Now unless you’ve been living down a Chilean mine for the past few days, you’ll know Kings Of Leon have dropped their new single, ‘Radioactive’. You’ll also know that in the video they’ve done away with the fags, whiskey and cocaine, and opted for a spot of BBQ-ing and fly-fishing, all cut in luscious sepia.
The bombastic promo, with its beaming children, soft-focus style, and big kids’ choir moment at the end, has generated much mockery. A few sample comments on our recent blog post: “One of the worst vids of all time”, “It’s a bit paedo-y for me”, and “I am going to have to spend the next three days picking vomit out of my keyboard.”
That’s too harsh. Sure, the ‘Radioactive’ video is overblown, clichéd, cheesy. But it also reflects the earthy, home-town aesthetic of the song, harking back to the band’s pastoral upbringing. And the song itself is encouraging, yes? Light and glorious with a gospel feel, it doesn’t possess the feverish rock‘n’roll spirit of ‘Four Kicks’, but it’s not as wholesomely crap as ‘Revelry’ either.
It seems that these days you can’t utter the words ‘Sex On Fire’ to some indie fans without collapsing under a torrent of abuse. And yeah, while the band don’t exactly help themselves – what with their ludicrously overpriced clothing range and similarly pricey December tour tickets (from £44 plus booking fee) – there’s no doubt that since 2008’s ‘Only By The Night’, they’ve steadily become rock’s most high-profile whipping boys.
You can dress it up how you want – it’s just cool to hate Kings Of Leon at the moment. Since the demise of Oasis, KOL have risen to take their place as the supremely successful mainstream rock band, and therefore the object of indie snobs’ derision. But can the Followills truly be said to have sold out? Or have they simply – big difference – become popular?
Remember: these guys slogged nine years – that’s nine fucking years, people – before megawatt stardom came a-calling.
I’m not going to lie, while flicking through the music channels lately I caught the video for ‘Molly’s Chambers’ and I too found myself yearning for simpler times when Caleb had a bong eye and moaned like he had a chicken bone stuck in his throat.
But really, is all this hatred deserved when a complete waste of skin like Olly Murs can get a Number One single? Granted, KOL seem to have lost a little of their grit and grapple along the way, but it’s not like they‘ve started whacking on the auto-tune and singing like Taio Cruz, or Jason Derulo.
Come on people, with abominations like those on the loose, haven’t we got better artists to direct our rage at?