If you’ve been paying attention, you know that my New Year’s resolution was to listen to more music and less podcasts. So far, I have been holding myself to the resolution. It’s actually been a cool way to listen to things that I wouldn’t if I wasn’t forcing myself to branch out. Some things haven’t worked as well as I wanted, but others have really taken off for me.
Anyway, since I am listening to more music, I figured it wouldn’t hurt to drop a review or two regarding the stuff that I’ve been piping into my ears. I’m not going to review every album, but I think when something stands out it makes sense to spotlight it.
I chose to spend some time on Mumford and Sons Wilder Mind, because I think the album is significant in a number of ways. But I’ll get to that in a moment.
But first! Context.
Mumford and Sons represents a moment for me that I imagine many people find with certain bands. I came to Mumford and Sons in college and, considering the type of music I was into at the time, they changed everything. The Neo-Folk revival was suddenly bigger than anyone could have predicted. I liked indie rock music, but Mumford took everything to a whole new level. I liked the band and I listened to their first two albums, but then I fell out of touch with them. Maybe it was their ubiquity. Who knows?
Anyway, I think Mumford has done well with the weight that they carry. There are still bands that are premiering that are copying the overall sound and style of Mumford. That’s crazy. But the truth it that they started a type of revolution in indie-rock and indie-folk.
And then, they made some brave choices.
Wilder Mind is one of those choices. I imagine I’ll get flack for this, but I think Wilder Mind is just like the moment that Bob Dylan went electric. It’s unexpected, unwanted, and necessary for the band to continue to be relevant and innovative in a musical landscape that is/was saturated with Mumford knock-offs.
That’s not to say that I believe that this album is not without flaws. However, I do think it speak to the band’s bravery.
Now, I’m not a music critic and I can’t produce music so my assessment of the album is limited by my own taste. I like this album for a number of reasons and I dislike it for a number of reasons. For brevity, I’m going to make it easy. Here’s my point/counterpoint.
Why I like it: The album feels very coherent and, once you’ve played it a few times, you can really soak in the ambiance of the sound. It perfectly matches the album cover. It feels like darkness, outside of a city while street lights pass over the windshield of a car. The mood, lyrics, and music really align to bring together a complete package.
Why I dislike it: I feel like the album never takes to the time to adequately break from the sound to create individual tracks. What I mean is that I don’t feel like the tracks work as well on their own as they do in the overall package. For me, I don’t know how I would feel pulling one track out and putting it on a playlist. I don’t think it would work.
But who knows? I’m not critic. I’ve just been listening to some music.