As a consumer of mainly hip-hop music, there were a ton of albums that I was excitedly awaiting over the summer of 2012.
From Kanye West and Co. releasing “Cruel Summer” to Lupe Fiasco dropping “Food & Liquor 2,” I was on the edge of my seat for these albums to release.
Then I was watching “Saturday Night Live” a few weekends ago and saw Mumford & Sons performing a new song that I’d never heard before. After a few minutes of research, I found that Mumford & Sons had a new single called “I Will Wait” and a new album titled, “Babel.”
Even though I mainly listen to rap music, I have favorite bands from all genres and after hearing Mumford & Sons’ debut album, “Sigh No More” in 2010, I had found a favorite band in the folk music genre (not that they had much competition).
After falling in love with the band and their unique style on “Sigh No More,” I had to go grab a copy of “Babel” and see how it stacked up.
After several listens, I can’t say that it’s better or worse than “Sigh No More,” but it’s definitely worth a listen.
The intro song which happens to have the same name as the album’s title, “Babel,” starts off with a slow rhythmic intro for a few counts and then takes off with the rough vocals of lead singer Marcus Mumford.
From the intro song on, there is a mix of a melodic sound that makes you feel like you’re kicking back and drinking in an Irish pub to an in-your-face roar that sounds as if you’re preparing for a war.
While the intro hits with a sonic roar, the second track “Whispers in the Dark” lands somewhere in the middle of roar and melody and adds a fresh twist to the bands typical style with a little electric guitar ambience.
Next is the lead single, “I Will Wait.” The immediate strum of strings hypnotizes the listener and once the chorus hits, you’ll be singing, “I will wait, I will wait for you,” for hours. The catchiness of the song makes it an obvious choice for a single, and I’m sure it will have the staying power on the charts that “Little Lion Man” did two years ago.
The tone gets more somber after “I Will Wait” with “Holland Road,” a song about self-confidence in the face of doubt, as it goes, “you cut me down, but I still believe.”
The belief in oneself is one of the main messages displayed in “Babel,” along with some songs about love being gained and love being lost.
As the next tune after “Holland Road” kicks on, I start to feel that Mumford is setting me up for another sad song, but just as the end of “Holland Road” did, “Ghosts That We Knew” starts out very somber and then kicks up and gets you tapping to the tune midway through.
I don’t see this as a negative that many of the songs seem to have a similar pattern of slow starts and up-beat melody by the end.
However, it doesn’t help each song stand out as its own.
The next two songs feel like they were put back-to-back to tell a story as “Lover of the Light” stands out as a positive ballad of joy and love, and “Lovers’ Eye” serves as the flip side where it touches on a dark view of love.
The next three songs, being “Reminder,” “Hopeless Wanderer” and “Broken Crown” all have deeper and harder sounds. “Reminder” is a shorter song that has a very basic sound and touches on fading love, while “Hopeless Wanderer” and “Broken Crown” are both very dark sounding self-reflective tunes that leave you feeling optimistic about things at the end.
The second to last track, “Below My Feet,” has more hints of electric guitar and continues the overall trend of self-reflection and belief in oneself. The overall strong melody at the end of the song makes you wish it was the final track of the album.
“Not With Haste” serves as the final track and feels like a note to the audience that Mumford & Sons is going to keep making their music the way they want to and you can either enjoy or not.
After listening to this sophomore performance from Mumford & Sons, I’m definitely glad they’re going to continue making music their way because I’ll keep listening.