If you haven’t seen Mumford and Sons newest video, what are you waiting for? Also, what planet do you live on? Watch it now, and wait for about :45 seconds to see what all the fuss is about.
Pretty hilarious right? How does something like this happen? How do you get top comedians like Jason Sudeikis, Ed Helms, Jason Bateman, and Will Forte to appear in a lowly music video? Well, apparently some crazy director named Sam Jones dreamed it all up. I have introduced this video to as many people as possible over the last few weeks, and I almost feel bad writing about it so far after it released. But the thing is, somehow, there are people who still haven’t seen it. And they need to see it. Why? Because it’s the smartest music video I’ve seen in a long time. Maybe ever. Here’s why.
Sigh No More, Mumford’s first major album, was released October 2, 2009. Let’s take a look at the top 20 singles from 2009.
Just look at that crap! I don’t want to be a hater… But…. Well here goes. I hate almost everyone of those songs, and almost all of those songs sound just like each other. For years, pop radio has put out carbon copies of things that sell. It’s a business, of course, so I understand why. I just won’t be listening. I’ll find new and interesting music some other way. But then something happened. Little Lion Man, Mumford’s first single, hit the radio. It hit the radio hard. For some reason, it blew up. I submit it’s because it was different. We have all this slickly produced pop shoved in our throat, and all of a sudden some lads from England play music that makes you want to dress like a hobbit, down a pint, slap your friend in the back and sing along with all the other bar patrons at the top of your lungs. This was something new on the radio. And people took notice. And Mumford became huge.
Along with Mumford’s success came copy cats. Since they hit, many other bands have adopted the rootsy, civil war clothed, vagabond homeless guy vibe. And hey, why not? It’s pretty cool after all. But now the market has become saturated with not only sound-a-likes, but Mumford’s own music (which many would argue is also sound-a-like to itself). Of course we all know what happens next. What was once the different, indie, niche thing becomes the popular thing, and the cool kids turn their backs faster than you can say “It was not your fault but mine.” Suddenly the honest, hopeful, heart on their sleeves Mumford aesthetic was something to be made fun of, not joined in on.
For a variety of reasons that I won’t get in to here, there has been a legitimate Mumford backlash. Don’t believe me? Just google Mumford backlash. When their new album, Babel, hit in September of 2012 , the band found itself in a precarious situation. And by precarious, I mean “they are making loads of money and probably don’t give a crap what any of us say, but hey, we’re cool people and we have to talk and judge things.” See? Precarious. What can they do? Well they do the one thing that can make them legitimately cool again. They make fun of themselves. And they go hard. Watch the video again and it’s all there. The grassy fields. The old timey newsie outfits. The emotion (they literally eat each others tears!). The bro love (look at Sudeikis and Forte tongue wrestle!). With one video, Mumford has told us “we get it.” They know that they have a certain aesthetic that can be mocked. But to me the best part is that the song is vintage Mumford. They are telling us that they will continue to be themselves, but at the same time, they don’t take themselves too serious. And that’s a good thing.