Damn, does anyone who was a super big fan of “The Bucket” still get exited over new Kings of Leon releases? I feel like the fans of early KoL are completely detached from the fans of the current KoL and vice versa. But here’s the thing: if you ignore the squeaky clean production and bigger – much bigger – pathos of the current KoL, you still have that yearning, that heart-pumping yearning, like there surely is something out there, something waiting for you, something bigger, something exciting.
“The Bandit” is a gorgeous but also sad song. The lyrics might read like a lone ranger’s heatstroke diary entry in the middle of the desert but could just as well be about addiction and how straining it is to search that feeling of the first high, or maybe even something better, something purer. Maybe I am completely off here but lines like “And they’re walking around, with their heads in the clouds screaming, must catch the bandit, reckless abandon, rundown and stranded”, sound a lot like the worst days you might have as an addict, when you already see yourself, loath yourself but can’t help yourself.
It’s also a song that feels at its core like the – in my humble opinion – masterpiece “Because of the Times”, an album that already shed its skin of the early garage rock to create a Springsteen-esque roadtrip masterpiece of incredible songwriting, storytelling and a tugging war between the life of fame the band already had at that point and the dreamy short stories of a typical (very masculine) and aimless youth in rural America.
It’s a bit of a shame that this promising glimpse into the upcoming album is followed by a little bit of a snooze-fest called “100.000 people” a love song that sounds tired and exhausted, as if waiting for all this was maybe just a tiny bit too long. That chorus of neverending “you do”s alone makes me look at my watch, sigh audibly and drum my fingers. Or maybe it’s just the sound of contentment, which can be an awful bore if you’re not the one who’s content but the one who was invited over for tea.