Why the fuck do people like Mumford and Sons so much?

Mumford and Sons

Even their album covers are boring. It's called "Sigh No More" for fucks sake.

Mumford and Sons are average as shit. I mean, honestly, I’m not even sure if their name is supposed to be spelt with an ampersand or the word “and”, because when visiting their Wikipedia page to find out, I actually fell asleep before I was able to read anything.

It’s not that Mumford and Sons are the worst band in the world (that spot is still reserved for the Red Hot Chili Peppers and their knuckle-dragging legions – God bless ’em, it’s important to know there’s a floor on these things), but why do so many people love them when there are so many bands out there writing better music? The people that like Mumford and Sons are the same people that made bands like Snow Patrol, Jack Johnson and Coldplay famous – basically people who like their sleep therapy put to music.

Someone coming up to you and telling you that Mumford and Sons are their favourite band would be like if you asked someone what their favourite meal was and they said “ready salted potato chips with vanilla ice cream and diet budget lemonade”. Or if you asked someone what their favourite movie was and they said “Scary Movie 4”; or if you asked what their favourite book was and they said “The Davinci Code”. To which you would reply “Oh, I apologise. I was unaware that you had suffered a head injury at some point and must avoid stimulation. Please allow me to talk in a monotone voice and restrict my subject matter to temporary fencing and lavatory fragrances”.

It’s not like I even hate the style of music that they play. In fact, that is part of what annoys me about them: there are so many bands out there that write similar music that are so much better and deserve the fame so much more. Like lilting folk style music? Listen to pretty much anything by the Fleet Foxes. Like power ballads (you poor fool)? Check out this track from M83 that is neither cloying nor overly sentimental. Like the Irish element to their music (they’re not even Irish for fucks sake)? Then why not listen to The Swell Season, or singer Glen Hansard’s earlier, even better band The Frames?

Some Trees

This is not actually a Mumford and Sons album cover, it's just a picture of some boring trees.

But chances are, if you like average music, then you are not interested in listening to anything more challenging. Or perhaps it’s not so much that it’s challenging, it’s more the fact that you have to make a decision for yourself and actually invest some time and emotion in some new music. In an age where music is so easy to come by, and there is just so much of it, some people still want the easy route – give me what the radio tells me I should like, because I honestly can’t be bothered finding something that might actually be worth a damn.

It’s like offering someone a choice between a Van Gogh painting and a picture of Charlie Sheen snorting a line of coke off a pair of fake tits whilst high fiving Batman and wearing a suit of armour with flames painted all over it. You just can’t compete with Charlie Sheen in flame armour. The cheap, tacky, easy thrill wins every time. In fact it actually sounds pretty awesome. Throw in a knife-juggling chimp and you’ve got yourself the perfect painting. Damn you, Mumford and Sons, you’ve only gone and confused the crap out of me now.


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60 Responses to Why the fuck do people like Mumford and Sons so much?

  1. Joe Mahoney says:

    There’s a quote from “Lock, Stock And Two Smoking Barrels that seems apt: “You’re not funny, Tom. You’re fat, and look as though you should be, but you’re not!”

  2. Nightwyrm says:

    Um, I actually like Mumford and Sons…

    (and Fleet Foxes? Boring as shit)

    • Mike says:

      Yeah admittedly the Fleet Foxes weren’t the best choice as an example of “bands that aren’t boring”. I stand by my other choices though. The new M83 album is one of the best releases of the year.

      • Douglas says:

        The Fleet Foxes are awesome. Mumford and Sons, no thanks. The difference is Fleet Foxes make good music while Mumford and Sons make pop music. I mean, listen to both bands and tell me which one sounds like “made for teenage girls”.

          • guy says:

            the only people more annoying than people who love everything popular are people that hate everything popular. i like good music, good literature, and good movies as well. if i listed my favorites, i may appear snobby. thats why i dont. everyone is entitled to their opinion (including you), but you and those like you are total dicks (in this aspect. youre probably a pretty alright dude)

    • Farylin says:

      agreed, Fleet Foxes = Mumford and Sons – the fun + pretentious filler

  3. sara says:

    i didnt understand why you think their music can be boring but comparing it to the davinci code or scary movie 4 helps me get it a little more. i just dont think they have pedestrian sound, though.
    mumford and sons is not played too much on the radio here in the states but i’m glad when they are. and i do credit my M&S radio on last.fm for getting me into other folk music including the fleet foxes, noah and the whale, bon iver, florence + the machine.

