Issuu on Google+

BURDENED BY FAME 4.25.11

Kings of Leon’s fifth album sings of a bygone rock era PAGE 2

INSIDE: Gap blue over new logo PAGE 4

‘Simpsons’ show gets marked

PAGE 5

Puppy Tweets teaches your dog Twitter PAGE 5


Fifth Kings of Leon album bemoans rock fame

“Come Around Sundown” album growly, monumentous music body,” or the band’s brash, BY CHRIS RICHARDS “Instead of new blazing trails sorta-ridiculous 2008 sinThe Washington Post gle “Sex on Fire.” But “Ra... the band seems to follow the dioactive” comes close. As Kings of Leon frontman Caever, the spotlight is on the leb Followill faces an impos- overtrodden path ...” sandpaper-voiced frontsible 21st-century task: How can he be a rock star when rock stars no longer play rock-and-roll? “Come Around Sundown,” the band’s fifth album, is thick with growly, momentous rock songs that arrive in an era dominated by magnificent pop stars (Lady Gaga), magniloquent rap stars (Lil Wayne) and mash-ups of the two (Kanye West). Growly, momentous rock songs? That’s the stuff of car commercials. Which isn’t to say that Followill and his kindred bandmates - brother Jared on bass, brother Nathan on drums and cousin Matthew Kings of Leon’s newest album “Come Around Sundown” Followill on guitar - haven’t represent the bygone era of rock. enjoyed a wildly successEarlier this year, the But on “Come Around ful ride. The band formed band’s career reached a high Sundown” the boys appear in Franklin, Tenn., in 1999 point when its 2008 sinto have grown wary of the after the brothers spent gle, “Use Somebody,” won uber-stardom that they’ve their youths zigzagging the a Grammy for record of the always courted. By turns southern United States with year, beating out a fearsome dignified and desperate, the their father, a Pentecostal pop foursome of Taylor album finds them swinging preacher. With a handy cre- Swift, the Black Eyed Peas, a double-edged sword, with ation myth firmly in place, Beyoncé and the lyrics that second-guess they openly pantomimed mighty Gaga. Meanwhile, fame and melodies that the taut garage rock of the “Only by the Night,” the alpractically beg for it. Strokes, deep-frying it in the bum that spawned it, had Nothing here eclipses the Dixie-hued harmonies that gone platinum. smoky pomp of “Use Somethey grew up with.

2 ▶ CN REAL LIFE

man. Vowels seem to swell deep in Caleb’s throat, but he squeezes them through clenched teeth, as if benchpressing cinder blocks in the vocal booth. “Just drink the water where you came from,” he groans, nostalgic for a life before celebrity and expectations. And while we drink that water, the band will have another round of Bono Kool-Aid. Along with Caleb’s sentimental yowl, the Kings of Leon consistently define a chorus with ricocheting guitar riffs and reliable eighth-note bass lines - all gleaned from the gospel according to U2. It cements the quartet as America’s answer to Coldplay. Ultimately, that’s what makes Kings of Leon so inconsequential. Instead of blazing new trails - something the band appears to have more than enough ambition to try - it seems happy to follow an overtrodden path to the summit of rock-and-roll’s Mount Olympus. ■

CN REAL LIFE ▶ 3


Singing the blues Gap changes new logo after customers’ outrage Customers are unhappy over the new Gap Inc. logo. The company returned to their normal logo after complaints. BY EMILY FREDRIX AP Marketing Writer NEW YORK (AP) — Gap is taking a lot of flak online for stealthily swapping out its decades-old white-onnavy blue logo. Fans are puzzled, even irritated, and an expert is calling the way Gap Inc. has handled the switch “pretty stupid.” But the iconic chain still plans to add the new logo ‚Äî a white background with black letters and a little blue box ‚Äî to its stores and advertising next month. A spokeswoman

4 ▶ CN REAL LIFE

“I don’t see any reason to change something that works. ‘New Coke’ anyone?” said Friday that Gap will unveil plans within weeks for customers to help with the new logo, which appeared on Gap’s website Monday. “We love our version, but we’d like to ... see other ideas,” the company was

telling fans by Wednesday on Facebook ‚Äî where it’s still using the old logo, the blue square with white capital letters. It’s not clear what kind of help Gap has in mind ‚Äî making changes to the new design, creating an entirely

new logo or contributing to other parts of Gap’s branding. The company hasn’t touched the looks of its other brands ‚Äî Old Navy, Banana Republic, Piperlime and Athleta. The new design was meant to show how the Gap

chain has evolved from its long-standing, even preppy image. It’s meant to complement Gap’s sleeker new designs, new fits for black pants and khakis and more modern feel, said spokeswoman Louise Callagy. “We want our customers to sit up and take notice of all of this work and view us differently,” she said. Well, they noticed. Critiques of the new logo were buzzing on Facebook, Twitter and tech blogs late this week. The new logo, which Callagy said the San Francisco-based company wanted to put out slowly and well before the holidays, retains hints of the old one. But the blue square has shrunk and wandered to an upper corner, and it’s dominated by black letters in Helvetica type. “I don’t see any reason to change something that works. ‘New Coke’ anyone?” said one Facebook user. ■

Popular TV show gets marked Puppy Tweets lets by graffiti artist Banksy you follow your pooch on Twitter BY FRAZIER MOORE AP Television Writer

NEW YORK (AP) — The always clever and often subversive opening sequence for “The Simpsons” took a darker-than-usual turn with Sunday’s episode, depicting the animation process for the Fox cartoon series as sweatshop drudgery performed by an exploited Asian underclass. Created by the street artist and activist Banksy, the sequence began with the sight of hometown Springfield covered with graffiti ‚Äî and tagged by Banksy himself. Then, when the Simpson family gathers on their living room couch, that image becomes a reference shot for legions

of workers in the grim industrial complex where they paint cartoon cells and churn out Simpsons merchandise (including Bart dolls stuffed with the fur of kittens tossed into a wood chipper, and DVDs whose center holes are punched by a forlorn-looking unicorn’s horn). The entire enterprise is housed in a drearylooking factory sprawl surrounded by barbed wire and identified by the looming 20th Century Fox logo and searchlights. Through its long history, “The Simpsons” has never hesitated to lampoon its network bosses and other Fox programming. ■

BY SUE MANNING Associated Press Writer LOS ANGELES (AP) — So your dog follows your every move around the house. Now, when you leave home, you can follow your dog. Puppy Tweets is an electronic dog tag with a sensor that you attach to your dog’s collar. It detects your pet’s movements and sounds and sends a variety of tweets to a Twitter page you set up for your dog on a computer or smart phone. You can invite all your friends to be followers, too. The new Mattel Inc. novelty is aimed at the pet-loving social network crowd, said spokeswoman Rachel Cooper. There are 500 tweets programmed into the software that comes with the .05-ounce devices, available in blue and pink. The frequency of messages is directly related to the activity level of your dog, she said. If a dog is very active, he could tweet: “Chasing everything that moves is definitely a full time job!” If he is sleeping, his inactivity might trigger the message: “Your comforter does just what its name says it does.”

CN REAL LIFE ▶ 5


Magazine Design Sample (Kings of Leon)