Frightened Rabbit

A few months ago, I wrote about the increasing influence of Mumford & Sons and how that band’s brand of bleeding-heart folk-rock represents the convergence of certain indie trends (howling Avett Brothers roots rock, bookish Decemberists folk-prog, humongous Arcade Fire stadium anthems, woodsy Fleet Foxes classic rock worship) with a long tradition of jammy and/or hammy frat rock — the Dave Matthews Bands and Barenaked Ladies of the world. Mumford is dominating the music industry according to every conceivable metric — digital and physical sales, radio spins, Spotify streams, concert attendance, festival poster font, intangible youthful zeitgeist — capped off last month with a Grammy for Album of the Year. Meanwhile, a legion of similar acts like The Lumineers, Phillip Phillips and Of Monsters and Men is finding success in Mumford’s wake, which suggests the vest-and-banjo model has accumulated genuine clout, a viable commercial/cultural counterpoint to the club music that has otherwise saturated all corners of the pop landscape.

Although there are moments when Mumford’s appeal clicks and I understand why they’re the biggest band in the world, on balance this genre mutation didn’t sit well with me. And given the bilious response to Tom’s defense of Mumford & Sons last month, this stuff must retch like poison moonshine out the average Stereogum reader’s belly. The general consensus among the indie rock audience seems to be a distaste for Marcus Mumford and his kin. Still, there are undeniable threads from the post-Mumford movement back to bands that self-defined indie rock fans (including me and, for the sake of simplicity, this website’s readership) tend to embrace — your Fleet Foxes, Arcade Fires and the like. Which begs the question: Why these guys and not those guys?

One cynical answer is that indie rock listeners will like or dislike whomever the tastemakers tell them to, but the sometimes violently discordant comment section here suggests you lovely readers have minds of your own. Another stereotype says bands on the Mumford wave are gaining too large of a mainstream audience and now must be subject to too-cool indie backlash, but I don’t see too many Arcade Fire fans abandoning the band in the wake of their ascension. The real gulf between Mumford’s ilk and some of the analogous acts that curry favor around here is not marketing so much as posturing. The music industry presents these two breeds of musicians as peas in a pod (cue Grammys host LL Cool J on “indie success story” The Lumineers), but there’s a substantial difference between the way the new superstar folk-pop bands present themselves compared to, say, Frightened Rabbit.

In response to my essay last fall, one insightful reader suggested Frightened Rabbit as a quality alternative to the post-Mumford folk movement and wondered why those sad-sack Scottish folk-rockers hadn’t ridden the same wave to stardom. They do heart-on-sleeve music better than almost anybody, somehow remaining dignified while opening very messy wounds, walking a tightrope the likes of Damien Rice and Glen Hansard struggle to navigate with grace. Just about everyone who heard Frightened Rabbit’s 2008 triumph The Midnight Organ Fight was instantly converted, so why aren’t there more of us? Why hasn’t the band’s profile matured from critically acclaimed cult favorite to household name?

Michael later mused that Frightened Rabbit hindered its chances of a big breakthrough by following up The Midnight Organ Fight with 2010′s The Winter Of Mixed Drinks, a misfire that traded raw minimalism for forced synthetic bombast with lesser songwriting to boot; Scott Hutchison’s brooding brogue remained intact, but the pathos that fueled countless late-night sing-alongs behind the wheel of my Honda Civic had all but evaporated. It’s not like Frightened Rabbit disappeared into obscurity — the band picked up a major-label deal, regained its step on this year’s Pedestrian Verse and is back to skirting the edges of the internet limelight — but don’t expect to hear “The Woodpile” between Bruno Mars and Ke$ha the way you would “Ho Hey.” Maybe a Frightened Rabbit tearjerker will make its way into a movie trailer like “Wake Up” did, but not into the Top 40.

