So it wasn’t the worst thing, right? Sure, it was kinda boring, a little contrived, and a lot of disappointing, but at least I could listen to it. From some of the reviews I was hearing or reading, it sounded like the album was barely listenable. Wilder Mind isn’t a disappointment because you can’t sit through it, it’s a disappointment because you don’t want to. I can’t even imagine the conversation that went down prior to recording Wilder Mind. I picture Marcus Mumford sitting everyone down and trying to pitch their new idea saying something like:
“Hey everyone, so I know we’re popularizing folk & Americana music to heights of popularity it has never seen before, and our last album, Babel, was nominated at the Grammy’s 8 times, and won for Album of the Year, but… I think for this next album, we drop the banjo and that whole folk/Americana act, pick up some electric guitars, and make some main-stream Alt. Rock.”
And so they abandoned everything Mumford & Sons stood for, picked up some electric guitars, put their producer, James Ford, on the studio drum kit, and wrote Wilder Mind. Not even Aaron Dessner from The National, their co-producer on Wilder Mind, could save them. I understand the concept of a band wanting to change their sound, try out something new, but this is like if AC/DC went gospel or Neil Young made techno music. If it weren’t for Marcus Mumford’s easily recognizable voice or lyric choice, it would be hard to even tell it was Mumford & Sons. For a highly innovative and widely successful band like Mumford & Sons to produce template alternative rock off of their Grammy award win for Album of the Year, is just flat out the wrong career move. It’s always disappointing to see talented musicians go backwards.