Musical Musings

Can We Talk About Mumford & Sons?

Because we should. Because this blog is about to take a steep dive from attempted appeal to academia to sheer fan-girl craziness. If you don’t have a soft spot in your heart for the indie/folk/rock awesomeness that is Mumford & Sons, you’re lying to yourself. I could Babel (ha, see how I did that?) on and on, but I won’t.

Instead, I’ll just suggest that you listen to this song called “The Boxer”

“The Boxer” was originally performed by Simon and Garfunkel. Their version is of course spectacular, but not nearly as spectacular as the one recently put out by Mumford & Sons. I am coming from a VERY biased point of view. Don’t get me wrong, Simon and Garfunkel are classic, talented musicians with a great sounds, but this doesn’t make me swoon

quite like this does.

For me, the best part of the song lyrically is the final stanza.

(I truly hope you’re listening to the song at this point, but even if you aren’t you can still appreciate the depth of this verse).

In the clearing stands a boxer and a fighter by his trade
And he carries the reminder of every glove that laid him down
And cut him till he cried out in his anger and his shame
I am leaving, I am leaving but the fighter still remains

Can I get an Amen?!?

I love the structure of this song. It’s not just lyrical – it tells a little mini story (thank you Simon and Garfunkel). The beauty of a really good story is that it might be telling one person’s experiences, but it contains a universal and accessible message and that’s exactly what this song does. And who better to tell me a story than Marcus Mumford and his band? Nobody.


3 thoughts on “Can We Talk About Mumford & Sons?

  1. Simon and Garfunkel’s era was a time of crying out for understanding, for self-searching, a time of storytelling and introspection. There was a certain sadness that came through in words and music. Some music was hopeful; some despairing; some accepting. So much of the music at that time demonstrated it. I sometimes think that time never really went away. Mumford and Sons has re-created this song in an equally heart-reaching way for a new generation. Simon and Garfunkel were not my era, nor is this, really; but the words and the music still can bring a lump to my throat – and I’m a very old lady.

  2. I like the gravely voice of the lead singer here, but only think they did a “fair” representation of this piece. I am very biased, though! You’re writing and comparison is well done, Jonai.

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