Artist: Mumford and Sons
Label: Island / Glassnote
If you look at my history of reviews, I listen to a lot of punk and hardcore music. They are my favorite genres, and they always will be. However one of the things that comes with liking that type of music is that people generally think that you only listen to that style of music. While the majority of the time this is very true, there are a lot of other genres that I may not be as knowledgeable about, but affect me in very powerful ways. Mumford and Sons’ album Sigh No More blew me away the first time that I heard it. It was so big, it was so soothing, and I couldn’t get over the way it made me smile while giving me the chills at the same time. I was a little nervous when I was given Babel, because frankly I didn’t think anything could compare to their debut full length. Babel is the perfect follow-up to Sigh No More, and solidifies me as a fan without any doubts in my mind.
The aspect I love the most about Babel is the fact that it works so well as an album. For whatever reason, bands have been putting out albums that consist of only ten songs, and even in that short number of tracks all of the songs don’t necessarily work. Mumford and Sons put together twelve tracks (fifteen if you’re including the bonus tracks) that are all fantastic by themselves, but more beautiful once put together. Babel takes you on an emotional journey of lost love, found love, and finding who you are. It’s honestly one of those records that you truly can get engrossed in. Songs like “I Will Wait” and “Ghosts That We Knew” are both equally gripping despite their tonal differences, and I think that’s one of the best parts about Babel, and Mumford and Sons, in general. The group knows how to draw you in when they are at their quietest, and at their loudest, and it’s that dynamic that keeps you interested throughout the entirety of the record.
Lyrically, Mumford create yet another record that is both relatable and thought provoking. Personally, the song “Hopeless Wanderer” is easily my favorite song on the record. I love the tempo changes, energy, and fire that the band has while providing some lyrics that hit really close to home. There are the weaker spots including the song “Lovers of the Light,” however in comparison to other efforts by other bands, this song is still good. The way the lyrics tell a story without giving you the message directly is something that I can really appreciate. While I generally err on the side of liking bluntness within lyrics (it’s the punk in me), it’s the metaphors and stories that make me love Babel even more.
Babel is one of those records that will continually get put on late at night and when I’m traveling home after staying up too late at my girlfriend’s place. It’s warm and just feels right, like hot apple cider on a cold October day. Some will complain that this record is Sigh No More Pt. 2, and that may be somewhat accurate. However, Mumford and Sons realize they shouldn’t fix something that isn’t broken, and I thank them for that. All too often bands mistake expanding their sound as changing their sound, and I think that’s harmful to their longevity. Mumford and Sons take all the right steps in the right direction and created an album that will be on heavy rotation this Fall season.
LISTEN TO: “Hopeless Wanderer,” “Lover’s Eyes,” “Broken Crown,” “Ghosts That We Knew”
Written By: Tyler Osborne