  4. sara says:

    oh and i listened to the frames star star song. its pretty awful. M83 was not bad but these sound ever more boring than mumford and sons

  5. Hannes says:

    Listen Dustbowl Dance of Mumford and Sons and than we’ll speak again. A song thats totally atypical for the image you’ve drawn, and also for the bullshit crap where you compaired M and S with. Also you compaired them to Fleet Foxes, who have a totally different style! The atmosphere you feel is different, and that’s what music is all about. With Mumford & sons i get like a very melancholic, sometimes very dark, sometimes also “seeing the sky behind the clouds,” but allways in de negative now-principle, thats sort of a definition for what melancholic means. With Fleet Foxes you get something totally different: you get like a “after the storm feeling, accepting the past, and often accepting the bad things in the “now.” For me the esthetics of music are all about appreciation of the atmosphere caused by the kind of music you play, with appreciation i mean that the feelings are ‘real,’ not fake. Things like anger (rage against the machine for example, damn look at zack de la rocha’s eyes when he says: and now you do what they told you.), hapiness, sadness,… The basic emotions. What’s important for them to be ‘real.’ Well, that there is a mix of them, a complex image, not only the basicemotion of the moment you see. Too happy music, i hate it, too superficial sadness, anger in one direction, and go on… Well and i can tell you that Mumford and sons for example, definitely got complex expressions, atmospheres and emotions in it. That how we intuitively classifie a lot of things, movies for example. Fleet foxes is very special in its atmosphere, even more complex than mumford and sons. I don’t know if you know Bon Iver? Wow, that’s the top of it. (Well, thats the kinda music we’re talking about, i also listen a lot to underground punkbands from Amsterdam or from London, or to the so called “now”-metal). The simple-emotion music is the most popular because it’s attractive, seeing the things not complicated is the easiest in your life. That, when coming to politics, the same reason because people are so lack of participating in actions and uprisings and farmer collectives for example. Living your life towards ethical principles is not as simple as it looks like. Ok i’m sorry, i’m a little getting of the road 😉 Well that was my critic i got to when you came to putting emotions into music. Well, for sure I do with those bands, on a very subtle manner. Ofcourse you could say that’s the thing called ‘taste.’ Well that was exactly what i was going to tell, but you don’t have to claim on an arrogant way like that about the thing you said about emotion. You can’t extrapolate your own taste to the whole population. Ofcourse there is ALLways a certain thing where you can draw the line. Emotions that are simple. For example: how friggin fake emotion has a band like Green Day, or indeed Snow Patrol, or hell yeah the red hot chili peppers. A second thing: did you ever study their (MS) lyrics, that like REAL poetry, full of meaningfull metaphores! Beautiful.

  6. anon says:

    And that’s the beauty of music. Everything is different, and we all like different shit. The End.

  7. Steven says:

    What a ridiculous article, Mumford & Sons are one of the best bands around. I saw them at Hyde park last year and they are possibly the best live band I have seen.

  8. Adam Al-Samarae says:

    Shockingly bad article. I’m surprised you’re even allowed to write for this radio. Come to think of it, I bet you’re a bit surprised too, cause you know you’re a shit blogger with bad taste in music. Saying listening to M&S is following the crowd is a load of bull when pop and wannabe rap shite are pumped over our radio’s 24/7. M&S produce a sound I can’t find any other band producing. Your comparison to “Fleet foxes” is pretty poor, but maybe you just don’t understand music very well. In your article you said “There are so many bands out there that write similar music that are so much better and deserve the fame so much more” naming “Fleet foxes”, yet you then commented… “Yeah admittedly the Fleet Foxes weren’t the best choice as an example…”. So Mike, if “There are so many bands out there that write similar music that are so much better and deserve the fame so much more” why can’t you give us an accurate example?…

    • Mike says:

      I gave you two other perfectly good examples in the post above. Did you even read it? Also there are about a billion other examples of good music throughout this blog (yes, it’s a blog, not a “radio”, nice work there) if you bothered to read outside this post.

