What’s in My Ears Volume 2: Mumford & Sons

I like listening to the radio.  I like listening to random stations just to see what is going to play next.  I like listening to new songs from new artists and I like listening to new songs from well-known artists.  I like listening to genres that I don’t really listen to otherwise.  Example: I like Rihanna.  I don’t own any of her albums and probably never will.

However, as much as I like listening to the radio, I have to remind myself to listen to it.  Especially when I am so deeply embedded in other music.  Mostly music that you can’t hear on the regular radio.  I will go months without turning the radio on because I am enamored with whatever albums are in my cd changer in my car and, inevitably, on my iTunes at home.

Of the musicians in next few What’s in My Ears posts that I’ll be writing, Mumford & Sons is probably the most widely recognized.  You actually hear their music on mainstream radio, and it’s been there for a couple of years now.  I was really excited to see that they are nominated for SIX Grammy’s this year… pretty awesome.

A little about Mumford… they are a British band comprised of four guys, one being Marcus Mumford.  They formed in 2007 and put out an EP called Love Your Ground in 2008.  Sigh No More, their first major album, was released in late 2009, though it didn’t really gain popularity (at least in the US) until the next year.  I find this kind of interesting… songs off of Sigh No More were nominated for Grammy’s in both 2011 and 2012, which to me shows that it took some time for people to really get into them.  I think that happens with a style of music that isn’t necessarily quite popular yet.  They have been dubbed “Americana,” which is a really broad term, but that is definitely the style of music that is popular right now, and rightly so.  Why?  Because it makes you want to tap your feet, pick up a guitar and sing along.  It is nostalgic and simple, with no electronic influence and classic instruments like acoustic guitar, stand up bass and banjo.  Also, amazing lyrics!

I remember hearing “Little Lion Man” (the first single) a few times on the radio in early 2010, but it wasn’t until I heard “The Cave” that I really started to dig Mumford.  Hubby gave me the album for Mother’s Day in 2010 (I was 8 months pregnant) and it didn’t leave the #2 slot in the cd changer in my car until this October, when it was replaced with the new Mumford album.  That’s over 2 years, folks.  And I probably listened to it on average once a week.  “The Cave” remains my favorite song.  Makes me want to get up and dance every. single. time.

Babel was released in late September of this year.  I bought it the day it came out without listening to a single track… well, save “I Will Wait,” which has been playing on Pandora for a couple of months now.  To be really honest, I wasn’t that excited about this album the first couple of times that I listened to it.  It sounded so much like Sigh No More, and that disappointed me a little bit.  I love when a band puts out a new album with a slightly different twist on their own sound and style.  Coldplay is a master at this.  You always know it’s them, but they are constantly surprising you.  That being said, the more I listened to Babel, the more I liked it.  And now, just as with Sigh No More, I love the album.  I get stuck listening to a couple of the songs on repeat for a day or two, and I still feel like I can’t quite get enough.

I think what finally reached out and hooked me about this album was the lyrics.  You see, when I first immerse myself in an album, I listen through the whole thing a couple of times and really focus on the music.  And then, I start to listen to the words.  So, while the style of this album may replicate the last, the meanings of the songs do not.  I’m not an expert song meaning decipherer (I know that isn’t a word, but thanks anyways, spell check), but to me there is a lot going with faith in Babel.  There are a million ways to interpret what’s going on in each song (maybe why it’s called Babel??), and some are more ambiguous than others, all of which I think is pretty darn cool.

My favorite song?  “Below My Feet.”  A prayer for the chance to live this life to it’s fullest if I’ve ever heard one.  And, the last chorus makes me pound my fists and stomp my feet and smile.  People in cars next to me must think I look ridiculous.  I could care less.

One last thing… Mumford & Sons was nominated for 6 Grammy’s this year… one being album of the year for Babel and the other being for best Americana album.  I think it is awesome and amazing that a genre that sounds kind of old school and (sometimes) folky has become so popular, and that it is being recognized.  I actually think that the Grammy’s do a good job of choosing albums that are full of truly good music instead of those that are just popular.  Ok, enough being all Last DJ on you.

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