Why not? Where is the essential divide between Frightened Rabbit and Mumford’s sons? Pedestrian Verse is a reminder that these bands intersect in numerous ways, but they always deflect in opposite directions. Like Mumford, Hutchison sometimes punctuates his strummed anguish with conspicuous F-bombs, but he seems less like a giddy choirboy getting away with it than a beleaguered dunce struggling to stay afloat. Both groups take cues from the folksy acoustic playbook, but where Mumford & Sons skew toward DMB’s hemp-necklace rock, Frightened Rabbit’s music is steeped in post-punk lineage; “Holy” shows shades of Joy Division, while interlude “Housing (Out)” borrows the melody from New Order’s “Age Of Consent.” Both gravitate toward big choruses in the emotional space where hope battles despair, but whereas Mumford always finds the light at the end of the tunnel, Frightened Rabbit retreats into darkness (in keeping with a grand tradition of tearful yet artful Scotsmen that also includes Arab Strap, Belle & Sebastian and FR tourmates the Twilight Sad). The common bond is relentless earnestness, but Mumford proudly bares his soul while Hutchison seems more than a little self-conscious about it. A tweet from veteran critic Rob Harvilla nicely encapsulates the difference: “frightened rabbit are the sort of band to write a song about the shame of realizing you really like a frightened rabbit album.”

So here we have two avatars of earnestness, one basking in positive vibes while the other drowns in sorrow. It might be fair to declare Frightened Rabbit fans a bunch of miserable pricks and be done with it, but I’d wager a good number of us are attracted to the band less because of our inherent morbidity — well, OK, maybe somewhat — but more because its music registers as honest in addition to earnest. It’s the same reason the public got so aggravated by Anne Hathaway while simultaneously gushing about Jennifer Lawrence during Oscar season: “perceived humility,” as Harvilla put it on Twitter. At the core, I think this is why indie rock fans find some approaches to earnestness so appalling and others so appealing. We have a hard time believing Mumford’s smiles aren’t painted on; they strike us as a pose. Conversely, the winner’s history of rock probably indicates Hutchison should loosen up and have some fun sometime, and nobody wants to hear about some sad bastard’s problems when they’re trying to blow off steam after a hard day’s work.

This is a tricky argument because we’re talking about an audience (indie rock fans) that has no problem with performers adopting fantastical personas, a people group that no longer shies away from superstars, a demographic for whom a balls-out, fist-pumping, free-spirited guitar anthem was the sound of last summer. Contrary to stigma, we’re not purists nor constant mopers. The conversation becomes extra tricky when you realize a Mumford lyric like “I really fucked it up this time, didn’t I, my dear?” is as self-effacing as anything Hutchison dredges from the bottom of his bottle; it’s just that Mumford’s line is more redemptive than something like “Let’s promise every girl we marry we’ll always love them when we probably won’t.”

It’s worth noting that the comparison between the two bands has been posed to Hutchison, who … rejects it. “I fucking hate that band and don’t want to be associated with them. I thought the first [Mumford] record did something that I appreciated, but with the second they were just shoveling the same shit. And that’s one of the reasons we’re trying to separate ourselves, because it’s a huge insult to someone who’s invested in the band to give them more of the same.” You think your reaction to Mumford is strong? Just wait ’til somebody tells you they can see a lot of Mumford in you. (The horror!)

Frightened Rabbit isn’t necessarily more genuine than Mumford & Sons, but Hutchison’s awkwardness and black humor are endearing in the same way that Lawrence’s tumble on the way up to accept her statuette was endearing. Had the same thing happened to Hathaway, the public would have mocked her profusely because she comes across as full of herself, an idealized construct of a Hollywood star. Maybe she’s not arrogant, but entertainment is all about perception, and few things gate harder than projecting somebody’s concept of authenticity instead of simply being yourself. Trouble is, there’s no way to know who’s projecting.

It would be easy to draw such conclusions about Macklemore, the man behind the biggest, most controversial single of 2013′s pre-”Harlem Shake” era. He’s been assailed for pushing hip-hop away from its roots and jacking Slug’s swag, misrepresenting his independent status and waging oblivious class warfare from a position of privilege. His critics piled on so vigorously that of course we got some “Leave Macklemore alone!” think pieces too. I wonder how many of those critiques would have been leveled if the white Seattle rapper’s delivery wasn’t so sanctimonious. It’s not that I disagree with the sermon in “Thrift Shop” about the folly of buying $50 T-shirts; it’s just that every Macklemore song has a damned sermon, always delivered with the same big-brotherly gravitas. The man built a vast grassroots empire on after-school specials molded into rap songs.

