One of the bands I enjoy is Mumford & Sons. A while back I posted an article saying that their latest album Babel just sounded like a B-Side to Sign No More. My blog said there was nothing new, and the songs were less memorable. I can’t find the article. I guess I must’ve deleted it when I fell in love with the album.
I confess I now like Babel more than first album. Once I got to know the songs, I fell in love with it. There are indeed a lot of memorable songs after listening to it over and over again. Will that happen again?
I pre-ordered their newest album, Wilder Mind, as soon as I heard it was being released. They pre-released the first two tracks and so far I’m disappointed. The only thing I’ve heard so far that sounded like the band I loved was the singers voice. There’s no banjo, no driving rhythms, nada. In fact, someone on Twitter said they heard the single “The Wolf” and thought it was a new Blink 182 song.
Therein lies the problem. And it definitely offers some good advice for musicians and business people everywhere.
At the end of 2008, I released my first solo CD after the breakup of the Brobdingnagian Bards. It was a very personal album. I was setting a lot of poetry to music. I also wanted to experiment with effects. The result was A Tribute to Love, and it was… different. Turns out it was a fan cleanser much like Head was for The Monkees. A few years later, I had a former Bards fans ask, “WTF?”
Wilder Mind seems to do the same thing. It seems like an out-of-touch producer in LA said, “Okay, do you want to be the next Lady Gaga. Alright, we’re gonna make you sound like everyone else who’s currently topping the charts right now.”
“Okay! Let’s do it!” They said.
Marketing is all about focus. I know this intuitively even though I fail miserably about following stuff I know. (Hello, Steampunk album! although to be fair, Dragons vs. Pirates is basically sea shanties on my defining autoharp, and will appeal to Ren Faires, Sci Fi Conventions and possibly Steampunk fans as well).
The point is that this is NOT a good move. Mumford & Sons sounded indie. They skirted the edge of pop and thus were able to infiltrate the pop market. It’s sorta why I’m disappointed in the band Enter the Haggis who are trying to become more mainstream and thus renamed the band to Jubilee something-forgettable. They don’t want to be a Celtic band any more.
I know I’m a little out-of-touch. My music doesn’t sound mainstream enough to do just about anything. Hell, I just rejected by Pandora… again. Pandora doesn’t know what to do with an autoharper playing Celtic comedy music… whatever.
I do occasionally experiment with my music and I will again. Some of it will not meet your expectations. You will be disappointed. And sometimes you will be thrilled beyond belief. However with me, you can expect I will return to music you love with the next album, only 6-12 months down the road.
Will Mumford & Sons return to their good music? Or will the rest of the album actually sound like the band that I love instead of the pop crap I despise? We shall see.