Kings of Leon vs Dr Dog

The first installment of Soundtracks for Situations: Kings of Leon’s Mechanical Bull vs. Dr. Dog’s B Room

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listening-musicI’ve spent the majority of this week listening to new albums by two of my favorite bands. There’s the new Kings of Leon album, Mechanical Bull and there’s the new Dr. Dog album, B Room. Both are fantastic and both are worthy additions to each band’s wildly enjoyable category.

So, good work by them.

While listening to these albums, and I’ve literally just alternated between the two, with brief intermissions consisting of Metallica, Jack Johnson and Jamiroquai, I’ve found myself trying to discern somehow how one might be better than the other. One minute I’m in Mechanical Bull’s corner and the next, I’m on board with B Room. It goes back and forth faster than my level of anticipation for the new season of Homeland.

So, sub par work by me.

Music is defined by situations for me and I find that everything I listen to can largely be linked to at least one corresponding situation. Well, unless it’s Kanye West. Yeezus is an island onto itself. So instead of debating with myself about which album is better- Mechanical Bull or B Room, I thought I would run through some situations, determining which one would be right for each one. A point would then be assigned for each selection. The album with the most points wins.

Giddy Up America’s Soundtracks for Situations: Volume One

Kings of Leon’s Mechanical Bull vs. Dr. Dog’s B Room

Situation 1: Driving down an empty highway in a F250 on an early Saturday morning

Kings of Leon have the advantage here because 97% of all of their music is tailor made for some good ol’ American truck driving. Mechanical Bull is no exception. The band has described the album as their “return to their roots” album. Onstage meltdowns, rumors of break-ups and lazy sounding albums will do that to a band. Bull sounds infinitely more fresher and far more alive than 2010’s Come Around Sundown, which despite featuring a couple good songs, comes off as the product of a burnt out band going through the motions. Mechanical Bull has the band spitting hot fire once again and it’s refreshing.

Winner: Mechanical Bull

Situation 2: Driving down an empty highway late at night

The Kings could have this one as well, but late night driving is a much different beast than early morning driving or really driving during anytime of the day. Late night driving is an exercise in determination and blissful obedience. The key to late night driving is stability- you can’t get too up and you can’t get too up. B Room is a perfectly subdued album that never finds the band over-reaching or playing outside of themselves. It’s a confident album by a band in perfect for harmony with each other.

Winner: B Room

Situation 3: Drinking on a buddy’s back porch

You drink beer on a buddy’s porch and Kings of Leon play beer-drinking music. Our dear friends Dr. Dog do not. Mechanical Bull is an upbeat, good-time havin’ album. There’s incoherent sing-a-longs and plenty of songs to bounce around to with arms drunkenly slung over your buddy’s shoulder. Mechanical Bull is the soundtrack of a good time.

Advantage: Mechanical Bull

Situation 4: Background music while watching football on Sunday

Yup, Kings get this one. Both albums are good background music as both have a dominant sound to them that is never too jarring or obtrusive, but Dr. Dog’s slips a little close to being ignored. Mechanical Bull can drift in and out, but is rescued by some fantastic big rock ‘n roll choruses.

Advantage: Mechanical Bull

Situation 5: Walking through a city with headphones on

There isn’t much mystery to Mechanical Bull. It’s all out there. B Room is an album with more layers to it. Bull is True Blood, B Room is Game of Thrones. An album as interesting as B Room is perfect for headphones because the headphones brings you closer to the music, and as a result, brings those layers to life.

Advantage: B Room

Situation 6: Lounging on the beach drinking a summer beer out of a red solo cup

Mmmmm…summer beer. I miss you already. Sand between your toes, big ol’ sun overhead and discreetly pouring beers into a solo cup is straight up living. Mechanical Bull is an album comprised of soundtracks for straight up living, but more importantly, it’s swaying music. Sway your head, sway your shoulders, sway your entire upper body. Swaying is the way those who are properly lounged in comfortable chairs express themselves. Put on Mechanical Bull and that’s what you do- sway.

Advantage: Mechanical Bull

Situation 7: Cooking dinner with your significant other

You don’t need background music, but you need music that could be background music in case deep conversations and/or explanations of directions happen. Cooking music should be upbeat and fun, especially if you’re cooking with your significant other. A bonus is a slower song; a song you could maybe slow dance to while waiting for water to boil. Mechanical Bull features “Beautiful War,” which would be perfect for some casual slow-dancing, where as you could really chop up some vegetables with a bounce in your step while listening to “Family Tree.”

Advantage: Mechanical Bull

Situation 8: Updating your fantasy football roster because of a rash of injuries

You’re not in an especially good mood if you’re doing this and you need to concentrate. For music, you need something light to keep your spirits up, but also something that is not particularly over-bearing because money is involved, man. You need to scour that waiver wire. You need to see if there’s any trades out there. You need “Long Way Down,” a great little tune on B Room to keep you sane.

Advantage: B Room

Situation 9: Discussing Breaking Bad with a friend over coffee

Ideally no music would be playing because this would no doubt be an effin’ intense conversation. But if music were playing, B Room would be it.

Advantage: B Room

Scenario 10: Enjoying some fish tacos

Fish tacos are the stuff dreams are made of, especially if said fish tacos include mango salsa. I enjoy fish tacos. I really do. So if I’m eating fish tacos, I want music playing that I can bob my head too while eating them because dang on, man, life is effin’ good. The second song on Mechanical Bull, “Rock City” is the perfect music for eating some fish tacos. Perfect. Another tune, “Supersoaker,” is like mango salsa- a wonderful bonus.

Advantage: Mechanical Bill

Final Scores:
Mechanical Bull: 6
B Room: 4

Winner: Mechanical Bull

  1. […] Johnson “Anyway the Wind Blows” JJ Cale & Eric Clapton “Family Tree” Kings of Leon “The World (is Going Up in Flames)” Charles Bradley & the Menahan Street Band […]

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  2. […] Soaker” Kings of Leon Hey, the boys are back! Some time off and less booze were apparently just what the Kings of Leon needed to get back to […]

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  3. […] band has released three albums since Fate, the most recent being B Room, which came out in late 2013. Every album is worth listening to, but here is a playlist of Giddy Up […]

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