On the other hand, many of the arguments against Macklemore seem like a reach, grasping for something concrete to hold against him as a smokescreen for the more subjective critique that is “u corny bro.” How many of those same critics fawned over Action Bronson for painstakingly impersonating Ghostface or overlooked far graver moral offenses than Macklemore’s enthusiastic thrifting? These are the same people who bend over backwards to excuse the vilest shit in rap music — not that any of us has room to judge — and they’re really going to freak out about a privileged white guy who’s excited about buying used clothing on the cheap? Furthermore, isn’t moving hip-hop away from its center usually just called “innovation”? Talk about white guilt! I have a difficult time understanding why a guy with obvious talent finding success by spreading generally positive messages would be anything but good for rap. Long Winters frontman John Roderick’s recent Seattle Weekly screed “Punk Rock Is Bullshit” rings true on this point, flawed though it may be: “It’s time we stopped disavowing happiness and measured pride, we punk survivors, wrapping ourselves in itchy thrift-store horse blankets thinking that only discomfort is honest.”

Macklemore, like Mumford & Sons, finds himself on the populous, profitable side of the fault line. This is, I think, largely because they make music that makes people feel good about themselves and about life in general. They can be cloying, but people have proven again and again that they want cloying. This is why Good Charlotte scored widespread hits while Sunny Day Real Estate remains a secret trust among the initiated. Frightened Rabbit is also this kind of secret trust, and they probably will be forever, but due to their artful inclinations and bitter self-doubt they can count on some degree of critical support; if nothing else, they’ll always have that one classic album to perform in full on tour and at least a footnote in the rock ’n’ roll history books (authored by the losers, of course). This is why the glorious Waxahatchee record is a media darling and spunky, peppy YouTube star Julia Nunes is still out there in the grassroots-only zone Macklemore used to inhabit.

Should bands like Frightened Rabbit and Waxahatchee be shut out of stardom? Certainly not; they deserve as much exposure as they can get, and no listener should be so foolish as to count them out for being too dark. A lot of people would benefit greatly from taking an honest look at the broken human condition. But neither should stars like Macklemore and Mumford & Sons be written off as lames or frauds because they gleam with hope and conviction. I’m not advocating blind poptimism here, I’m just saying don’t hate them because they’re beautiful.

Comments (102)
  1. The hate for Macklemore from some people I’ve never understood. I totally get why people wouldn’t like Macklemore. He makes pop rap at the end of the day, regardless of what the message is. But the guy has obvious talent and if we’re gonna jump on Macklemore for rapping about thrifting when he isn’t poor why dont’ we jump on Drake for talking about “starting from the bottom” when he was a child TV star!

  2. The thing that bothers me the most about Mumford is something about the songwriter struck me as disingenuous. I realize that this probably isn’t fair, I don’t know them personally. But it feels more calculated than sincere. I honestly thought I was “one of the few” with my early distaste for them, and I was surprised as anyone to see the backlash on this sight when Tom did the write up. But it has nothing to do with “cool” or “not cool” or “too cool” for me. It’s about the music. Something about Mumford’s music to me feels forced, I’m not begrudging anyone who likes it, but I’m not going to.

    • Here is how I describe Mumford & Sons to people that don’t understand my distaste for their music. Take the musical styling of Disneyland’s Country Bear Jamboree and mix it with the music of Pirates of the Caribbean. Mumford & Sons just make pedestrian folk music that is not beautiful, nor truly gritty, though some people might disagree with me on that.

    • I totally agree. “I really fucked it up this time” isn’t self-effacing or interesting when it’s sung in such an obviously self-congratulatory manner.

  3. As for Macklemore, I think, with the song “Thrift Shop” anyway, it is just a case of people taking something to seriously. I mean it’s supposed to be a funny song, and people complain about class warfare? Similar to the bogus “Is the Harlem Shake racist?” backlash (which has since mostly gone away now that several videos featuring black persons have surfaced). Macklemore ain’t Shakespeare reborn but I feel that’s a clear case of haters gotta hate.

    • calling the harlem shake racist is ridiculous, it is a just a trap song that samples an older rap song that had the line “now do the harlem shake” in it and it was titled after that, baauer had permission from the artist. The song is not supposed to have anything to do with the dance or mock any of harlem culture. that harlem reacts video was stupid and none of the people in it had the backstory or understood it and were extremely defensive and were offended by something so inoffensive, people need to lighten up.

