Melanie on Music: Mumford & Sons brings poetic lyrics and rock elements to folk style
I first found out about Mumford & Sons several years ago when I heard their songs “Babel” and “I Will Wait.” I remember buying these songs on iTunes the first chance I got and listening to them on repeat for close to an hour while I read. When I realized just how long I’d been listening, I also realized I wasn’t even slightly tired of them.
It didn’t take long after that for me to buy the rest of their music. I was surprised to find that, as good as those first two songs had been, their other songs were just as good, if not better. All of them had the distinctive Mumford & Sons sound, which is a mix of folk, rock and bluegrass.
Mumford & Sons is an English band made up of Marcus Mumford (on lead vocals, guitar, drums and mandolin), Ben Lovett (on keyboards, accordion, drums and electric guitar), Winston Marshall (on banjo, dobro and electric guitar) and Ted Dwane (on double bass, bass guitar, drums and guitar). All three of Mumford’s bandmates also do backing vocals.
One of the main things that sets Mumford & Sons apart from other bands is their original and distinctive sound. They combine alternative rock with folk instruments like the banjo, mandolin and upright bass, making for a surprisingly intense and unique style.
Mumford’s voice also adds to the folk sound throughout their songs. It’s extremely raspy, which creates the perfect tone for their heartfelt and passionate lyrics.
These lyrics are some of the most unique I’ve ever come across. I’ll admit, sometimes they’re so poetic and intricate that the meaning goes right over my head, but even then, the feeling behind them is clear. There’s a frequent theme of spirituality — though not necessarily the religious sort — permeating their music and creating an uplifting sensation.
Though many of their songs are ballads, many are also very intense. “Little Lion Man,” arguably their most popular song, is one of their most fierce pieces. From the start, it has an almost aggressive sound, with a high speed instrumental accompaniment to back it up.
And some songs start as ballads and grow in intensity. Mumford definitely has a talent for being able to convey a wide range of emotions through his voice, sometimes in a span of four minutes. “Sigh No More” is a perfect example of this. It starts out as a quiet, thoughtful ballad, but about halfway in, it gets more intense. By the end, it’s fast-paced and energetic.
While there’s many to chose from, “White Blank Page” is easily my favorite song. Like “Sigh No More,” it starts off as a mournful ballad, and picks up in intensity partway through. One of the reasons I love it so much is the lyrics. All of their songs tell a story, but this one is especially clear. “White Blank Page” perfectly conveys the emotions that would come with unrequited love, and the lyrics, “So tell me now, where was my fault / In loving you with my whole heart,” are especially evocative.
Mumford & Sons have released two studio albums, “Sigh No More,” and “Babel.” “Sigh No More” is available for $9.99 on iTunes. And both “Babel” and its deluxe edition are available for $11.99 and $14.99 on iTunes.
Band: Mumford & Sons
Members: Marcus Mumford, Ben Lovett, Winston Marshall, Ted Dwane
McGinniss is a senior at Red River High School. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.