Tuesday, February 19, 2013

The Babel on Mumford and Sons

Did you notice that Mumford and Sons copped the Grammy for Best Album recently?  The band's popularity was already growing but this should be a major boost. I heard them interviewed right around the time reader Anne nudged me toward their album Babel. She pointed out that a number of their songs have religous imagery and the title is obviously from a story in Genesis. Songs with titles such as Awake My Soul and Roll Away Your Stone are also overtly 'ligious, at least in the language.

It turns out that Marcus Mumford is a PK (Preacher's Kid) so why would we be surprised that the metaphors and stories of his childhood find it's way into his creative expression as an adult. While Mumford assures listeners that the music is meant to be spiritual without being particularly Christian it's there. It's interesting to me that a band can begin with "indie" buzz, then progress to popular acclaim, and do so with spiritual themes. Perhaps listeners and fans don't know that this language is related to Christian themes, or just don't care.

I find that a lot of contemporary Christian music is mediocre, with saccharine lyrics and not much originality. It is frustrating because we can't thrive on a diet of 19th century music, no matter how beautiful the tunes or the lyrics. Maybe that contemporary Christian fare has opened the door for music with a little more bite and nuance.

Are you aware of Mumford and Sons? Are you open to Christian themes in music outside the church? Can it be a form of witness?

1 comment:

IanD said...

I'm with you on all fronts (especially the saccharine nature of Christ-pop. Terrible stuff.)

That said, I've made an effort to know more about M&S and I can't say I'm won over yet. I saw them perform at the Grammy's and there's something a tad put on/slightly insincere about them ... like they're trying to be The Band incarnate with their beards and folksy strings approach.

As for lyrics, who's to say? They usually mean one thing to the writer, and a million to their listeners.