  4. I have nothing to say but, that was a delightful piece, i find myself in a rather reflective mood. i tip my hat to you.

    • Chris DeVille, U write good

    • Word, oblivion. I don’t know if I have anything further to offer. We just keep talking about, this though. I think I would have to know everyone’s personal experiences with the bands in question and their discovery of them to understand more of the psychology behind their assumed disdain for Mumford over similarly earnest artists. Myself for example, I disliked Mumford & Sons before “Little Lion Boy” or whatever it’s called put them on the map purely based on its simpleton aesthetic. I had no clue at that point they would ever become festival headliners. I also hated Kings of Leon when they were pushing “The Bucket” years before they could “Use Somebody,” too.
      HOWEVER.
      I can think of a few examples of when my beloved in-earnest small timers became adored by the masses for the same reasons mentioned in the above feature (Jimmy Eat World once held a tight grip on the Billboard Top 10, the Gaslight Anthem blue-collar punk rock has evolved into KROQ adoration.)

      The only common link I’m seeing between Mumford + KoL + Jimmy Eat World + the Gaslight Anthem is major label marketing, radio airplay / online advertising spots. Could it be so simple that widespread success is really just a result of having the means to be put into the ears of millions, many of whom are your average person who likes music but doesn’t really like music, meaning that they’ll listen to whatever the FM radio, banner ads and make them aware of?

      • I think you’re on point with the major label marketing bit, its a big slap in the face to independent artists when it comes to this too because they don’t have the ability to make songs stick or shove them down people’s throats, even though this is the purported age of the major label’s downfall as championed by thom yorke and the like.

      • You’re on the money here Michael. It doesn’t always work; I can remember a few artists that have had a big ad campaign and failed to break, but it does usually work.

      • Re-reading your comment, I thought of how I discovered the respective artists and thought how i discovered them, I’d say that the way (from who, what medium, where??) we discover artists has a much larger effect on our perceptions of them than we’d probably like to admit.
        i.e. I first heard mumford through the radio / people I know who i dont generally view as having a particularly broad music taste, which I guess predetermines some of the disdain i have for them (I don’t mean to sound pretentious or elitist or whatever is just the kind of immediate connotation I got).
        Whereas, arcade fire I found through the internet and bandmates so I immediately have the pride of finding them through “my own means” and through people I respect, which would go with the fact that I immediately had a positive view of arcade fire. Thank you for opening up that discussion point Michael_.

  5. i feel with this subject people are repeatedly misinterpreting mumford appeal. two reasons people like mumford better than fr: 1. mumford has the easy riffs and more likable singing and 2. although several songs are an exception, frightened rabbit just aren’t that accessible. i firmly believe the reason people like mumford isn’t because they’re so open-veined, honest and easy to relate to what they’re singing about. it’s because their banjo bullshit goes down easy and people think they’re listening to folk and bluegrass.

    one thing i really like about pedestrian verse is that several songs are more melododically challenging than anything else fr’s put out. i mean, the woodpile and state hospital don’t strike me as instant hit singles, yet multiple listens and lyrical scrutiny yield some great returns, especially up against a handful of middling songs the winter of mixed drinks has.

    which isn’t to say anyone should avoid that record: swim until you can’t see land and nothing like you are songs to be held up as some of their finest.

    • I die a little when someone bashes Winter of Mixed Drinks as a whole. It’s no Midnight Organ Fight, but damn if it doesn’t have some gems.

      • Absolutely. Maybe it’s because Winter was my point of entry for FR, but I don’t understand the distaste for that album. It’s got “Swim If You Can’t See Land,” for chrissakes!

      • Thankfully for them Mixed Drinks wasn’t their major label debut or else the backlash against it and the band would have been even worse. I have no problems with it whatsoever though, and would have welcomed it as a valiant attempt to reach more ears. Too many good songs on the album to dismiss it.

        I’m actually having more trouble getting into PV, I know the songs are there but I feel the production has sacrificed some of the rawness that was on Midnight Organ Fight and to not be Mixed Drinks added clutter. It’s one of those albums that the production/sequencing actually gives me a bit of a headache. Maybe I just have a shitty copy?

        Either way excellent band and live they deliver big time.

