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Kings of Leon: Youth & Young Manhood

 A l b u m   D e t a i l s

Label: RCA Records
Released: 2003.07.07
Category: Garage Rock, Southern Rock
Producer(s): Ethan Johns & Angelo Petraglia
Media type: CD
Web address: www.kingsofleon.com
Appears with:
Purchase date: 2012
Price in €: 1,00

 S o n g s ,   T r a c k s

[1] Red Morning Light (C.Followill/N.Followill/A.Petraglia) - 3:00
[2] Happy Alone (C.Followill/N.Followill/A.Petraglia) - 3:59
[3] Wasted Time (C.Followill/N.Followill/A.Petraglia) - 2:46
[4] Joe's Head (C.Followill/N.Followill/A.Petraglia) - 3:21
[5] Trani (M.Followill) - 5:00
[6] California Waiting (C.Followill/N.Followill/A.Petraglia) - 3:28
[7] Spiral Staircase (C.Followill/N.Followill/A.Petraglia) - 2:55
[8] Molly's Chambers (C.Followill/N.Followill/A.Petraglia) - 2:15
[9] Genius (C.Followill/N.Followill/A.Petraglia) - 2:48
[10] Dusty (C.Followill/N.Followill/A.Petraglia) - 4:21
[11] Holy Roller Novocaine (C.Followill/N.Followill/A.Petraglia) - 3:56
[12] Talihina Sky (C.Followill/N.Followill/A.Petraglia) - 3:47 *
[13] Wicker Chair (C.Followill/N.Followill/A.Petraglia) - 3:08 **

* - Hidden Track starts at 8:22
** -  Bonus Track but also appeared on Holy Roller Novocaine LP

 A r t i s t s ,   P e r s o n n e l

Caleb Followill - Vocals, Rhythm Guitar
Matthew Followill - Lead Guitar, Piano on [12]
Jared Followill - Bass Guitar, Piano on [5]
Nathan Followill - Drums, Percussion, Vocals

Richard Causon - Piano

Angelo Petraglia - Arranger, Producer
Ethan Johns - Arranger, Engineer, Mixing, Producer
Ivy Skoff - Production Assistant
King Williams - Engineer
Kyle Johnson - Assistant Engineer
Jim Niper - Assistant Engineer
Chuck Linder - Assistant Engineer
Leslie Richter - Assistant Engineer
Miles Wilson - Assistant Engineer
Bob Ludwig - Mastering
Brett Kilroe - Art Direction
Kevin Christy - Cover Illustration
Colin Lane - Photography
Steve Ralbovsky - A&R

 C o m m e n t s ,   N o t e s

Recorded in 2002-2003 at Shangri-La in Malibu; Sound City in Van Nuys; House of Blues in Memphis; Ocean Way and Groundstar in Nashville.

The Kings of Leon are the sons of a preacher and their debut album, Youth and Young Manhood, is their hymnal of rock & roll redemption. The brothers (and one cousin) Followill work with producer Ethan Johns for a rattling country-rock hootenanny, basically reviving the deep-fried Southern rock found on the band's first EP, Holy Roller Novocaine. Four of the five cuts featured in that set are included for a second time and they're nicely seeded in all their honky tonk rowdiness among the band's seven brand new tracks. Launching things off is the swanky "Red Morning Light." Guitarist Matthew Followill immediately establishes himself as a skilled musician, complementing his cousin Caleb's coarse-grained drawl. "Joe's Head" is the closest the band comes to sounding like Tom Petty and Gregg Allman. "Spiral Staircase" finds Caleb causing trouble Bon Scott-style, while the band hints at some shenanigan-like behavior with some psychedelic pop. Youth and Young Manhood isn't sonically adventurous, but in the new-millennium pop realm, some greasy licks sure sound good.

MacKenzie Wilson - All Music Guide

The Followills came blazing out of Juliet, Tennessee swathed in enough "Southern Strokes" hype to choke a mule. But they lived up to every bit of it on their fabulous debut, one of the decade's greatest garage rock records. Stylish but downhome, punky but purdy, it veered from short, sharp tambourine-banging rockers to sultry, guttural slow burners. Caleb's cotton-mouthed delivery fell somewhere between Kurt Cobain and an alcoholic tractor supplies salesman – the perfect slop-jowled squawk for their odes to wayward  Southern girls and the fallen boys who loved them.

100 Best Albums of the 2000s

Preacher's sons who grew up on the road and laid down the holy-roller boogie in churches across the South, Kings of Leon come by their scuffed, scruffy sound honestly. But the title of their debut album, Youth and Young Manhood, is slightly misleading. One would expect these little red roosters, who range in age from sixteen to twenty-three, to be strutting their fine stuff with hyperexuberance, the outsize virility of boys testing their boundaries and the world's. But instead, they come on like old-school greasers who've been around long enough to know how to savor a moment.

