‘Come Around Sundown.’ It sounds like a line from a cowboy movie or a pulp fiction novel. But does the title of the new Kings Of Leon album do anything for you?
Go on, stretch your imagination a bit. Are you getting images of a secret rendezvous between furtive lovers in a sand-scattered Midwestern town, as a red sunset looms over the horizon? Or perhaps a covert meeting in a dark apartment between a couple of slim characters hatching a shady deal?
Or do you think it’s just a poor half-rhyme of a cliché that evokes, well, nothing in particular?
As album titles go, I don’t think ‘Come Around Sundown’ is too bad – certainly not compared to the last couple of efforts from Kings Of Leon. For a band with such a cool moniker themselves, they hadn’t half developed a habit of picking some deadly dull ones for their records.
‘Only By The Night’ and ‘Because Of The Times’ are both about as exciting and memorable as your great-aunt’s phone number. If you commissioned a marketing company to come up with the most vague and generic terms possible to stick on a record sleeve, they’d struggle to come up with anything more yawnsome.
You’d think a band would put a bit more energy into coming up with some more creative banners for their LPs to enter history under, especially as it takes most of them a couple of years to write and record the things. So why do they so often serve up such uninspiring efforts as (to pick a few recent examples) Mark Ronson’s ‘Record Collection,’ Ellie Goulding’s ‘Lights’, or General Fiasco’s ‘Buildings’?
Kings Of Leon’s last two titles were all the more disappointing given that their first couple were pretty decent. There are few better names for a debut album, in demonstrating a paradoxically mature self-awareness of their then fresh-faced cub status, than 'Youth And Young Manhood'. And while nobody really has a bloomin’ clue what 'A-ha Shake Heartbreak' means, at least it was distinctive and had a bit of zest in the punchy rhythm of its syllables.
A non-believer might argue that the decline in Kings Of Leon’s album titles since then has corresponded with their music becoming less interesting. But they now have millions of fans – and for fans, record names matter a lot. The best ones should come to symbolise the music, to capture its spirit, to make it feel lived in. Along with striking or intriguing artwork, a good title is part of what makes a great album feel like something to be treasured.
Let’s just hope it’s the music that will make ‘Come Around Sundown’ a name to revere.