        • I’m in the same boat (having trouble getting into PV). It’s an interesting observation about the sequencing, too… Sometimes when I’m having trouble getting into an album, I’ll hack up the track order and re-arrange it in a different way (or just listen to certain songs individually before listening to the whole). It’s how I came around to Ryan Adams’ 29, for example. Having the slow, 8-minute “Strawberry Wine” in the #2 spot was throwing me off the album for the longest time. Once I started listening to the tracks out of order, I was able to appreciate them individually, which later extended to the album as a whole (including, by the end, “Strawberry Wine”). Now it’s one of my personal favorite RA albums, but it took a long time to get there.

    • I completely agree about what you said about mumford and sons. The populous typically isn’t going to want to listen to a song that has a lot of stuff going on in it and something they can easily sing along with. Which is why Wagon Wheel is Old Crow Medicine Show’s only real hit song, and not something like Bobcat Tracks, or Tell it to Me. Hell, it’s absolutely amazing how Radiohead was able to keep going after Creep (thank god they did though).

      I used to like Mumford and Sons though. They’re obviously top notch musicians and there is no doubt that they could write an entire album of top 40′s. But, that’s also the problem. If they’re gonna just continue as a top 40 band and write songs with the same formula over and over they aren’t going to push any boundaries and they will die out, which answers why Radiohead has continued to be relevant and won’t be going away anytime soon. This is the same reason why I’ll continue to listen to Fleet Foxes, Arcade Fire, or Old Crow Medicine Show.

  6. I liked Winter of Mixed Drinks, thank you very much.

  7. It seems like, in the midst of debates about posturing, image, authenticity, back-lash, “hipsterisms” and blah blah blah, a HUGE point is being missed. Maybe Stereogum readers and the like can’t get into these bands because the MUSIC (you know, the thing I’m assuming we’re all here for) ISN’T VERY GOOD? Forget about the “cheeriness” of it – maybe the songs (lyrics, melodies) just aren’t good enough to garner the affection of the more discerning music-loving crowd, who are more likely to analyze lyrical content and break-down melodic originality than the general public. I don’t know, this might be coming off as insufferably pretentious (probably), but the reason the collective we don’t get into any backlash against bands like Arcade Fire, LCD Soundsystem, Bon Iver, etc. is that the music is just much better than the Mumfords and Macklemores of the world.

    • They originated their own styles too. Mumford, Lumineers, etc. feel really recycled (idk thats just my gut feeling when listening), following the success of bands like arcade fire, fleet foxes, bon iver, etc.

    • Definitely agree with the “music isn’t very good” idea, the vocals in particular have always been the biggest problem for me with all these bands (Mumford, KoL, DMB and, although they/he is not as popular, TMoE), kind of a constipated style of delivery with a fake gruffness. I wouldn’t say I am the most discerning of listeners as far as lyrics or melody though, because I actually kind of liked both Mumford and Tallest Man on Earth albums in all parts without the bleating.

      • i hear you on the constipated delivery complaint (great term, btw), but tend to give DMB a pass because the songwriting – at least with the early stuff – is pretty damn impressive. in several ways, actually, i’ve always had a good amount of respect for that man; whereas mumford and KoL come across to me as derivative and uninspired, dave has appeared genuine throughout. he hasn’t built his empire on an image pandered to the mainstream, the sincerity of his songs doesn’t come off as fake, he tours his ass off every year, and everyone in the band’s got serious musician chops. wherever your opinions fall on fratbros and hemp necklaces and whatnot, if you can’t recognize any of that, you’re practicing willful blindness.

        • I couldn’t agree more. Say what you will about crowd he attracts but Dave’s first few albums are undeniably solid. Dude is also a hell of a performer who never phones it in.

      • What made TMoE different too is that he is an EXCELLENT guitar player, his pickin’ is real good. I know it may sometimes sound like its just the usual indie folk shit but honestly his speed is crazy and the his timing and rhythm is pretty complex, his voice can be a bit much at times but the tunes are oh so tender.

    • Don’t you think there could be a correlation between not being cheery and having better lyrical content and music? To maintain cheeriness imposes severe limitations on lyrical content I would imagine.

      • that would follow the ignorance = bliss school of thought which is logical, because y’know, as we consider more of what is around us we being to realize how small and insignificant at times we are.