The thrill is in the groove. Some of the time that means jacked-up garage punk, as the group tumbles down a "Spiral Staircase" and greets the "Red Morning Light" with bloodshot conviction. But the Kings are also a Southern rhythm section to their core: They know when to lay back and let things simmer, and when to jump up and testify with tambourines banging. Guitar-playing in this band is not about Southern-rock virtuosity in the Allmans mold but about staggering-drunk solos that suggest calamity is just around the corner (dig that firecracker dance in "Happy Alone") or ooze blues slop until it melts into feedback ("Dusty").

Leadman Caleb Followill doesn't sing so much as slouch into his narratives of waywardness. On "Trani," he sounds so busted up he can barely hold a conversation, and it only magnifies the sense of dissolution. Most of the time, every slur and mumble sounds as if he's either just had sex or is dreaming about it, never more so than on "Molly's Chambers." Mannish boys, they do grow up fast.

Greg Kot - August 12, 2003

The Kings of Leon have some sort of mythical backstory that I'm contractually obligated to relate: they're all brothers (except for the one that's a cousin), raised by a Pentecostal preacher who traveled the South feeding them roots-rock and the Lord's word in equal measure. It's the sort of tale that many in the music press lap up because it plays into rock's need for a linear history, and because it has roots in the history of rock, blues, country and many of America's established musical legends. So next to Jack White's anti-technology screeds, Kings of Leon have the rock press' most beloved non-image image. They so come across like a fictionalized version of What Rock Is Supposed To Be circa 1973 that they could pass for Stillwater.

Kings of Leon can't be faulted for their reviews, nor should they be judged by their appearance. Hell, rock needs more characters and personalities. It needs more people who aren't afraid to look foolish or to reach for greatness and potentially fail. The willingness to take chances and to do something truly different has been slowly bled out of rock by safe careerism. Most bands get one shot in the studio every two years to maintain or grow their fanbase, and too often seem reluctant to confound expectations. It's frustrating, then, that Kings of Leon's debut, Youth and Young Manhood, seems to be about removing any possibility that the band could put a wrong foot forward. Their bar band approach sounds as if they've taken a book of rock history and, dutifully following along, bookmarked some of the most unremarkable passages.

Their music is often referred to as Southern Rock, although it doesn't rock at all-- it lacks force, velocity, and power. It also has little in common with a lot of what of the best Southern Rock had; it doesn't display the craftsmanship and technical proficiency of the Allman Brothers, the anthemism and storytelling of Lynyrd Skynyrd, nor the eccentricity of Little Feet. More accurately, Kings of Leon sound as if they're aiming more to ape the blues-inflected Rolling Stones, The Faces, or early Bob Seger. Unfortunately, without the dexterity or ferocity of any of them, they end up closer to the likes of Foghat, Black Oak Arkansas, or The Doobie Brothers.

It's all very disappointing, because blues-rock can still be powerful when its purveyors demonstrate charisma, quirk, muscle, and a penchant for hooks. Youth and Young Manhood's opener, "Red Morning Light", with its gritty, minimalist stomp, could pass for the White Stripes, but elsewhere, Kings of Leon stagger from CBGB junkie blues ("Trani") to Led Zeppelin-lite ("Joe's Head") to a muddy, sluggish take on AC/DC ("Spiral Staircase"). "Happy Alone" is the album's strongest track and - thanks to the clipped guitar and singer Calen Followill's garbled, slow drawl and indecipherable lyrics - the one that most justifies all of the "Southern Strokes" tags. Followill's voice has an element of gravely confidence, yet it off-puttingly carries the ugly sense of entitlement of young machismo.

Like Fountains of Wayne or The Stereophonics, Kings of Leon aim to meet your every expectation to a T, and nothing more, making music that's seemingly bulletproof simply because it's built on the foundation of the way things were done in the good ol' days. Which is much of this band's problem: Kings of Leon attempt to substitute their supposed possession of "honesty," "purity," "realism," "history" and "authenticity" for ideas, hooks and songs. And like so many bands touted as bearing these intangible, inaudible sensations, they simply aim for pantomime, careful not to reach for anything other than the tried-and-true simply because that's perceived as the "right" way to do things.

Scott Plagenhoef - August 20, 2003
© 2015 Pitchfork Media Inc.

