This week Mumford & Sons released their new album Babel, which I listened to in its entirety (on the life-changing app Spotify). As with their previous work, I really wanted to like the music—felt almost obligated to like the music as a reaction against Ke$ha and Lady Gaga.
And yet . . . there is something not quite right about Mumford’s music. I didn’t know what it was that bothered me until I read my friend Matthew Schmitz’s post, Against Mumford:
Mumford and Sons are a kind of musical Pinterest. They “collect” without really linking together a variety of quaint, beautiful, and touching things. A little gospel here, a little Chesterton there, a little waistcoat here. Because of their penchant for gathering any and every sartorial, lyrical, and instrumental oddment, their coy references to the gospel and GKC become just the “pinning” of another striking and well-wrought thing. We don’t know if they’re Christians (or indeed if they have any existential commitment), or if they’re just aesthetic reactionaries of a limited type. Eclecticism precludes evangelism.