"Love that will not betray you,
dismay or enslave you,
It will set you free
Be more like the man
you were made to be.
There is a design,
An alignment to cry
of my heart to see,
The beauty of love
as it was made to be."
Mumford & Sons are: Marcus Mumford, Country Winston, Ben Lovett, and Ted Dwane. They released their first album in October 2009 after 2 years of UK tours, and, a year and a half later, they had sold over 1 million copies of their album. From their Shakespearean inspirations, their hearts sung out their mouths, and their burning humanity, they display the reality of music.
If they show one thing, it is that honest, inspired, and passionately played, beautiful music will always draw people in. These four men have arenas packed with humanists and Christians alike, singing together: "Awake, my soul. You were made to meet your maker."
It is music that sings of our need for grace and of the pain that comes in life. These are songs of the desire to break out of our little selves, out of our fear of death, out of our broken love, and they are sung as such. They are songs sung which profess our need for heaven. They are songs sung in the poetry of the grand English tradition of Shakespeare.
What do we have to learn from them as artists?
Authenticity is the key to music, and these men understand its role. Heartbreak and doubt, temptation and shame, guilt, fear, grace, and the drive to heaven all feature strongly in the lyrics of the Sons. From the lonely pain of 'Little Lion Man' to the unity of 'Timshel' and the hope of 'After the Storm', humanity runs through their first album with all passion. Is it not said that the glory of God is man fully alive?
Music is meant to be sung, not simply made. Music is an act of creation in the purest sense -- it flows from ourselves and is a realization of our very selves. Mumford and Sons has a beautiful mastery of that Dionysian passion, that glory of a heart. "Death is just so big, and man so small," they sing, but they yet cling to the truth of hope, that Apollonian (yet never stoic) dream.
Listen to them, and learn of authenticity in music. We should be singing truth in every moment in which our mouths are open. I cannot describe to your their style, but it is fantastic.
These are living proof that honest Christian music need not simply be a pop template with every "Baby" replaced with the Sacred Name of Jesus. The disco-beats, electric riffs, and guy/girl parts all have their place, but one must always ask, "what are they serving?" MercyMe, in all their poppy glory, will never reach the world as these guys have. Think about that: The Gospel has been most effectively spread by a band not claiming to be Christian, but simply writing beautiful music. True humanity sung back to God is worship in the fullest way - is there any excuse to sing any less?
Buy Sigh no More here. It's worth it.
And get ready for their new album. It promises to be even better.