      • Adam Al-Samarae says:

        Why would I bother to read outside this blog, your fucking shit mate. And your called riot RADIO… “good work there”.

      • Beef & Stew says:

        Mike, way to speak your mind instead of telling the crowds what they want to hear. I did in fact hear one of their songs on the radio on one of the few occasions that I do listen to it, and all I can say is, they just seem grandiose, over the top, style over substance. And yes, quite bland to boot. Just another of those bands scummy dudes like to say they are into when there are girls around. Yuck

        • Mike says:

          Thank you for being the first decent response on this page for quite a while. Even if you had disagreed with me I’d still be thanking you for placing a well reasoned and properly spelled response instead of just slagging me off for having an opinion that differs from yours.

          You are exactly right, it is the sort of music that “gateway douchebags” listen to to pull chicks, just like Ben Harper or Jack Johnson. Music so inoffensive that it is an offense to listen to it.

  9. Matt says:

    I think you hit the nail on the head with this rant. I can’t figure out the draw of this band, either. Every song sounds exactly the same and the singer’s modulation is the same, too.

    Oh well, if it’s one thing most people do, it’s follow what other people are doing and then thinking they got there by their own free will. These guys are simply mediocre at best, but the hipsters somehow got wind of the latest, and jumped on the bandwagon. They’re coming to Portland, Maine this weekend and I couldn’t imagine listening to these clowns for more than 20 minutes without screaming and running for the hills.

    • Mike says:

      Thank you! It’s not so much that they’re awful, it’s that they’re so damn average that makes their success so perplexing. In 2012 when everyone has access to as much great music as they want via the internet, why do so many people go so nuts for something as bland as Mumford & Sons? Being average and successful is even worse than being downright awful in my opinion.

  10. That dude says:

    Mumford and sons actually makes some pretty good music with some actual substance. I wouldn’t say they’re my favorite band at all but they’ve got a decent sound and know how to play music. Maybe the reason people like them is because hearing folk music on the radio amongst all the pop and shit that plays these days is refreshing and different. (And btw the RHCP make some awesome music, they’re one of my favorites…or were till Frusciante left)

    • Mike says:

      A fair point regarding folk on the radio. And while I disagree about the Chili’s music, I do agree that Frusciante was by far the most interesting thing they had going for them.

      • ben says:

        only 2 players

        Chillipeppers were innovative because of Fleas bass playing style and chops, slappin

        Kiedes has a original style too

        chilli peppers were innovative up to Suck My Kiss

        Mumford is pop hedown formulaic pop music

  11. Steve says:

    Yeah, I’d agree with you. Wouldn’t be so harsh as you but I do find Mumford and Sons a tad bit boring. 😛

    Not because their music is slow, nothing wrong with slow music but it’s like the shallow end of the pool. You can dip your feet in and still see the bottom. Everything is flat out in front of you; the lyrical themes are blatantly about love and heartbreak, the up-tempo songs are all verse-chorus ending with a key change, the banjo is probably going to be plucked fast at some point.

    The difference I think people don’t get between bands like Fleet Foxes and Mumford and Sons is that you can pick apart a Fleet Foxes song and still garnish quality out of it. There’s very little on the surface of a Fleet Foxes song. There are depths of instrumentation, carefully tasteful drumming, instruments added and subtracted carefully throughout the song and very precise mixing and production by Phil Ek.

    I’m not trying to be a fanboy or anything but it’s as clear the comparison between a shallow pool and the sea. Obviously the overall sounds and style is a matter of subjectivity and preference but I think technically speaking; bands like Fleet Foxes are far more careful and detailed in their music. It’s very obvious if you actually ‘listen’ rather than just hear what’s on the surface.

    • Steve says:

      Not to mention that Mumford & Sons don’t experiment enough. :/

      All their music is very safe in their own sound. They don’t stretch their legs enough.

      I think I’d like to see them do more and I think I’d prefer them more if they did deal with less cliché lyrical themes (and stop saying heart and soul, please.) and if they dug deeper a little musically too.

