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Kings of Leon’s Impressive ‘Beautiful War’ Video Is a Bull-Riding Cain and Abel Story

Kings of Leon, "Beautiful War," video, Garrett Hedlund

If Kings of Leon’s new album Mechanical Bull find the Tennessee rockers settling into focused professionalism, their recent promotional efforts have cannily shown a willingness to expand the group’s horizons. The gang from It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia did their strange, brilliant thing in an album promotional video, for example, and KoL pulled off the tough feat of covering Robyn’s untouchable “Dancing on My Own” in a way that only accentuated the song’s genre-crossing strengths. Now comes the video for arena-rock anthem “Beautiful War,” and it turns out to be a pretty gripping short film. Tron: Legacy actor Garrett Hedlund stars as a man who we know will end up riding a bull in a prison rodeo. How he gets there involves his female co-star riding the Western-themed bar amusement of the album title, which leads to a brotherly brawl and a tragedy as old Cain and Abel. The song itself rings out and roars like an Old Hickory Joshua Tree, while the cinematic clip certainly makes fighting look, well, not unattractive.