keep elements of the poppier sound.

Although that gospel choir isn’t really needed.

Rating: 3.5 STARS

Download: October 4, 2010 (OUT NOW)

Featured Album: ‘Come Around Sundown’

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