Underrated Classic - Kings of Leon "Because of the Times"
Before their public meltdown, before they were on the cover of nearly every magazine, before they were one of the biggest American rock bands to hit the global stage, before they were married to models, and right before their sex was on fire, Kings of Leon were a critical darling band that had a cult following in the U.S., a massive following in England and in 2007 released one of the best albums of their career. The Nashville band of brothers (and a cousins) third album, Because of the Times came with little fan fare. The album arrived in a year that was filled with heavy hitters from Arcade Fire, Kanye West, Radiohead, The National, Arctic Monkeys, Feist, MIA, The Shins, Rihanna, Modest Mouse, and came early in the year where by the time the critics who loved them were making their top 10 lists, seemed to forget about the album, even though the album was hailed by the same critics. The band at this point had a following that included Bob Dylan, Pearl Jam, Tom Petty, and many other icons that were championing their sound and proclaiming them to be the next big thing, but were failing to catch onto rock radio and the big American stages. The band still had their long hair, beards, mustaches and gravely, inarticulate lead singer Caleb Followill, but the album seemed to go on deaf ears to fans and critics. Now, six years after the fact, the band have released their solid sixth album, Mechanical Bull and the album that people seem to forget, Because of the Times, is all of a sudden everyones favorite Kings of Leon album. It is a record that heard them shed their "Southern" roots and pick up more of a darker, sexier tone to their songs but also seemed mysterious. They had singles like "On Call" and "Chamer" but were far from sing-a-long jams that they had crafted before like "Taper Jean Girl," "The Bucket," "Four Kicks" and "Molly's Chambers." Now, all these years later, it is the record they needed to make in order to get to the position where they are at now -- one of the world's biggest bands.