Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Mumford & Sons: How Do I Love Thee...

Let me count thy ways (seriously, I am going to do that right now).
Before I count these ways, let me start by saying that Mumford & Sons are my favorite band of the moment, and their music is so stunning. The lyrics, the banjo (yeah, I love the banjo), the voice...all of that together makes me melt.
So get yourself ready, because this post is a love fest.

Am I allowed to crush on Marcus Mumford, too?

1) The Literary Connections
Let me start off by informing you of my love of literature. I love literature. When other kids complain about reading Hamlet, or The Odyssey, I excitedly go and buy the book and pore over the pages and enjoy the literature. I just adore books, especially the classic ones. I am glad to say that Mumford & Sons love literature and philosophy as much as I do (I can only assume it's on the same level as me, but go with it). Tons of their songs relate to literature. Let me give you some examples!
  • Sigh No More - This one relates to Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing (which was my favorite Shakespeare play), and even borrows some lines from the play. "Serve God, love me and mend," as well as "One foot in sea and one on shore" are lines that are both in the Mum song and Shakespeare's play
  •  Roll Away Your Stone - This was influenced by Shakespeare's Macbeth. I haven't read this yet, so I can't vouch for that (but I trust this is true).
  • The Cave - Supposedly, this one has several references to The Odyssey, but I see more references to Plato's Allegory of the Cave. I'm in a philosophy class and we read the latter work, and I wrote an essay about how "The Cave" related to Plato's work (it was quite an excellent essay). If you read Plato's The Cave, you'll probably agree with me. Although I do see how it relates to The Odyssey, as well.
  • Dust Bowl Dance - As I've read on many online forums (that discuss the meanings of songs), this one relates to Steinbeck's Grapes of Wrath. Part of the novel is about this guy who loses his farmland, and needs to cling to some sense of hope. The Mumford song is also about that.
To me, the literary connections are so wonderful and add a new depth to the already emotional songs by Mumford & Sons. They are great!

2) The Lyrics
As I've mentioned in other posts concerning Mumford & Sons, the lyrics to their songs are outstanding. Marcus Mumford (the singer) writes the lyrics, and he performs them with his Sons. You can feel the emotion behind each line and know just how real it is. Amazing. I've already done my favorite lyrics from "Little Lion Man" and "The Cave," so now I'll add some more in (I only have 6 of their songs at the moment, but I'll try to throw in some from the songs I don't have).
  • White Blank Page - "You desired my attention, but denied my affections, my affections." (When you hear Marcus sing this line, your heart breaks right along with him. He has an anger and sadness in his voice, it's amazing.)
  • Winter Winds - "But if your strife strikes at your sleep, remember spring swaps snow for leaves. You'll be happy and wholesome again, when the city clears and the sun ascends." (Okay, so that's pretty much a whole stanza, but I love it. This song is one of my favorites at the moment, and every part of the song is amazing, but this gets me every time.)
  • After the Storm - "There will come a time you'll see, with no more tears. And love will not break your heart, but dismiss your fears." (I love the rest of the chorus too, but these two lines are stunning. And when you hear them sung, your heart will melt. This is my favorite song ever right now. I have truly never heard a more beautiful song. If you have, I challenge you to a song-off. Because this song is beautiful.)                                     
  • Dust Bowl Dance - "Seal my heart and break my pride, I've got nowhere to stand and now nowhere to hide." (When you hear him sing this, again, it's more impactful. This song is really intense, I love it.)
  • Roll Away Your Stone - "You have neither reason nor rhyme with which to take this soul that is so rightfully mine." (Boom. Emotion hits you. This song is all about a guy trying to fill the hole in his soul with other things, but he discovers he cannot. It's a great song.)
3) The Banjo
Never before in my life have I thought the banjo was a "cool" instrument. I've seen Steve Martin play it before (on SNL, and other such shows), and it sounds so hick-y. I could see Martha Sue playing it with her cousin/husband Tommy Jones (who uses an old bottle as an instrument) as they stand outside of their trailer. But now, thanks to this wonderful, possibly life-altering band, I have changed my opinion of the banjo completely. Mumford & His Sons make this crazy instrument sound cool and hip, and just all around great. To be quite honest, they have inspired me to take up banjo lessons. And as soon as I return from Mexico, I am going to rent one and learn how to play. (I'm serious about this, by the way, I think the banjo is so damn cool.) Maybe, if I learn to play well enough, they'll invite me to play with them.

4) The Voice
Marcus Mumford has the voice of the angel (if there ever was one). I don't know how, but he packs so much emotion into the lyrics that he sings, that sometimes I want to give him a hug. By writing his own lyrics, it is obviously easier for him to get in touch with the emotions that are within and his voice makes that loud and clear. To sum this up in a way everyone should understand: If there were a Church of the Mumford, I would be a member (if only to hear Marcus sing),  and maybe even fall victim to the Doctrine of the Mumford & His Sons.
Here's our darling Marcus Oliver Johnston Mumford (I love his name, it's quintessentially British).

5) The British-ness
I'm not even sure how much explaining this needs. I have an obsession with all things British, and Mumford & Sons happen to fall under that category. Sometimes you can hear the British accent come out when Marcus is singing (and it's super stunning). Also, they're from England. I should just stop there.

If you're not already in love with Mumford & Sons, I can only hope that this post helped change your mind. Stay tuned for more awesome music tomorrow!

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