A Fangirl’s “Babel” Appreciation Post

Last night I stayed up, perched in my bed like a child awaiting Santa, for the clock to strike midnight.
I’m aware that I’m a college student and this is normalcy for most kids, but I blew off all homework and sat in silence for the arrival of Babel, the album that is sure to put me in an eternal good mood for weeks to come.

I realize we’re all not Mumford & Sons fangirls or fanboys or whatever, but please bear with me, as I take you through the exact thoughts that went from mind to paper last night as I listened to the unveiling of Babel for the very first time. This is probably going to be amusing for both parties, and will be sure to show you that I have very few thoughts in my head that aren’t frilly and about banjos. That’s about the length of my music criticism, enjoy!

1. Babel
“I stretched my arms into the sky…the walls of my town come crumbling down…”

Was not expecting the CD to start with an upbeat tune. Ultimately starts the tracks off with a theme of travel, growing, etc. Mummy’s voice is gruffer than ever!

Not a bad synopsis, right? Babel’s “Babel” is quite the song to get the album going. It breaks the pattern of starting out slow and somber, like Sigh No More did. Ultimately, to me, the song symbolizes a journey, a journey that takes the players out of their hometowns, out of everything they’ve known, and takes them into the world. Babel (as found on IMDB) is defined as: we are all intimately connected on a life-and-death level, yet the trivialities of langauge and misunderstandings break us apart.

Also, the word ‘babel’ means a confused noise created by a number of voices (IMDB).

2. Whispers in the Dark
So excited it’s a newer version. New banjo, ugh. It’s happier, dancier, the “sun” break-down makes me ache to have a sing-a-long. Okay, and the instrumental makes me want to have a ho-down.

Whispers in the Dark is a song Mumford and Company have been touring with excessively and it’s great to hear a new spin on an old favorite. Whispers and the other “resurrected” tunes show that Mumford has a special quality. Half of these songs on Babel, huge fans have already heard. But they can take a song, spin it, and make it seem entirely new. 

3. I Will Wait
This song was the first single we got from Babel. There’s not much to say beside the intro music is pure genius.

4. Holland Road
A slow down after 3 good jams.
Every song sounds so familiar in a way that just kind of envelops you and makes you feel all warm & fuzzy.
For some reason, this reminds me of “Blue Skies” by Noah & the Whale. Maybe I’m taking this song to be a getting over a break-up thing.
1st horn section-ahhhh!!! And, do I hear a har? :)

4. Ghosts that We Knew
I cried. Okay, not really but how beautiful is the section where all of their voices just mesh? Harmony is something Mumford & Sons never do poorly, and it shows the true talent of the musicians. They play and they all sing.
Not going to lie, I was hoping for a more prominent fiddle break-through in the instrumental section, I guess the live versions as of late have been gifting me a little too much with the violin beauty in there. But, you can definitely hear the fiddle.

5. Lover of the Light
Already one of the best remake of their resurrected fair. Great horns, happier, jazzy. I feel a little jammin’ coming on, it’s only 1:41 into the song, 3+ minutes left.
So many pleasing sounds and instruments, omg.
So much shoulder dancing going on right now.

This song has so many good memories to it. When I was first really getting into Mumford & Sons, my junior/senior year of high school, I found this. I watched the Black and White version shot in Paris too many times to count. Then, I thought it a bit depressing song. I can’t really place my finger upon why. Now, I see it more of a plea for someone to love this other with all of their might, a take me as I am kind of thing. I’ve seen this song interpreted in many ways, the Light being the Lord, the themes being about a friends with benefits relationships, I guess it’s really whatever you take it to mean, and that happens with many of Mumford’s songs. They leave it up to the listener to make a meaning. 

6. Lover’s Eyes
I love the smooth transitions. From “Babel” to “Whispers” from “Lover” to “Lover’s”. This transition works perfectly from moving from a dancy song to a more reflective tune. I mean, he’s under a curse of his lover’s eyes!
How great is the accordion, though?
The lyrics, though, just make you want, I don’t even know at this point… The song starts kind of sad but then picks up into this hopeful demand for understanding in a horn and high-pitched banjo and kick-drum and many-voiced crescendo. “I walk slow, take my hand, help me on my way,”.

7. Reminder
This is a totally new song for me.
Almost sounds a bit Bob Dylan-esque, and that is coming from someone who listens to very little Dylan (sorry, it’s a must do, I know).
A sweet, honest song. Makes me wish it was longer.

Mumford, to me, has very few love songs that aren’t tainted by some sort of regret or underpinning of the love being lost or not currently found, etc. Which is lovely, not all love is easy. Reminder reminds me of a love song where the love has been found and is ever-present. It’s refreshing.

8. Hopeless Wanderer
I know this one is beautiful coming into it.
I was so excited for this one pre-Babel release, one of my favorite of the resurrected. I’m really excited to hear that this one remains in it’s original state, not much remaking or re-tooling of the instruments. It’s much like its original sound.
The deep voice during the harmony cracks me up. That is low-range.
Also, that intense guitar/banjo part is the best musical decision. It sounds fleeting, demanding, “Hold Me Fast”.

9. Broken Crown
This season’s “Dust Bowl Dance”. Same eerie, dark lyrics and sound.

10. Below my Feet
I DON’T WANT IT TO BE OVER ALREADY. :(
I love the message to this one. You can really take it any way it applies to you, for me, it’s a song of learning from mistakes and experiences. Realizing that you’re a human, you’re alive, new and exciting things can happen, keep grounded, find faith, keep educated, and trust in the Lord.

11. Not With Haste
A sweet and serene ending. The songs were all strong before the end, much like After the Storm”.

BRAVE!!!!!!!!

Learning to love throughout a journey. This is ultimately the take on what love should do for someone, it’s patient, it’s happy, it glows wherever you are, it’s not with haste. Image

 (Photo source: http://www.musicmonks.com/2012/07/18/mumford-suns-babel/)
Buy Babel! (Or buy it three times, like I did!) Amazon | itunes | mumfordandsons.com

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About She Listens, She Reads, She Speaks.

A site, written by a young woman, who believes that the two simplest pleasures in life are literature and music. A once-in-awhile look into a folk-loving, pop-culture obsessed, book nerd's mind.
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