Because Of The Times - Kings Of Leon 
The first and possibly only band to feature on this list twice, the Kings Of Leon have done it with two very different albums. The first, Youth & Young Manhood (#23), was a belter of a debut steeped in razor-edged blues. This, their third album, was a more mainstream effort that edged them towards stardom - before Sex On Fire did the rest.
The difference between Because Of The Times and Only By The Night is simple and hopefully obvious: the former is a cracking album.
To open with a meandering seven-minuter in Knocked Up is brave but pulled off superbly. Brooding and understated, it's oddly anthemic, and somehow succeeds in making the refrain, "I don't care what nobody says - I'm going to be her lover" as pathetic as it is winsomely defiant.
Charmer shows off those aforementioned vocal talents to extraordinary effect, as does turn-it-up-until-it's-quite-antisocial thumper Black Thumbnail, easily one of my favourite rock songs of recent years. I can't get enough of it.
From start to finish it's an album of classics, thanks to sound lyrics, lyrical sounds and a fantastic mix of fun throwaway tunes (Camaro; My Party) and serious gloomers (Arizona; McFearless). They even get away with writing a song to their fans (Fans, if you hadn't guessed) because it actually sounds heartfelt. And with an uplifting chorus, attacking drums and a bassline to make you air pick, it's one of their best singles yet.
It's sad, but almost certainly true: the Kings Of Leon will probably never make a better album than this.
2 years ago