        I’ve paraphrased this quote in reference to Michael_ before but it holds true here.
        “The unconsidered life is not worth living.”

        consideration often unfortunately goes hand in hand with misery because y’know the more we see the less we know which is often unnerving.

        And therefore to bring it on (all or nothing obv.) the more enlightened, thought out-lyrically artists generally produce saddish music sometimes and U can take that 2 da bank shawtay (or the club, if you prefer).

      • Not necessarily. I think there’s a difference between being “sad” or cynical or ironic and being intelligent, clever, or just good. Which is to say that I don’t subscribe to the idea that “better lyrical content” can’t be cheery, or that good music can’t have bad lyrics. Hell, one of my favorites of all time is Sam Cooke, and his lyrics were as shmaltzy as they get – but his music, voice, the overall feel of it is incomparable. I can point to plenty modern songs about love/happiness that stand as examples of musicians at the top of their game (“All I Need” by Radiohead, plenty of Iron & Wine songs, Japandroids, etc.). I guess my point is that I don’t think the happy/sad quotient has anything to do with the successes of these bands – it’s that the melodies, lyrics, production, composition, etc. (or some combination of these) aren’t as complex or original in a way that demands more attention or at least asks that you open yourself up to something new. The “discerning” music crowd, for lack of a less pompous term, welcomes music that asks for attention and open-mindedness and, I think (as I’m sure most of us here do) rewards it exponentially.

        I guess “maintaining” cheeriness would impose sever limitations, but you’d be hard-pressed to find an album by MaS, KoL, etc. that does not have its share of sad and lonely bits.

        • I think everything you’re saying is valid – but do you think All I Need is a happy love song? I’ve always considered it to be an incredibly depressing love song. For me, the narrator is stuck in a one-sided relationship. She doesn’t give him any attention, but he’s willing to do anything for her.

    • I agree, but it’s hard to firmly convince some people that Mumford is not very good while something like Arcade Fire, Fleet Foxes, TMoE, Frightened Rabbit, etc. is genius when they hear a lot of aesthetic similarities. However, these similarities are the kind that the Pandora algorithms notice, i.e. a clinical checklist of parts of music that often have fuck all to do with the whole. I think the real distinction is not about authenticity, which is hilarious considering the statistics how much the average person lies in a day (answer: a lot), or corporate influence (I’m sure there are polls also showing most people accept more money when its offered), but rather about risk. I can hear a song by Mumford or .fun and have to admit its a catchy earworm, but after actively listening to it, I can hear all the reasons why its catchy. In other words, none of their appeal is subtle or risky. The real distinction for me between these seemingly similar acts is the level of surprise their music offers, the fact that they take chances by adding a touch of uniqueness or imperfection that could easily derail the whole thing, but instead makes it perfect (the Japanese terms wabi and sabi come to mind). It’s hard to express all this because what makes great music great defies language; that’s why it’s great! That’s also why good music critics will remain fed.

      • That’s a great and much shorter way of putting it. I agree completely. Risk and surprise – lyrically, structurally, melodically, etc. (and it does not have to encompass all of these things, but one or more of them).

      • This post deserves so many more upvotes. “Risk” – man, you nailed it.

        I have to say, every time Mumford and Sons come up on this site, it makes me uneasy. Part of that is because I truly don’t think they’re as bad as Stereogum commenters like to pretend (and part of THAT is because – and this always gets me downvoted, but whatever – there is an awful lot of groupthink going on here). So I feel like I have to defend a band I don’t actually like. But I can’t say I dislike them either – it’s just that, for whatever reason, their music doesn’t click with me. And maybe that’s enough. Maybe we spend too much time convincing ourselves that the “MUSIC ISN’T VERY GOOD” (as Hartford said a few comments above) when really it’s just “THIS DOESN’T CLICK WITH ME FOR AN UNKNOWABLE REASON.” I dunno.

        But I really dig this “risk” thing, and that’s what I meant to say when I started typing…

  8. Great article, but why do I feel like I’m the only one who really enjoyed The Winter Of Mixed Drinks? :(

  9. I liked Winter of Mixed Drinks.

  10. I like Macklemore and I don’t give a shit. I don’t like him for reasons that I can justify with lengthy explanations. I just think he’s fun. He has a lot of preachy songs but I feel like Thrift Shop shows he doesn’t take himself too seriously. I dunno. I’ve only casually listened and I don’t hate him.