      • Mike says:

        Very well said. I don’t actually “hate” Mumford and Sons, they are fine at what they do. I just find it extremely frustrating when something so beige gets so much play when there is so much better music out there.

        As you said, Fleet Foxes are very similar but there’s something of a creative spark there that is lacking from M & S that rewards on future listens and avoids the blandness apparently required for mainstream MTV success. Seems like to be super successful at the moment there’s a bit of a trade off between innovation and accessability that results in huge success for bands that favour the latter and no more than cult status for the former.

        • Steve says:

          They’re more like Frontier Ruckus than Fleet Foxes but where Frontier Ruckus succeed and Mumford and Sons don’t (in my opinion) is that Frontier Ruckus use their sound to do interesting things like I feel M&S should. They do stretch their legs and work with subtly, non-subtly and have lyrical themes that diverse.

          For me, M&S sit there and do nothing. I find they don’t attempt to test their boundaries, they just sit in them.

          Like you said, you get no reward from multiple listens to M&S because all the instruments are right there for you, there’s no depth. I can honestly say there are bands out there who because I’ve listened to their music; have opened me up into new sounds that I would have hated before. This isn’t because of repetition. It’s more like I’m learning something from listening to someone for a longer time.

          • Mike says:

            Agreed. There are loads of bands that play similar music that are much better and far more deserving of M and S’s fame. The Middle East are a good similar band, and The Tallest Man on Earth (who you mentioned in another comment) is another one I really like.

            Haven’t heard Frontier Ruckus, so will check them out now. Cheers fro the recommendation.

  12. Steve says:

    You’re welcome. They’d be the closest thing to Mumford and Sons I’ve heard but have a bit more colour in their music. 🙂

  13. dan says:

    You are one of those folks who love hearing their own voice way too much. Egotistical, contrarian, pretentious douchebags, the whole lot of you. MaS songs are poetry with a good beat behind it, a lot of which they actually were inspired by guys you uneducated Bronies wouldn’t have heard of such as that Shakespeare fella.

    –neodan91@aol.com

  14. Jose Miguel says:

    I personally like M and S, although i found your point of view a little bit extremist. I feel when M and S began their project they probably never dreamed of being in the spotlight as they are today. I think what they did was a tremendous step for folk music to be played on the radio, it is something we don’t usually have in my country (portugal). We would listen sometimes to Jack Johnson (my favourite) and Ben Harper but nothing more. So M and S tried to make bluegrass, folk music in a way that people that never heard folk like it. And i must say, when i saw them live they really put the crowd dancing….

  15. Irish fella says:

    M and S don’t have any Irish element to their music. The Frames were actually very very bland. I do agree that M and S are shit too. They are a Country Home and Garden catalogue full page ad come to life with the help of a producer. They are entirely made up. They just went with whatever style was going to market well. Just look at their album cover, they’re in a shop window. They’re laughing at us.

    If you want to hear some good new Irish contemporary music, check out Other Voices online.

  16. JustPassingBy says:

    I have to agree that a lot of their songs sound very similar, and they do use the same chords often, but I happen to enjoy their music. That’s the beauty of music, though, that people like different things, and I will in no way tell someone to like M&S, just like no one should tell me not to. I enjoy them along with other bands that play similar music. I think there’s a lot of hate about their popularity, and ragging on them for being fake. (And then a lot of hate on the banjo, but I happen to like banjos) This seems to be something that happened to other bands like Nickelback (Which I genuinely do not like) and Coldplay…people saying that they don’t like them just because everyone else does.
    Also, have to agree with your comment about the Red Hot Chili Peppers (why do people even like them?) but I do think you are taking a very strong view on the subject. And why shouldn’t you? It’s music and everyone has their opinions. But the problem I had was that you are asserting your own opinions as facts, and I don’t like to be shamed for the kind of music that I like to listen to, because I’m not going to stop liking it because someone told me to. I stopped being closed minded about my music a long time ago, and there are very few genres I will not listen to (Rap and Country-Pop) because I have found that I do not like them.
    They are at least trying to sing something that moves people, something emotional, and I think they deserve credit for that. And for changing their image…I mean, has anyone ever thought that they perhaps like to wear the clothes they wear? Maybe it’s publicity, maybe it’s not, but does it matter? I know I brought up a lot of points that you didn’t touch, but I don’t generally get involved in this big debate…or any about any band to be honest, and I wanted to rant a bit about the things I’ve read.
    I admire your ability to be so straightforward with your opinions, even under the guise of fact, and I wish you luck with all of the haters you will get (and have gotten) for this article. People like what they like, and, well…that’s life.

