Hooray! Abrasively average, mandolin slinging folk band Mumford & Sons have broken their (I have no idea how long) silence and released new single “Believe.” And that’s not all! They have reportedly made some noticeable changes to their sound. While the music world has been abuzz with opinions on the new song, I have been sitting in the waiting room of the local chiropractor to get my shoulders readjusted from constantly shrugging due to chronic announcement-induced apathy.
I’m WOMAN enough to admit that the AUX cord was passed to me once or twice in 2009 and ‘Little Lion Man’ may have been my choice. The pervasive kick drum stomping and surprisingly detectable British accent in Marcus Mumford’s emotionally wrought voice fit the bill for whatever ex-love I was scorning at the time. I even begrudgingly appreciated the music video, for whatever song of theirs, that parodied their whole shtick, starring Jason Sudeikis, Jason Bateman, Ed Helms, and Will Forte. But whatever positive feelings I felt from that PR move were outnumbered by negative feelings for it being just that: a PR move. The humor lacked sincerity. It came across as a faithlessly carried out suggestion of some well-hired marketing expert with his/her finger to the pulse of the post-modern, sarcasm horny audience. I ignored the second album entirely. And now, here we are with this new single, ‘Believe.’
At some point yesterday I finally took the suggestion of several belligerently overjoyed Facebook posts, and looked up the song. While scrolling past headlines, I noticed one suggesting Mumford & Sons were inspired by Led Zeppelin. Yea, ok, Mumford & Sons were inspired by Led Zeppelin like veggie burgers were inspired by hamburgers. I’m not going to spend any more time on that analogy. I’m just leaving it there. Here’s another hot take: “Believe” caused me to do anything but believe in the appeal of Mumford & Sons.
The music video is composed entirely of sped up, first person POV footage of driving through a city at night. It’s like what I would imagine the least creative human on earth would have come up with if they were locked in a room for one hour, given an iPod with only M83’s “Midnight City” on it, and instructed to story board a music video. A few times, in the video, the street view becomes kaleidoscopic. Whoa. Good idea, guy locked in a room. We will negotiate a raise for you.
Doing a little investigative digging will reveal that “kaleidoscopic music video” returns about 3.7 million results on Google, 3.4 million of which were made by everyone’s stoner friend using a free iPhone app made by someone else’s stoner friend. The video was lazy. The lyrics are lazy. Marcus Mumford has a unique voice, I will give him that, but what is the worth in having something unique when you apply it to the most hum-drum formulaic sound imaginable? (The answer is money.)
According to the narrative I’ve set up, this is the part where I call them sell-outs. But to call them sell-outs would be to infer that they didn’t always bore me with their unoriginality. Minus those aforementioned AUX cord slip-ups, Mumford & Sons has always struck me (even that is too poignant a verbiage) as completely average and as “meh” as a band could possibly be. It was probably Christmas when I played that song in the car those times, and I probably meant to click “Little Drummer Boy.” I look at the road when I’m driving, dammit, and if I’m not the one driving, I’m backseat driving with just as much focus. It happened, though, and I can only move forward and swear over whatever religious text you prefer that my excitement for Mumford & Sons has never registered on any Richter Scale.
Review in Summary: Two Thumbs Way Nothing. My thumbs have better things to do.