While being constantly surrounded with the deluge of Hollywood sequels, prequels, and remakes, it’s easy to forget that there’s still originality out there (take the highly bold The Artist, for instance).
The music scene is no different. As a person who grew up listening to 70’s and 80’s rock, I feel disheartened when all I can find on the radio is auto-tuned samplings and recyclings that pass off as music. Sometimes I say I’ve lost faith in the music of today, but I don’t really mean it. I say it in hopes that some new band or artist will blindside me with soulful passion and talent and renew my faith in today’s music scene.
Every so often, that’s exactly what happens. When my friend introduced me to the music of Sufjan Stevens several years ago, I was completely blown away. The idea that such offbeat, creative, and deeply personal music existed in today’s rap-and-techno saturated environment brought me great comfort. I hungrily devoured Sufjan’s beautifully enigmatic lyrics, his strange instrumental combinations (banjo, trumpet, oboe, all performed by him!), and his delightfully quirky subject matter (never before has Illinois’ state history been so enthralling).
Now, I’m happy to say, I have found a new band to provide me a breath of fresh air from the stale electronica inundating the airwaves. I’m a little late to the band wagon, but this is most certainly a case of better late than never. I’ll go ahead and say it: Mumford & Sons has stolen my heart.
The British folk rock group arrived in the U.S. in February of 2010, debuting their first album “Sigh No More.” Their success was immediate and their appeal was broad. This in itself is encouraging. It proves there is still an audience for this type of music.[youtube.com/watch?v=tL_Ye0h5xEI]
What I find so appealing about Mumford & Sons is, well… everything about them. For starters, the lyrics of their songs come across as sincerely impassioned and meaningful. For me, lyrics are what make or break a song. A beautifully orchestrated song, when paired with poetry-for-lyrics, transcends the title of mere “song” and becomes art. One of the band’s newest songs, called “Hopeless Wanderer,” includes this chilling verse which struck me like lightning does a tree: “I wrestle long with my youth/ We tried so hard to live in the truth/ But do not tell me all is fine/ When I lose my head, I lose my spine.”[youtube.com/watch?v=DaIZhKkgteA]
The instrumentation of Mumford & Sons is incredibly compelling as well. The band’s mix of acoustic guitar, banjo, and piano makes for a natural, organic feel. Lead singer Marcus Mumford’s unique voice is harsh and sometimes raspy, but it complements the raw emotion captured in the moving lyrics.
Every so often, you come across music that touches your soul and speaks to you across great distances you didn’t know existed. For me, this is such music.