NEW MUSIC TUESDAY!!!
Spotify Listen Link: Mumford & Sons – Babel
I think it's safe to say that this was one of the most anticipated sophomore albums in recent years. I know I was excited, and clear the industry knew what we were getting - I'm just excited to finally have an hour to hear it all!
- WIN: Album of the Year
- Nomination: Best Rock Performance for "I Will Wait"
- Nomination: Best Rock Song for "I Will Wait"
- Nomination: Best Americana Album
- Nomination: Producer of the Year, Non-Classical - Markus Dravs
"Babel," the title track, kicks things off in a very expected way - entertaining, hard-hitting strings, with slow emotional and thoughtful moments tucked within. Though I have to say, there's something much more emotional and tense in this voice as it goes this time around.
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This lightly sways in to "Whispers In the Dark." Almost like a ghost sound in the background instrumentals for this one. I'm trying to be careful to not assume this sound is just as the previous album, though this band for sure has a very distinct sound. "I lost my head but found my heart." Beautifully classic sentiment.
"I Will Wait" - ah, yes, the single. It's been a great driving song when I manage to stumble upon it on a dark night on the road. The rhythm, naturally, provides the best elements of that. The quiet sentiments in the main chorus are gorgeous, but in sound and in sweet talk. As it builds, I… I don't know how to describe. Ever had your heart fill with love and desire to scream for all the ridiculous reasons music may make it do that?
I need to see this band live. And I maybe need to do that at Red Rocks.
And then we slow things down with "Holland Road." Again, not to compare, but remember the slower moments on the first album? Like there was always some intensity underneath of them? That's what's happening here, but with better production and a stronger instrumental base to the whole thing. I think the lyrics are what are taking the cake on this particular album. You're forced to listen, which is incredible in today's music. I'll hand it to the instrumental arrangement on this one - it does actually provide some difference.
"Ghosts That We Knew" is just sort of ironic considering who I just texted 'Happy Birthday' to (I'll take this moment to remind you this is still a blog and I still get to write what I want). The song's so beautiful and just heartbreaking enough, in both a good and bad way, that I am dropping everything, including my head to the desk, to pay attention and breath my way through. This would be able the point in time my friend Dave would've yelled at me for being too cryptic with my posts on the Internet.
Here's a performance from Letterman of the quiet song:
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Something very pop is happening with "Lover of the Light," and it's leaving me feeling conflicted. This is still M&S, but just so polished and pretty through the speakers that I have a hard time being okay with how much I like it. Damn musical inner conflicts! Also, who gets away with using 'sanguine' in a song lyric??
"Lovers' Eyes" comes in quietly, just sneaking into our senses. Honestly, while I normally try to type my thoughts as a song goes, this was one I really just kicked back and enjoyed. There's every bit of M&S element you could want in one of their tracks strewn throughout this one. It's just a great job done by them overall.
We go from two five minute plus songs to a two minute quiet one called "Reminder." Not much to say here, just that it was kept incredibly simple and nice.
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"Hopeless Wanderer" reminds me that this is a band that actually is growing in their sound over time. I love the dynamics used, moving up and down as needed with the points being made. Oh, and the instrumentation? I swear, second-to-none with this band. They know how to keep it moving so well and pull people in like a good film with how they move along those strings. Your heart beats with the rhythm of the songs.
In a somewhat more wonderous way, we get "Broken Crown." Forgive me if I'm wrong, but there seems to be come influence of their work in India on this one, which brings a whole different feel to the music. The sting work on this is varied from the other songs in that I think there are more exotic elements being used in conventional folk ways like never before. The breakdown later in the song, before the horns come in with all of their power, is so damn emotional you can get chills from hearing it just once (I certainly did). When you come down from it to the quiet, a cappella words of the end, your heart is just trying to catch up to what you just heard, and get stead again after ripping apart and being thrown up and down. Needless to say, this is an effective song.
"Below My Feet" kind of gives you a moment to breathe again; to regain composure. There's a quiet humbleness in this song that builds in confidence. This is a hidden one I think should go on graduation CDs and noted as a good life song. The whole thing's about remembering who you are in the world and what you are here for. There are mottos built in and they're brilliant! And have we mentioned the harmonies on this enough yet? No, I believe we need to note them again, because in the highest tension points of this song, the harmonies carry the intensity just as much as the drumming does. Incredible.
| |Oh, hi JGL.
"Not With Haste" is the final song in this collection, and something about it just makes it a good ending song. There's a finality in the chords used, and the mood is so confidently over. It's everything, of course, you could want in a M&S song, without changing too much at all for the sake of a new album's close.
Added to My Playlist:
- "Whispers In The Dark"
- "I Will Wait"
- "Holland Road"
- "Ghosts That We Knew"
- "Lover of the Light"
- "Lovers' Eyes"
- "Hopeless Wanderer"
- "Broken Crown"
- "Below My Feet"
And so another wonderful M&S album is done and over with. Man, these guys get better and better and I can't believe it. To the friend that will never read this that got me in to this band: as always, thank you.