  17. Sherie says:

    Mumford and Sons are total rubbish and, to add shit to shit-pile, their parents are some nasty corporate raider assholes.
    I think it is valid holding strong opinions on music, people do it every day with sports and that is less important than music. Basically, you are mainly pissy at the writer (s) of this blog because you like the music they slag off, not the fact they hold an opinion. If they had said that Mumford and Sons wrote ‘poetry’ or that their music was ‘even better than a trip to Asda for the sales’ then you’d be happy with them.

  18. george says:

    Being dedicated to “indie” music is a difficult process. I would get teased for not knowing what built to spill was about. until I realized just how young I was when their albums came out. Like 12. But anyway, I cannot stand Mumford & Sons based on my well-trained ear. I was raised on David Bowie, Steely Dan, Taj Mahal, and Simon & Garfunkle and the Beach Boys. So I grew to love all kinds of different music as it shakes out, have streamed/downloaded hundreds of thousands of tracks no lie. At 25 my ear is trained. And I shake out the nonsense. It pains me to listen to Mumford and Sons just like it pained me to here Panic at The Disco and most of the garbage that has on the radio since I began paying attention as a youngin’. I do not like it when people are critical of my choice in music. I like when I get introduced to new stuff. But I am more lucky than most probably are, in that they may have been raised on Bon Jovi, or nothing at all. You know some people I have met straight up do not listen to music. I purposely have gone out of my way to read about Mumford and Sons because I hate them so much, yet lots of people around me like them. So I try to keep my harsh critiscisms to myself because I had a friend who stricly listened to Blink 182 who would constantly talk sh*t about my choices of what to put on. And I wanted to throw him in the Delaware River. Whadaya gonna do.

    “Don’t judge me on my kind of taste/ Don’t go changin’ clothes cause they don’t like yours”

  19. Smashtheminthefacewithabat says:

    Yes, I agree, they are shit. When they run down the road in their videos they look like rampant tossers frantically searching for matron. Can’t stand them. Music is as dull, as lifeless, as pretentious as a frigid spinster taking part in a sex video dressed as Emily Bronte. She wouldn’t get it in some arty way and I wouldn’t buy it.

    Smashy

  20. gog says:

    People like mumford & sons because there is so much Bisphenol A (BPA) from broken down plastics and estrogen from pharmaceuticals in the water supply that it has made them all like spineless, boneless, boner-less, pussy-ass, panty-waste shit. They have all turned into little old ladies. The music can be exploited easily to accompany a variety of products from disposable diapers to mid range family sedans. This trend started years ago. Bare Naked Ladies, Edie Brickel & New Bohemians, Counting Crows, you can trace it back to Perry Como thru Jackson Browne and that pretentious idiot from “Destroyer” band.
    Do me a favor? If you ever meet the singer of Mumpferd & Son, please slap that fuckin goof for me, could you?
    Thanks.

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  22. Brenda says:

    FUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUCCCCCKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKK YOOOOOOOOOOOUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUu!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  23. amrit says:

    They suck cuz they have no music leads. No riffs. No solos. They dont know how to write music.

    They need less vocals n less repetitious banjo

  24. amrit says:

    Oh n the guy who wrote bout them making spineless grandmother music is right on. This whole folk wave is manufactured to kill rock . Because rock is rebellious

  25. JustAGuyPostingStuff says:

    A good read through and through, and I will certainly recommend it to others I know interested in music topics. I just wanted to share one common, widely understood thought on the matter of “Why the fuck do people like Mumford and Sons so much?” The thought is that everyone world-wide understands there is no one perfect band that every person on the Earth likes. I can read your blog post titled as such above and that you enjoy a band such as M83, and then find a blog titled “Why the fuck do people like M83 so much?”

