Mumford & Sons’ new album Babel, released on Sept. 24, feels like the older, more patient sibling of Sigh No More (2009). The band, which has risen to national fame, has not lost their signature sound and unbelievably tender lyrics on their sophomore album.
I was honestly scared before first listening to Babel. I didn’t know if anything could live up to Sigh No More, which has been one of the most important albums in my life for the past two years.
“Babel,” the opening track, immediately put me at ease. With lyrics like, “so come down from your mountain and stand where we’ve been/ you know our breath is weak and our body thin/ press my nose up to the glass around your heart,” I could feel myself falling in love with Mumford & Sons all over again.
Babel is not a derivative of Sigh No More, rather, its a logical progression. I’m glad that Mumford & Sons did not abandon their sound despite some critics saying all of their songs sound the same.
This album seems to be the band’s way of stepping away from the formula of “slow verse followed by banjo-heavy upbeat chorus,” while also maintaining their classic sound — and it worked. Babel has a quiet confidence with songs that build slowly and thoughtfully.
I think my favorite part about Mumford’s music is how unapologetically earnest it is. Their music, with its graceful balance of poetic lyrics and crashing rhythms, forces you to confront the parts of yourself you usually try to silence.
“I Will Wait” is probably the most honest track on the album. The lyrics are simple and image-heavy with most of the emotion resonating in the chorus. I promise that Marcus Mumford crooning “I will wait, I will wait for you” will echo in the deepest parts of your chest.
“Ghosts That We Knew,” the longest track on the album at five minutes, 39 seconds, is all about having someone there to help you up after you’ve stumbled. The lyrics plead “just promise me that we’ll be alright” and by the end of the song, we are. The ghosts we knew are finally gone.
One of the bonus tracks on the Deluxe Edition is a cover of Simon & Garfunkel’s “The Boxer” and, let me tell you, it is unbelievable. “The Boxer” is a perfect song to begin with, but this cover manages to elevate it. The track features Jerry Douglas and Paul Simon, and it is one of the most beautiful things I’ve heard in recent memory. I can’t promise that you’ll cry, but I did (almost every time I listened to it).
Mumford fans waited a long time for Babel to be released, but it was worth it. If we have to wait another three years for new Mumford, at least we’ll know it’s high quality. Not that I’d expect anything less from one of my favorite bands of all time.