Working on at least getting through the major nominees before Sunday. ^_^This album came out in 2010, but "The Cave" still garnered 4 nominations this year:
Has anyone pointed out that this awesome piece of art was the DEBUT ALBUM from this band? There was an EP in the UK beforehand, but still. Wow. I have to say, for the work we're about to experience, that is pretty damn impressive. Plus, the title is taken from Much Ado About Nothing. Mhmm. Clever fellas here.They were nominated, but didn't win, Best New Artist and Best Rock Song (for "Little Lion Man") at last years' awards. I sincerely hope this year they are treated better. This album's pretty deserving of it.The title track, "Sigh no More" starts it all off. I put on the album today while packing up my room, and had to keep stopping to add songs to my playlist so I didn't miss the ones I liked. It was tough, because I got so engrossed in the music and naturally just kept on going. Not that it's necessarily happy music - this first track might be enough for some people to turn the CD off altogether. However, if you can stick out the harmonies at the beginning and get to the meat of the song, there's brilliance. "Love that will not betray you, dismay or enslave you - it will set you free." Hold onto that."The Cave" is our Grammy single this year, and here's the video:
- Record of the Year
- Song of the Year
- Best Rock Performance
- Best Rock Song
And they have senses of humor, ladies and gents!! Well, you know what I mean. The lyrics are tough and kind of... brutally honest. The music's fantastic and just that quick strumming in the background keeps the whole thing moving so well. I think that's always been my favorite part of the song, aside from the lyrics on change and hope for better. I'm constantly keeping a beat physically somehow with this song.
"Winter Winds" gives us yet another video. Enjoy!
I immediately love this song as it begins. The horns, the beat, everything from the first note is awesome. As for the video... not sure what I was expecting, but this wasn't it. But I like it. I like that maybe these guys are just as quirky as their music, without overdoing it. It's not weird, just different, and enjoyable. And I think they really love what they're doing, which makes it all the better for us.
And now for the only single I'm not a huge fan of, "Roll Away Your Stone."
I don't know what it is, but I don't get as much out of this song as the others. It's a little more bland, which isn't a bad thing, it's just a downer after the others. Even the up moments in the song don't hit as well. I also think it was just a single to put a single out; I don't think this was motivated in any inner thought way, just that the sound was what the public regarded as familiar and buyable.
To give a little taste of something different, here's a Bookshop session for "White Blank page."
So, some instructions. If you haven't already, go to NPR music and do a search for these guys. Now, listen to absolutely anything you can find - live performances, office sessions, etc. That's initially how I learned about their music, and fell in love with the sound. They were made for this arena and sound. The heart and soul of everything they do shines through in moments like this. The song is so passionate without tearing you apart, yet your heart breaks at the story there, for good or bad.
"I Gave You All" is a little more on the mellow side. It's very sad, like a lot of what's being said here, but he's understanding in a way you don't hear from a guy very often. It's a piece of rage and regret as well, with only a slight intense moment of build up in power.
One that you may be very familiar with, here's the video for "Little Lion Man."
I wanted to see a concept video so badly for this, but yet I love the simplicity that wound up being maintained. It's almost a more powerful message to whoever he's trying to talk to through the lyrics. There aren't any distractions, and the stage set itself is exactly how I would ideally love to see these guys. I think the appeal of this song for so many is the main melody that keeps it going. It's almost a little empowering."Timshel" is incredibly calming. The harmonies that I've failed to go nuts about so far are gorgeous. They have been, really, for the past tracks as well. They're just very prominent in this one given the background being so slight. It's a great group together-ness song in an interesting way. I'm never 100% sure of what they're getting at in each number, but I think that's what makes it so likable. For songs so incredibly full of lyrical work, there's much more to get from them for each person.One of the best non-singles on here is "Thistle & Weeds." It's haunting, which I know I use as a description maybe a little to often, but it's the only way I can properly describe that sound. The lyrics drone on in this pulling way that grips you into paying attention and feeling. It builds in power and poignancy to that climatic moment. I just love everything about this through the whole song."Awake My Soul" has such a cute little up and down beat and melody. I do like it a lot. It's like skipping across the fields of Britain. Or Ireland? I don't know. It's fun and the only song I'd describe as cute on the album. It's fitting for the album as a whole, promise, it's just got this pub feel to it, while maintaining the loved M&S sound we need to be okay with it all. The pick up towards the end is gentle enough to fit, but fun enough to jam.Maybe my least favorite song on the album, and that's saying something for one of the few CDs I'm pretty sure I could listen straight through to without skipping, is "Dust Bowl Dance." I do like the dark tone to it that opposes the string plucks that yearn of positivity. Like I said, it's hard for me to actually call it a least favorite. It's still really good. It's still got intense lyrics that you wouldn't expect, but remain gripping."After the Storm" is a wonderful ending number. It's got an end-of-the-night tone, and a sound of wrapping things up after every bit of pain and joy we've been through along the album's journey. The lyrics are content and solemn and finishing it all.
Added to My Playlist:
FULL SPOTIFY ALBUM LISTEN LINK
Like I think I mentioned earlier, this was one of my favorite personal new discoveries of 2010. What's cool to me is that every time I listen to this album, or even with some of the songs, I hear something new and catching. Not many albums, let alone songs, can do that. The style is innovative and clever, with music that has hit the pop scene in a totally different way. This band actually gave me a bit of hope for mainstream music listeners' tastes.