Album of the decade: Youth and Young Manhood


Sons of preacher men who have torn up the rule book and rejected their religious roots in favour of sex, drugs and Tennessee style rock and roll. With four albums under their belts, Kings of Leon have well and truly proved their place in the album of the decade charts.

Headlining Coachella in 2006, I watched the hairy rockers perform in front of millions of excited fans – a year later at Reading, with three albums released; they performed BEFORE Razorlight – the biggest kick in the teeth ever?

Despite the fact they have been around almost a decade it sadly seems their latest album and in particular, the commercially polished Sex on Fire, have finally made them noticed (and a lot richer) in the UK.

Their debut album, Youth and Young Manhood was different, edgy and its Dylan-inspired notes got us all singing along in our own southern drawl. The title misleads as although the band were aged between 16-23 when the album was released, they exuded long time greased-up rock etiquette from the start.

Caleb Followill’s raspy, voice varies significantly as he slurs through the mellow, laid back Dusty which oozes jazzy blues, to the shambolic, enthusiasm of California Waiting.

My favourite song on the album, it epitomises the band’s personal lives and the energy and passion of the lyrics never falter to leap into your soul.

A piercing lead guitar in Red Morning Light awakens every hair on your body. Allow yourself to be taken over by the scuffy honest sound and join the country rockers at the very start of their journey to stardom.

The Kerouac-style narrative of the band’s journey into adulthood is irresistible and the fuzzy lyrics pull you in until you are rocking away to the likes of Molly’s Chambers and tumbling down your own Spiral Staircase with the same Rolling Stones-esqu finesse as the southern rebels.

Country sweetness, filthy guitar licks and hard rocked up catastrophes – Youth and Young Manhood IS the album of the decade and KOL have succeeded where other Stokesonian counterparts have failed. They have created lasting legacy but their debut number’s mystery, honesty and passion grinded with rocked up-greatness ensures its place as number one.

Vote for your favourite here:

Don’t Agree – check out the other contenders:
At the Drive-In – Relationship of Command by Tom Victor
Bloc Party – Silent Alarm by Joe Curtis
Arctic Monkeys – Whatever People Say I Am… by Ciaran Jones
The Libertines – Up the Bracket by James Franklin
Brand New – The Devil and God are Raging Inside Me by Hugh Morris
The Killers – Hot Fuss by Nick Moore
Bon Iver – For Emma, Forever Ago by Ammeilo
Daft Punk – Discovery by Will Gilgrass
Kings of Leon – Only by the Night by Caroline Cook
Regina Spektor – Begin to Hope by Fiona Roberts
Bright Eyes – Digital Ash in a Digital Urn by Emma Davies
Coldplay – Parachutes by Dan Bloom
The Strokes – Is this it by Alfie Tolhurst
Johnny Cash – The Man Comes Around by Mike Brown
Snow Patrol – Eyes Open by Sarah Scott
Arcade Fire – Funeral by Rob Goodman

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6 Comments

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6 responses to “Album of the decade: Youth and Young Manhood

  1. Tim

    Great write-up! I’ve always been partial to Joe’s Head and Genius myself, but the whole album stands up to many, many replays. Significantly more accomplished blues/rootsy guitar sound than The White Stripes (in my opinion), and with a thick slice of dusty Southern sex appeal laid on top. Can’t beat that.

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