Already tagged with the unfortunate critical label of "southern-fried Strokes," the full-length debut by the brothers Followill (Nathan, Jared, Caleb) and cousin (Matthew Followill) may well have its roots in their itinerant evangelist father Leon blasting his sons with relentless doses of ‘70s rock as they traveled the South from one preaching gig to the next. But the way the Kings channel sources as disparate as Led Zeppelin's "That's the Way" into "Joe's Head" or the Who's "Circles" into their ""Molly's Chambers" seems almost subconscious; after a decade of bands trying to reinvent the rock wheel, it's refreshing to hear one content to gleefully pry it loose and send it spinning in their own peculiar directions. As with all the great ones, deconstructing the Kings' sound doesn't get you far: singer/guitarist Caleb perpetually seems to be rolling one too many syllables off a lazy, Southern tongue while his haystack-haired brothers and cousin chug maniacally along like some lost, recently re-tooled '60s garage-psych-rock legend. In the end there's not an ounce of the Strokes' latent pop culture self-consciousness in the Kings' intoxicating sonic haze--just the restless, often bittersweet noise of one of the most original bands to hail from Dixie since R.E.M.

Jerry McCulley - Amazon.com

"Diese Platte ist des Teufels liebster Trick: Sie wird Sie verfolgen, so lange Sie auf Gottes Erdboden wandeln. Oder Ihnen wenigstens in den Arsch treten. Das ist ein Versprechen."

Rolling Stone, September 2003

[...] Gospel für das neue Jahrtausend, eine Verbeugung vor den Mythen und Riten des amerikanischen Rock'n'Roll [...]

VISIONS, September 2003

Gottes Wege sind manchmal unergründlich: Die drei Söhne des Wanderpredigers Followill und deren Cousin gründeten 2000 in Tennessee die Band Kings Of Leon und präsentierten 2002 ihr ersten Album "Youth And Young Manhood" mit einer furiosen Mixtur aus Southern Rock, Country und Blues. Die amerikanische Musikpresse frohlockte, doch die Scheibe platzierte sich lediglich auf Position 113 der US-Charts. Dafür fand man in England derart großen Gefallen an den Klängen des Quartett, dass "Youth And Young Manhood" dort bis auf den dritten Platz der Hitlisten kletterte. Der deutsche Rolling Stone dazu: "Diese Platte ist des Teufels liebster Trick: Sie wird Sie verfolgen, so lange Sie auf Gottes Erdboden wandeln. Oder Ihnen wenigstens in den Arsch treten. Das ist ein Versprechen."


"Das Quartett aus Tennessee geht herrlich raubeinig zu Werke, verbindet Punk-Attitüde mit erdigem Liedgut, als hätten die Violent Femmes gemeinsam mit den Flamin' Groovies und Creedence Clearwater Revival ein Konzeptalbum eingespielt. Die Kings Of Leon haben Substanz, können Songs schreiben. Vergessen wir also die angeblichen, gut gestylten Rock- Retter mit einem zeitgeistigen "The" vor dem Namen. Die Kings Of Leon sind viel, viel besser."

U. Schleifenbaum - Stereo 9/03

Youth & Young Manhood is the debut album from American rock band Kings of Leon, released in August 2003. The title was taken from a drawing of the family tree of Moses, found on the inside of one of their Pentecostal preaching father's Bibles. Each branch contained a line that the band was quoted as saying could easily have passed for an album title. Youth and Young Manhood, however, seemed fitting and was quickly agreed upon by all members.

The album was recorded between Sound City Studios in Van Nuys, Shangri-La Studios in Malibu and Ocean Way Nashville. "Molly's Chambers," "Wasted Time" and "California Waiting" were all released as singles. "Spiral Staircase" featured on the PS3 game MotorStorm. "Red Morning Light" was also featured on a Ford Focus commercial, and as the opening song in FIFA 2004 by EA Sports. "Holy Roller Novocaine" was featured in the movie Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby as well as on the soundtrack.

Critical reception was generally favorable, as the album received a score of 79 from Metacritic. Many appreciated the band's punk and garage rock-influenced revival of the southern rock genre, with NME hailing the album among the "best debuts of the past 10 years." AllMusic claimed the album wasn't "sonically adventurous" but that "some greasy licks sure sound good." The Village Voice called the album "2003's finest rock debut," saying the band had built off of its first EP. Rolling Stone declared that the band knew "when to lay back and let things simmer" as well as "when to jump up and testify with tambourines banging" in a favorable review. Rolling Stone critics named it the 10th-best album of 2003 and NME named it the seventh best.

The album peaked at number 3 in the United Kingdom, but fared worse in the band's homeland, peaking outside the top hundred. The band's popularity exploded in Australia during the weeks of the 22nd and 29 September 2008, when all four of the band's studio albums reached the top 50.Youth and Young Manhood making its first top 50 chart appearance since its release in 2003, peaking at number 46. The album sold more than 940,000 copies worldwide, and was ranked at #80 in Rolling Stone's Top 100 Albums of the Decade.


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