Monday, 22 June 2015

Is Ambition Overrated?

Marcus Mumford was raised near Wimbledon. He chose to sing as if he was raised on a farm in rural Wyoming was his call. He and his band Mumford and Sons would be good folk rock was their fate.

Mumford and Sons are possibly the biggest name in folk rock. Their music is so integral to the genre that they have bought new fans to the genre. But that wasn't good enough. Suddenly Marcus Mumford decided he hated the sound of the 'banjo' and the 'tambourine' - two instruments they heavily relied on. Now a lot of bands try to reinvent themselves, go in the search of new sounds and reinvent their own personal brand. All that is respectable and often, refreshing.

What Mumford and Sons want to do it seems that they don't want to be a successful indie rock band. They'd rather be a successful mainstream band. They want Billboard chartbusters, fully packed stadiums and a lot more. If that comes at the cost of alienating their original fan base, missing a Grammy and sounding like a mediocre Snow Patrol cover band, then so be it. Think I'm being too aggressive? Do give a listen to their new album Wilder Mind. The lyrics are good if not better but the the arrangements and the electronic guitar backed compositions sound something Snow Patrol must be doing in the demo recordings.

I don't mean to be caustic but I see so many artists pulling this trick. Consider Maroon 5 for a moment. They put the pop in pop rock but man, Adam Devine could write the hell out of a song. Now he writes gooey lyrics and every song they make sounds like stadium pop. Where are those ballads, Adam? Where are they?

It makes sense for an artist to want a bigger stage and a bigger paycheck but must it always come this way? A lot of artists experiment, release independent albums, rotate in other bands. Now, that sounds better than just aping bands (read Snow Patrol) whose music makes more money than yours. 
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