I always find it interesting how a group becomes “mainstream.” How do people go from being everyday people playing at bars, coffee shops, or on the streets to having a record deal and their songs being played on the radio every hour. No, I am not talking about the child pop stars that get their parents to pay for an auto-tuner and a record deal for their 15th birthday. I am talking about eclectic bands that start as friends just playing in their local scene and then gather a following based on their amazing music. Mumford and Sons fits this rise of fame to a ‘T.’ They started in West London in 2007, released an album in 2009, got big in Australia, and finally are becoming known and popular in the States.
What I love most about Mumford and Sons’ music is their lyrics. Unlike many (pop) artists, their lyrics draw from so many literary, philosophical, and religious sources. For example, “The Cave” includes references to Plato’s Allegory of the Cave and Homer’s The Odyssey. Additionally, the group first album Sigh No More got its name from the Shakespearian play, Much Ado About Nothing. So on top of great music, beautiful voices, and a wide range of instruments, Mumford and Sons’s songs are deep, well written, and have various, layered meanings.
This video is interesting since it adds another layer of meaning. Upon first listening without the video, I thought the song was about getting the courage to come out of one’s “cave” and do something you have been afraid to do. But after seeing the video, I thought it was a statement on Indian independence from Britain with Mumford and Sons (playing the British) handing over the reins to the Indians in the video but promising them that the British will help them “not choke on the noose around [their] neck.” For a better analysis of the meaning(s), see SongMeanings, a great website to get others opinions on your favorite songs. I am not an english major like Alenka so my ability to actually write about meaning, allegory, metaphors etc is lacking.
Have you heard of Mumford and Sons? Or know any other bands that have seemingly risen out of nowhere?