There is something about music that helps us understand ourselves; like the wall where we hang our self-portrait on in order to see who we are in new perspective – to study ourselves like a Jackson Pollock. The first album I can remember having this experience with was Simple Plan’s 2004, Still Not Getting Any; a more recent experience had been with Mumford and Son’s Wilder Mind (2015). Perhaps it’s mainstream or cliché to choose them but this band, in only four albums, has made me see myself in ways that I am forever grateful for.
Mumford has the most incredible talent of making music that extracts your raw emotion, drawing out feelings of love and pain in ways that make you sympathize with their 4 minute tales that you’ve felt first hand. In this 2015 album there is something about the wolf that calls you to live in the passion of a love you can’t seem to leave behind, something in broad shouldered beasts that reminds you of that staining moment where you felt like the saddest person in the room. This album is incredible not only because of the wide range of emotion, but rather because there is something awe-striking in Mumford and Sons’ ability to capture lightness and darkness in one song – as in monster (or in previous albums, sigh no more).
Beyond these songs, this album is just as peaceful as it is destructive, and the lyrics can be more powerful than creed. The Wolf (2015) doesn’t call itself hopeful or sad, but it brands itself as strength. This album (and band), wears every inch of its emotional range in the tiger’s eye, it’s a so what smirk in the face of life. So what if we are sad, or lonesome, or full of joy? So what if we are “one foot on sea, one on shore” (sigh no more) so what if we are happy and sad at the same time?
“You can be every little thing you want nobody to know
And you can try to drown out the street below
And you can call it love
If you want”
– Wilder Mind
If the band teaches us anything with this album it’s that we must be totally and unapologetically human, and perhaps that is why I love it so ardently. It calls us to be certain in the face of our uncertainty; to dance in doubt’s wake. It’s this same music that explores the duality of us as people who love and lose, who fight and are still able to hope, and who live and dance. This is something we can see in classic alternative rock bands like the Killers, Death Cab for Cutie, and the Strokes. There is something inherent in alternative rock music that tells us to fight for our peace, to pull no punches and spin for every dance no matter whose voices tell you to yield. Some days you will be the wolf, others you will be the sheep, but whether you are the hunter or the hunted, I hope you find yourself in this album, the same way I have.
Be sure to keep posted for more album reviews coming soon.