    I know this on a personal level only in that there are literally hundreds, if not thousands, of bands that I love… and when I have looked up information on them every single band has a Hate and a Love response somewhere out there. Everyone loves feeling right, and everyone else loves telling people they are wrong. And I also find what some believe to be “a unique taste” and “a new direction” are really just as mainstream as their more obvious counterparts. Those sorts of folks blame people for running with major names like ACDC or Metallica instead of “searching for their own sound”, and yet the people who “found their own sound” are merely clustered together in a private group, but still just as large, of yet another mainstream tradition. In my own honest opinion, the only truly unique and worthy individuals are those who simply listen to whatever the fuck they want to, because (not to be that guy) when they die tomorrow who’s going to care if they liked Big Name Guns N’ Roses or poor little left in a shadow small time Old Man Pie. And really, Old Man Pie makes a point in their song “There’s Nothing New” by roughly stating everything is going to come full circle eventually and what’s “unique” will sorely be over done sometime in the future be it near or far. “You may have heard, this familiar song somewhere before. The chords may change, but the song remains the same.”

  26. Simon Cowell says:

    Mike, totally disagree on your comment that Mumford and Sons are over-rated, but they are the least of anyone’s concern.The bands that you compare them with are hardly fucking brilliant either. “Challenging music”, don’t make me laugh, all the bands you mention are in the same game, they work to hopefully make money from their music, and some get the formula quicker than others. It ain’t intuit throat music or John Cage. Within the grand tapestry of popular music Mumford and sons are at best a very mediocre band that landed lucky, but within the future of music journalism, you are a really pointless shit.

  27. Marchcool says:

    This band is simply boring and monotonous. The musicians are certainly good, but for such a large band it’s just a waste. Bands with only three musicians and lots more of imagination have done much better. So, in a way I agree, they are overrated. It’s just vanilla.

  28. Jim says:

    These muppets annoy me. Why does that dude sing with an Irish accent. Hes not Irish? Just a bunch of plebs.

  29. JamesT. says:

    Yeah, even my brother who loves raw music like americana, blues and southern rock found Mumford and Sons so mediocre and boring. I really like indie folk, so i tried to listen to some of this band’s songs. Just a while back, I listened to “The Cave”, one of their most popular songs. They sounded like they made no effort in singing. I felt nothing. I had thought I would like the song when I heard Alex Winston’s cover, but Alex’s cover of the song was way far better.

    I don’t believe they hype when it comes to this band. Even Billboard shows their albums as one of the longest running in the Album Charts. Really?? I want to sleep..

  30. Sara says:

    Why? You’re asking why? Because they’re fucking amazing that is why.

  31. Ks says:

    Listening to Mumford & Sons is like reading the Psalms.

  32. david threepwood says:

    Hit the nail on the head, fuck indie folk right up the chufta….RIGHT UP IT

  33. eatadick says:

    Mumford and sons is capitalizing on the trend of instinct based audio persuasion in pop music of the last several years. in this case, the “pillow talk”, “I’ll always love you”, soft spoken style of their lyrics subliminally convinces people (mostly women, unfortunately) of an emotionally stimulating experience, when in fact it’s just music. take away the lyrics and it’s just irish folk (albeit, a pretty bad example). factor in the anthem style ballads, where you can here more than one person singing (yay, you’re part of a group…..), and it’s not hard to imagine why i say “instinctual”.
    it’s not like it’s hurting anyone, and so i can’t in good conscience say that it is a bad thing. but come on people… let’s appreciate music for what it is, and stop looking to it for emotional support….. I know that’s harsh, and you can argue that music is instinctual, but beyond what we feel, music has an elegance that far exceeds the emotions of mankind… it is to be both appreciated (emotionally) but also respected (for it’s harmonics.. as it applies to musical theory), and to be honest, conveying messages via lyrics only takes away from its beauty.
    And even if the true beauty of music is how we emotionally interpret it… shouldn’t it be specific, if not personal, to the person listening. In every way, persuading people with the way you present your message takes away from them forming their own interpretation. simply put.. music doesn’t need lyrics… but why are lyrics so prevalent in most music then?………. I’ll leave that to you to explain…..

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