Tuesday Music Review: Mumford and Songs!

Here is my second review of Tuesday song releases. I recognize it’s going up on a Wednesday, but good music is forever, right? Anyway, here’s what I’ve got!

“Believe” – Mumford and Sons

Ole Marcus Mumford promised that the band would be back with a new sound, and he didn’t lie. This single eschews the folksy, stomp-clap-banjo! aesthetic that took Mumford and and Sons to worldwide fame. Now, they have an electric guitar, an actual drumset and a willingness to use computer effects. That being said their sing-along song writing still shines through. This song successfully takes their populist stylings and gives it a Coldplay twist. Expect more big singles and an ever-growing fan base now that they’re officially out of the rootsy alt corner.  

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“Iconic” – Madonna feat. Chance the Rapper

Usually Madonna is anything but boring. Despite this song’s interesting formula – fusion of Lady Gaga’s ARTPOP experimental pop and an early 2000 Cher banger – it just feels limp. There are predictable marching band snare rhythms, swooning synths, and strange vocal effects. They all feel like experiments which don’t pan out. For example, it starts with a Mike Tyson sound bite. The famously boxer explains how he’s the best (duh). Does Madonna want to compare herself to Tyson? While Tyson is undoubtedly one of the best boxers ever, his iconic status comes more from his foibles (ear biting, face tattoos) than his successes. His sound bites reveals the lyrical failings of the work, as Madonna has been iconic for years, to the extent that it’s boring to mention it. Chance the Rapper elevates the proceedings somewhat, but not enough to save the song from collapsing in on itself.

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“Let It Happen” – Tame Impala

Tame Impala has a rabid fanbase. I’ve never quite understood the hype, though they dutifully occupy the retro-rock world as well as anyone can ask. “Let it Happen” seems to be a response to their high expectations bleeding out over nearly 8 minutes, doing whatever the hell it wants. The best compliment I can give the track it earns it’s length without resorting to songs within songs, like “Bohemian Rhapsody” or “Jesus of Suburbia.” Instead the steady drums do the hard lifting to keep the song going at it’s medium high pace, accenting the trippy synth patterns and Daft Punk-esque vocal work. Solid stuff, dude.

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“Trust Fall” – Inbucus

I’m an unabashed Incubus fan. As a child born in the 90’s, I’m just old enough to be nostalgic for the early 2000s. Along with 311, the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Blink 182, etc. Incubus are alt rock bands with huge mainstream followings that I remember fondly (Ok not 311 so much). This 6 minute jam encapsulates their sound well enough to attract the uninitiated and satisfy a fan like me. The long run-time flows by, alternating between hard rocking choruses and Brandon Boyd’s soft vocalizations. Color me pink for their 2 EP’s in 2015.

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“Sorry” – Meg Myers

I noticed Meg Myers after her excellent single “Desire” from 2013.  The hard rock song chronicles good old fashioned lust, which Myers sells expertly. You’ll need a cold shower after listening. In it, she alternates between belting and giving a whispery, intimate delivery. Think Karen O with Billy Corgan’s tendency to vein the extremes of his voice and skip the middle altogether. “:orry” treads a similar angsty ground with a more vulnerable subject matter. Her voice and the subject matter are a perfect match and Myers is extremely confident even in her delivery of low self-esteem, shame, and bad thoughts in general. The production skirts pop this time – more synths for sure – though it still hits the hard rock beats. At this point, I haven’t lost interest in Myers’ style even if “Sorry” doesn’t hit as hard as “Desire” did.

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“Witness” – Will Butler

The mutli-instrumentalist from Arcade Fire makes a solo debut – and what an arrival! I haven’t had a chance to thoroughly examine Policy, his new album, but “Witness” is a fine single. The song bubbles over with Little Richard 50s piano bangs and gospel choruses. Between the call and response style chorus, the hummable melody, and the double-clap drum rhythm, and blistering sax solo, the song practically begs to get stuck in your head. Honestly, it sounds like the best song off a retro-musical like Hairspray. Put on your headphones, stick out your thumbs, and twist!

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