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REVIEW: Kings of Leon is blasting during my summer drives

Can Kings of Leon celebrate with a stay-cation? Kings of Leon provide perfect summer album after their vacation.
Photo courtesy of Kings of Leon, Capitol Records and Kid Harpoon
Photo courtesy of Kings of Leon, Capitol Records and Kid Harpoon

Kings of Leon’s ninth studio album, “Can We Please Have Fun?” released on May 10 and indicates a refreshing, new chapter for the band.

Produced by Kid Harpoon and released under LoveTap Records and Capitol Records, this album marks their first departure from RCA Records. The new album was recorded at Dark House Recording in Franklin, Tennessee.

It is 44 minutes and 56 seconds long and packed with the classic themes Kings of Leon are known for, such as silly lyrics and vibrantly funky melodies. The album evokes the feeling of driving along a coastal back road at night during the summer; I love it and it is perfect for June and July. 

Opening with “Ballerina Radio,” and “Rainbow Ball,” the album sets a contemplative tone, examining the nuances of society. The second the melodies began, I knew this album was going into my music library.

“Ballerina Radio” tells the story of a man’s life of solitude brightened by music, while “Rainbow Ball” humorously recounts a football game’s failed play and a lost bet. These tracks lay the groundwork for an album that’s personal, but widely relatable to other people.

“Mustang,” the lead single, offers a nonsensical yet compelling narrative. Caleb Followill’s lyrics about Sylvan Park and the dichotomy between a mustang and a cat reflect the band’s quintessentially enigmatic style. 

Kings of Leon’s charm primarily lies in their ability to refrain from tidy metaphors, embracing a more abstract and random approach.

“Split Screen” stands out as one of the album’s best moments, allegedly inspired by the Followill brothers’ mother.

This track delves into new territory, showcasing the brothers’ versatility in exploring other ethereal soundscapes compared to their early 2000’s rock theme. 

It focuses on the modern struggles of disconnecting and the constant struggle to find deeper meaning in life. The lyric “desire when needed” brings up the feeling of isolation.

Lyrically, the band plays with imagery with “color run from your eyes.” I could picture the scenes in my head as they continued with “pack up your headcase.”

The song asks the question, “Is this a middle-of-a-life thought? A revelation on a split screen?” 

In other words, is this a major realization? An uncomfortable midlife revelation? 

It splashes into midlife worries and anxieties with genuine depth that avoids the pitfalls of many late-career reflections. 

“Don’t Stop The Bleeding” shifts the mood with its tender, subtly rural sound, showcasing the band’s versatility. 

“Actual Daydream” radiates a Southwestern twang into the sandbox, born from a family vacation and a commitment to positivity, as described by Caleb in an interview with Radio X. 

Tracks like “Nothing To Do,” “M Television,” and “Hesitation Gen” continue to build on this diverse album. “Hesitation Gen” features the striking lyric, “I went and got away with murder, had ‘em pin it on my neighbor,” adding a darker, intriguing layer to the album that made for a “fun” write according to Caleb.

“Ease Me On” brings a personal touch, inspired by a family vacation and the kindness of a helper named Koko, whose nightly ice cream deliveries left a positive impact on Followill. This track embodies the album’s spirit of finding joy in simplicity and connection in the current world’s hurricane.

The album closes with “Seen,” a standout track that compresses the band’s journey and evolution.

As the title suggests, “Can We Please Have Fun?” is a declaration of artistic freedom. Kings of Leon have crafted this album not out of obligation or for commercial success, but for the sheer thrill of creating. 

This approach infuses the record with an enthusiastic and unrestrained energy.

The album gets deep, but still holds a carefree vibe with bass lines, office objects and lyrics to resonate with no matter how personal or random they may be. 

The vibe seems to match with the brothers’ mindset: unconcerned with critics and focused on the joy of creating music.

So, can we just have fun now that their album is out? I will spend all summer on my vacation thinking positive, for sure, with this album playing.

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About the Contributor
Piper Pinnetti
Piper Pinnetti, Reporter
Piper Pinnetti is a reporter for The Sunflower. Pinnetti previously designed content for The Sunflower's Instagram. Pinnetti is a junior at Wichita State, majoring in journalism with the hopes of pursuing a career in writing. Pinnetti uses she/her pronouns.

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