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Album reviews: Kings of Leon, Elton John, Drake

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Updated: October 25, 2013 6:07AM

Kings of Leon, “Mechanical Bull”

The four Followill brothers of Kings of Leon successfully transitioned, over four albums, from grungy Southern rock revivalists to summer popmakers known for dating models and pitching soft drinks. This latest album is likely to please the band’s earliest fans, packed with blues sleaze (“Rock City”) and primal rock (“Don’t Matter”), both signatures of their debut album. Caleb Followill sounds better suited howling about the other side of life: “I was running through the desert/I was lookin’ for drugs,” he sings. Fresh ground comes with “Temple,” a chugging guitar melody as if from the Tom Petty workbook that tracks two lovers dodging the other with a promise that sounds short-lived: “I’ll take one in the temple for you.”

— Mark Guarino

Elton John, “The Diving Board”

Sir Elton and longtime collaborator Bernie Taupin combine for a piano-driven journey across blues, gospel, country, R&B and pop. A “return to their roots” of sorts, the tunes, while good, are a far cry from their timeless, classic predecessors. — Miriam Di Nunzio

Drake, “Nothing Was the Same”

Drake’s third album is introspective and every bit as sonically brave as Kanye West’s “Yeezus,” though not as abrasively bold. There are few hooks here, almost no choruses, not much to sing along to. “Nothing” is for dark rooms and headphones. —Chris Talbott, AP

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