A lot of people were very anxious about the new Mumford & Sons album. Everyone was used to every song being able to be summed up by one gif. It’s a formula. It works. The singles had a more mainstream rock feel. On the one hand, I never want to discourage a band or criticize them for trying a new style based on how they’re feeling. They’re artists. They get carried away. On the other hand, that doesn’t mean I have to like what they come up with, but it should be judged on its own.
But with that said, I was still really relieved to hear the full album. The amplified, more mainstream sound hasn’t replaced their thoughtful lyrics and, no, not every song sounds like “The Wolf”. But most importantly: lyrics. I can still happily count Mumford & Sons among the most inspiring-for-writers bands.
- Tompkins Square Park: The first few songs are the new musical style, which are hit or miss, but there’s always a good heart to them–“I only ever told you one lie / When it could have been a thousand,” as any betrayal of trust is too much.
- Believe: I really don’t know why they started with the singles that they started with. “Believe” is a find song, but I think it’s one of the weaker ones on the album.
- The Wolf: A very heavy song, and I pointed out the single a couple of weeks ago. I’m always a fan of animal metaphor, but.
- Wilder Mind: I can’t help but feel like this song is self-justification…it’s got a real Simon & Garfunkel or something to it, but it’s also more in an average song level.
- Just Smoke: This has some swing to it, and I find it the weakest song on the album. Okay, so far I have not been the most positive on the album. But it gets better from here, and these songs have been fine.
- Monster: I love the tempo here. The instruments are downplayed because they remember here that their voices are instruments and really my favorite part.
- Snake Eyes: I feel like Mumford & Sons are at their best when they’re jaded about love, but that probably says more about me and my psychology than their music. Anyway, the album has hit a groove of improving songs.
- Broad-Shouldered Beasts: this song really reminds me of…”Ghosts that I Knew” (? I think), and I think 8 & 9 really are the peak of the album.
- Cold Arms*: I think this is my favorite song on the album. I really like their first album best, and I feel like this song fits with “White Blank Page” and “I Gave You All.” Mumford’s voice is at the best here, too.
- Ditmas: This song follows the new style, and I enjoy the energy.
- Only Love: The last two songs are pleasant, but I think you can feel the energy lessening. I think the songs would be better in a different order, because I really like this (until whatever happens at 2:56), but I don’t know how it fits to the songs around it.
- Hot Gates: I have similar comments to #11. It’s a beautiful song (even if I want to pretend it’s about Thermopylae), but this album needs more shape. Perhaps it’s simply a sign of the time of mp3 single downloads.
Despite my words, I like the overall album, and it’s good to listen to today while I’ve been working. But I think there are only a few I would pull aside for particular praise.