This is my very rough review of Babel that I am writing while I listen to it for the first time. (In case you didn’t get the title, it was a reference to “I Will Wait” because I have been waiting for this for a long time. So glad the wait is over!)
This albums flows so nicely. While each song is powerful on its own, lyrically and musically, they make the most sense in context of each other. A perfect example of that would be from the end of “Whispers in the Dark” to “I Will Wait.”
I’m kind of wishing that I hadn’t listened to “I Will Wait” 6 times today. Must. Resist. Urge. To. Skip. Alas, it is such a good song that I will not
Holland Road is a nice break after the four and a half minutes of jumping around known as “I Will Wait.” It picks up eventually with their classic banjo licks, but it slides you into it after almost a whole minute of their stripped down harmonies.
There are a few bands that I would love the chance to sing with–namely The Civil Wars and Mumford & Sons. Their harmonies are incredibly beautiful and want to add one more layer. Just one. That’s it. Teehee! Bon Iver would be cool to but Justin had to go and quit on us. I’m still bitter about that. Ooh! And Sufjan Stevens! Well, basically anyone with interesting chord structures, I want to sing with you.
“Ghosts We Know” will probably be one of those songs that I skip over on a daily basis until I bother to look up the words and then will completely fall in love. And cry on the inside.
I love how this group makes as big of an impact with toned down songs as they do with their powerhouse songs if you just take the time to pay attention. “I Will Wait” motivates, but “Ghosts We Know” inspires.
Whoa this is a long song. If you have music ADD like me, you will probably skip over “Ghosts We Know.” I wrote all this and Facebooked for a good couple of minutes and the song isn’t over yet. Geez oh man.
“Lover of the Light” confuses me musically. It doesn’t sound like a Mumford song for the first 50 seconds. Banjo! There’s no obvious banjo in the first minute…that’s weird. All the other instruments are most definitely there…either they had a terrible sound engineer or there was no banjo. Mumford without the banjo is like…is like…is like I was going to say Bon Iver without Justin because I’m still being a bitter kitten, but I think I will say it’s like just calling the band & Sons. That’s weird. You can’t do that.
But I guess they can anyway because they just did, and they are the actual band and I’m just a chick sitting in my basement eating apple crisp while I review their album. Whatevs.
Okay the climax of this song is pretty great. I’m not sure if it redeems the whole first minute of being banjo-less. That’ll take a second listen, which I am not doing right now.
Turn up the volume on your device before “Lovers’ Eyes.” It’s super quiet.
Wow snap! They are playing with strum patterns! This song makes me want to see them live (more so than I already did.) These harmonies are soooo prettttyyyyy. Yes, I am the queen of adjectives. Hear me rawr.
If you couldn’t already tell, I am tired, but I really want to listen to this tonight. I’ve been waiting for this all day because their site says Sept 24th even though iTunes says Sept 25th. The good thing about me still being up is I can check the finalizing progress of a video I made earlier! (Spoiler alert: it’s awesome/ I had fun today/ painting anyone?)
If this song is on the not deluxe edition, I would feel like I just wasted a track. Time to look it up! (“Reminder” is playing, by the way.) Ew, it is. That’s unfortunate. Good thing it was short because it’s over already!
Oooooh I like how “Hopeless Wanderer” is very subtly building. Whoa! So much for subtle. It was all like, “Yay! We sing pretty harmonies!” and went straight into, “Imma strum like a teenage boy in a metal band!” Also, I don’t know how this banjo guy has fingers left because he is picking the daylights out of that thing. No wonder he needed that 50 second break at the beginning of “Lover of Light.”
“Broken Crown” reminds me of “Thistle and Weeds.” I wonder if there are this many lyrical parallels because these songs are most definitely siblings…not quite twins but definitely related. Maybe they are cousins that look like they should be siblings. And I bet they look more like siblings than their actual siblings are.
Just took that metaphor down a bunny trail it didn’t need to go.
I’m digging the intro to “Below My Feet.” (Side note: I didn’t start writing this until a few songs into the album hence them not at the beginning of the review.) These guys got so much better at harmonies–they show up a lot more consistently throughout the album. And these harmonies are making my heart sing and making me see so many colors right now. (See this for an brief explanation about what I experience when I hear music. It’s about the third paragraph down.) This song builds exactly how I like my Mumford songs–a quiet beginning that builds seamlessly and explodes.
I was thinking, “well this song [“Not With Haste”] is kind of boring.” Then another thought came over me, “wait, I know these words not quite from these guys but kind of. WAIT.” So they did “Learn Me Right” with Birdy for the Brave soundtrack. It’s the same words! Well, at least most of the same words. Mind. Blown. But not really. I just was totally not expecting that. I wonder how many people are actually going to notice that without reading it somewhere first.
Bonus track time! “For Those Below” is among many depressing titles. The thing is, they aren’t overtly depressing like “I Hate Everything” or “Death,” but they refer to very thoughtful and sadly connoted themes. Aw, it has a violin! Or is it a viola? It isn’t playing high, so I’m tempted to say viola.
“The Boxer” features Jerry Douglas and Paul Simon; therefore, it better be good. This has the most useless lyrics ever uttered by Mumford & Sons. “Lie-dee-die.” Over. And over. Really? Thanks for those inspiring words, guys.
I’m going to actually listen to the words and just sit here with my eyes closed for this last one titled “Where Are You Now?”
Overall, despite my constant complaining, I ADORE this album. Can’t wait to listen to it again tomorrow! Over. And over. And over again.