Mumford & Sons have been in my life for quite some time, and they are exceptional for bringing a new sound to the alternative genre. Their accolades consist of being nominated in 2011 for Grammy's Best New Artist and then Babel winning the 2013 Grammy award for Album of the Year.
For those who have never listened to Mumford & Sons, they have a different sound that might not be found anywhere else; it lands somewhere between folk, pop, rock, but ultimately falls under alternative. If this band is of interest to you, check out the list I have below for Mumford's best overall songs that are perfect for a well rounded M&S experience.
10. "Roll Away Your Stone"—'Sigh No More'
With a soft entry, the guitar and banjo (yes, that is correct...a banjo), before lead singer Marcus jumps in with sharp vocals and heavier guitar. The song progresses back and for with soft and harder strumming, accompanied with strong percussion and bass. Look into it lyrically and see what you find—are you looking for self-discovery? Can you conquer your inner demons?
9. "Just Smoke"—'Wilder Mind'
More of a rock-ier anthem, "Just Smoke" is your breakup rock song that'll have you swaying back and forth to the melodic interpolation between bass and strong drums. The song focuses on the flame burned out in a relationship, and how relationships keep coming and going, leading us to question why the protagonist keeps falling down and down through the cycle—which, might I add, is too relatable.
8. "Hopeless Wanderer"—'Babel'
If you like a song that gains momentum and peaks at each chorus, this is the perfect song to really have your foot bouncing. The racing of the guitar is accompanied by the smart, lyrical choice in the chorus of "hold me fast" or you will quickly lose it. This song makes you consider the identity of a wanderer, especially one that tends to fall into that role. Are you on your life adventure, and you are willing to give someone a shot, but you can't wait for them forever? This song is sure to make you feel at home.
7. "Timshel"—'Sigh No More'
The softest song on the list, "Timshel," is a gospel-ish song that leads you through a rippling of Marcus's voice with light guitar. The lyrics, which are the most significant part of the song, come from the idea of choice. Everyone has a choice in any matter—which should not be neglected. The lyrics also remind us of the back-ups we have in life, which may be family, friends, (or, as they use) brothers. There are always going to be hard choices in life, and those that are close to you will be there to hold your hand through the adventure.
6. "The Wolf"—'Wilder Mind'
If you want a bit of rock right off the bat, here is your hub. The guitar and drums start right off the bat in their most abundant form, and it will be hard to keep yourself from headbanging (and don't worry, it happens in the chorus, too). The song is your feel good, "I love you and you are my love but there is someone coming for your heart and I will not allow him to interrupt our love" love song. Just as a bit of a spoiler, the chorus ends each time with the lyrics "you are all I've ever longed for," which, if you could encompass the ultimate book of feels, the most romantic rom-com, and smiles to go around for days, this is your jam. Plus, it isn't your average pop song that has been done over and over again—it is just magic.
5. "Where Are You Now"—'Babel' (Deluxe Version)
A song that is hidden in the deluxe version, (AKA you can't find it on the standard LP) "Where Are You Know" is your generic "I have to feel the feels and I need to express it through music" song. That being said, M&S has the soft, soothing guitar followed with Marcus's mellow voice. Lost love is no subject left unturned in the music industry, if it isn't the most covered in the genre. This song may be the most relaxing of them all, and will leave you wondering where your love went, and if they're thinking about you, too. Get the tissues ready.
4. "Believe"—'Wilder Mind'
The first single from their third album, Wilder Mind, "Believe" is a soft rock song that takes you through the apprehensiveness that comes with finding someone new—"open up my eyes." As the song progresses, like relationships do before they officially start romantically, the song picks up more and more until an ultimate climax of interwinding drums, guitar, tambourine, and vocals that lead you into believing that love is there—and the song will make it happen, even when you can't believe it.
3. "Little Lion Man"—'Sigh No More'
Arguably one of the most popular of M&S's songs, "Little Lion Man" is powered by strong strumming and eerie synthesizing through the song, giving the song its own literal pulse through each beat. This song pulls you in with the mastered tune and lyrically invites you to consider an internal conflict over faults and blame. "Little Lion Man" is made for you to consider perspective...have you?
2. "I Will Wait"—'Babel'
This song is the top-selling song by the group, and gave them the most prominent face in the media, leading them into the biggest spotlight they've ever been in. The song, which is very simplistic lyrically, is basically following the idea of waiting for a lover and expressing deep emotion between the two. The upbeat momentum will keep you singing and singing the chorus long after the song ends, along with an uplifted heart that—ironic to the song—will not allow you to wait to replay it.
1. "The Cave"—'Sigh No More'
It is hard to contextualize how great this song is, and if I could find all the right words, it would still be a novel. The song, which was one of the top singles from their debut album, Sigh No More, focuses on becoming stronger and stronger against your own downfalls. With a strong metaphor of a noose (which I want to mention due to the obvious suicidal message that comes with that word), the message comes toward not letting one fail, and finding that inner lion to come through and conquer anything that is bringing you down. You'll find the strength, and you can do anything.
Thank you for years of music, Mumford & Sons.
If you like what they've got thus far, go check out their full albums. They also recently released an EP, Johannesburg, that follows their trip to Africa and gathers some of their musical culture into their alternative style. Long live M&S.