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?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.