Mumford and Sons have achieved a musical task that not many bands have before. They have managed to put together a sound and type of music that cannot be labeled with a genre. When one listens to a Mumford and Sons song, it isn’t described as rock, or pop, or any of that. It is described simply as “Mumford and Sons.”
With their debut album, Sigh No More, Mumford and Sons broke out to the forefront of the musical scene. They released songs such as The Cave and Little Lion Man that are still frequent listens on everyone’s iPod. It was anticipated how their second studio album, Babel, would measure up to the massive success that their debut album brought. Well, have no fear, Babel stuck with what Sigh No More brought us, and added on a maturity and a story to follow throughout the album. Here is a track by track listing of the album with ratings and reviews of each track:
1. Babel: (10/10)
From the start, the fast strumming guitar gets me. Mumford and Sons does it again. Then, at the 58 second mark the song immediately mellows down with the lyrics, “…and I’ll believe in faith and choice.” Of course, the banjo, drums, and guitar hop right back in as Marcus Mumford lets out a nice musical yelp.
2. Whispers In the Dark: (9/10)
The ending of Babel transitions so perfectly into this next track that I didn’t even know the song had changed from one to the other. The song starts so mellow and picks up so fast by the end of the song. This song just had me lost at thought; I forgot that I was even critically listening to the track.
3. I Will Wait (10/10)
This was the first single from the album that Mumford and Sons released. Not only is it my clear favorite track on the entire album, but it is also one of my favorite songs at the moment. The lyrics “And I will wait for you” are relatable to almost all listeners, the harmonies and instrumentals are spot on, and the song has a groove that just gets you going. This song is a must-listen.
4. Holland Road: (10/10)
Love, love, love this track. The harmonies are just perfect, and the song isn’t overdone. The instrumentals just flow, and aren’t forced. I find myself drawn into the story of the song and I can’t help but sway to the magical sound.
5. Ghosts That We Knew: (9/10)
What a beautiful beginning guitar track. The song begins with the lyrics, “You saw my pain washed out in the rain.” I was instantly drawn in to the touching and telling lyrics that this song contains. Not to mention the chorus provides harmonies that are so soothing, and at one point, Marcus Mumford reminds me of Chris Martin from Coldplay when he sings the words, “Cause oh they gave me such a fright.”
6. Lover of the Light: (9/10)
This song is an interesting one. I can’t help but relate it to a Dave Matthews song; it has this classic jam feel to it that is mixed with a bluegrass and folk feel. Regardless, it is a really catchy song, and I love the chorus of this track. The song is truly at its best when Marcus Mumford uses his “scream singing” to sing the words “the lover of the light.”
7. Lovers’ Eyes: (8/10)
Once again, the previous track flows perfectly into this one, leading me to not realize that the song has changed. The song is nice and mellow and is a great listen. It isn’t a standout track, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t worth listening to.
8. Reminder: (8/10)
This is a really nice soothing track to just close your eyes to. It is a different kind of Mumford and Sons track, as it stays subdued throughout the whole song. It is a nice change of pace from the rest of the album and their music in general.
9. Hopeless Wanderer: (10/10)
This song is really, really well done. It starts off with a wonderful piano riff, and then the chorus kicks in with hauntingly beautiful harmonies. After the chorus this heavy instrumental part kicks in and digs deep into the soul. I just love this song. It makes me feel good and hopeful that good music is really still out there. In case it isn’t clear yet, this song is awesome. Listen to it. Now.
10. Broken Crown: (7/10)
This is a nice song. It’s kind of dark, which is a nice twist. For me, it never quite panned out and got going. It is still definitely worth a listen though.
11. Below My Feet: (10/10)
I nearly fell asleep while listening to this song. In a good way. This song put me at such ease, in a comforting and peaceful way. This song just feels right. There’s nothing crazy special about it. It’s just a good song with a really great guitar riff. And of course Marcus Mumford’s voice and the accompanied harmonies are perfect as always.
12. Not With Haste: (8/10)
I like this song, and its very relaxed nature. It has a chill feel to it. I like it most for its lyrics, especially when Marcus Mumford sings, “This ain’t no sham. I am what I am.”
13. For Those Below (Bonus Track): (10/10)
I didn’t expect the harmonies to start right away. They made me smile. That must mean its a halfway decent track, right? It’s better than halfway decent. It’s a really nice song all the way through. The guitar is beautiful, and the two voice part is perfection.
14. The Boxer (feat. Jerry Douglas & Paul Simon) [Bonus Track]: (10/10)
What a wonderful take on Simon and Garfunkel’s classic track. Mumford and Sons, Jerry Douglas, and Paul Simon nail this version of “The Boxer,” and listeners are left with a familiar track that they can sing along to. I like that the band was not afraid to cover a song and make it their own on their second studio album.
15. Where Are You Now (Bonus Track): (9/10)
This is a solid track to end the album. It has very nice harmonies, and is smooth and chilling all the way through. I love the lyric, “Do you ever think of me, in the quiet, in the crowd.” This song just sums up what a wonderful album this is.
- I Will Wait
- Hopeless Wanderer
- Holland Road
You can listen to and purchase Babel on iTunes
By: Brandon Klein
(Photo courtesy of Mumford and Sons)