Album Reviews

Single Review: Kings of Leon – Radioactive

Kings of Leon – ‘Radioactive’

Yesterday, Kings of Leon unveiled the lead single from their upcoming fifth album, Come Around Sundown. The song, ‘Radioactive’ will be familiar to avid KoL fans, as the band has played it many times during their live shows this summer. In its live version, the song had a nice raw feel to it, with wonderful peaks and troughs, making for an interesting listening experience. New songs always have a hard time finding their feet live amongst old standards, but on stage, ‘Radioactive’ seemed to hold its own.

The same can’t be said for the finished, polished version. The single, and accompanying video premièred yesterday on Kings of Leon’s official website, and seem to have come straight out of the Because of the Night songbook. It’s a far cry from the urgency of the songs on their debut album (such as ‘Molly’s Chambers’ or ‘Red Morning Light’), but worse, it’s even a let down from their last record, Only By The Night.

This is Kings of Leon-lite, the bland, radio-friendly pop that will appeal to a mass audience, while causing no offence. Remember last year on X Factor when Jamie Archer sang ‘Sex on Fire’? Well, ‘Radioactive’ feels like someone doing a poor, watered-down version of Kings of Leon. Even Jamie Afro’s take on their uber-hit had more appeal.

It’s hard to blame the producers for the song, as they’re the same duo who produced Kings of Leon’s redemptive fourth record, but if one thing is true, it’s that this song is overproduced. There’s too much sheen, and not enough dirty rock underneath. Hopefully the rest of the record, due October 15th in Ireland, will make up for this.

[xrr rating=2/5]

Related posts:

  1. Album News: Kings of Leon – Come Around Sundown
  2. Album Review: Kings of Leon – Only By The Night
  3. Download: Kings of Leon ‘Crawl’
  4. Album News: Kings of Leon – Only By The Night tracklisting
  5. Album News: Kings of Leon ‘Only By The Night’ due September


  1. Kev

    It actually did come out of the “A-Ha Shake Heartbreak” era. They wrote it then and didn’t think it was good enough… Hmmm…

    Seen the video? I can’t help but think “Earth Song”…

  2. Kev: That’s what I was thinking. Those two terrible albums in the middle. If it wasn’t good enough then, why is it good enough now?

  3. Joe

    Those two terrible albums in the middle? I hope you’re not referring to Aha-Shake and Because of the Times as terrible albums.. because both of them are on par with Youth and Young Man Hood. Only by the Night is a good record too, in fact they are all pretty much on par with each other for different reasons.

    The newest single is way too over produced, I’ll agree with that. The whole children’s choir singing backups is kind of lame and to be expected.. but it’s still a well written song musically speaking. I suppose the only reason I’m writing this is because I strongly disagree with you bashing those two middle albums, Aha Shake is probably their most well rounded album yet.

  4. The video is horrific.. Like a cheap video for children in need

  5. Joe: Youth is by far their best album, but that’s like a whole different band. The two terrible ones in the middle are subpar attempts at pop-rock, with hugely derivative songs. Only by the Night redeemed them in my eyes, as it’s an extremely polished adult mainstream album. It blows Aha and Because out of the water.

    Oisin: It is, it’s like a War Child advert.

  6. Greg

    It was actually Jamie “Afro” Archer than did “Sex On Fire”. Just for the sake of journalistic integrity or… whatever.


  7. Ha, thanks Greg. I remember that. Good man Dermot!

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