    This was a good read. Brings up a lot of points I hadn’t thought about before.

  11. I think people are too hard on Winter of Mixed Drinks. Admittedly, I’m a HUGE FR fan, but I just don’t get all the hate on that record. I don’t see a HUGE jump from WoMD to Pedestrian Verse, which is why I don’t understand why people have been friendly to PV and not WoMD. Is it because WoMD followed Midnight Organ Fight? Plz explain.

    • it’s not a bad record, just disappointing following such an awesome one. midnight organ fight was my favorite record of 2008, and admittedly, i think the expectations were too high. mixed drinks is good, but some of the tracks are kind of bland chamber pop. hutchison kind of comes off as trying to squeeze some sort of melodic payoff from songs that just aren’t that melodic.

      • I don’t know, I think most of the hate stemmed from the fact that it just wasn’t as brutally gut-punching as midnight organ fight was… which isn’t really fair, because a record like that doesn’t come

        • Woop, premature publish… this is what I meant to say:

          I don’t know, I think most of the hate stemmed from the fact that it just wasn’t as brutally gut-punching as midnight organ fight was… which isn’t really fair, because a record like that doesn’t come along very often. But I loved WOMD, and I think its a solid record on the backs of songs like “The Wrestle”, “The Loneliness and the Scream”, and “Not Miserable” alone.

          I think Pedestrian Verse is actually pretty similar, both sonically and lyrically, to WOMD, but its not meeting as much vitriol because its not being perceived as a huge let down after an undisputed classic.

          • i can agree to an extent with that. as far as actual sound and songwriting, pedestrian verse is more akin to mixed rinks. there isn’t a whole lot of the scottish folk sound on pedestrian verse that came to define midnight organ fight, the stuff that really brings that record home for me especially. but that’s as far as i can go. back in 2009, when i first heard swim until you can’t see land, then a few months later nothing like you, my hopes were raised even higher coming off of midnight organ fight. and those are undeniably mixed drink’s best songs. the rest, with a few exceptions, is studio-polished bombast that only occaisionally clicks with me. texture seems to take the place of songwriting, like scott hutchison is overwhelmed with possibility about how the record should sound at the expense of memorable melodies. like living with colour: song borrows a chord progression that’s been borrowed a million other times, fine. but like i said, hutchison seems to want to get some sort of emotional triumph out of it that just isn’t there. and that’s not to say in the end it’s bad song, but it and others on the record really kind of stand out in stark contrast to the handful of really great ones. midnight organ fight didn’t have any of these problems.

            i’m just saying, when this article explains the failures of mixed drinks, i get what the author’s talking about. he’s not slagging it or saying it’s a failure as a whole, like every mixed drinks defender here seems to be so offended over. i just think mixed drinks is clearly a flawed piece of work, in some instances to me, almost tragically so.

  12. I’ve gotta back up Macklemore. Living in Washington it’s been pretty cool to follow this guy to stardom. Yeah, he’s preachy and want’s to have something to say in most of his songs, but it’s a great change from all the other big hip hop artists that rap about what kind of Supreme hat, Gucci shirts, or what kind of socks they’re wearing.

    Now, I know some people are gonna be all like, “you’re fucking stupid, Sucklemore talks about his clothing and shit in Thrift Shop”, and yes that is true but he’s also making fun of those songs. And We Danced is the same way.

    When I listen to Macklemore, I feel as though I’m listening to someone who’s trying to be an earnest artist who has something valuable to say, and a way he can reach a large amount of people. Seattle has always produced this style of “intellectual hip hop” to plainly put it, but Common Market and the Blue Scholars never really got too far with it. It’s nice to see someone from this scene finally make it.

    I just get heated when a group like Odd Future, who I do enjoy, is critically acclaimed and had the hipster stamp of approval (or at least they were when they just broke out) for rapping about raping women, killing people, etc. Now people have a problem with a guy who wrote a song about relapsing and trying to get back on track to sobriety, or a song about supporting marriage equality. So, say what you will, but Macklemore is fucking great.

    • Waka Flocka Flame supports gay marriage too. The problem is that Macklemore acts like he’s better because of it.

      • I think you’re making quite a generalization there assuming that someone thinks they’re better than everyone else when there’s very little evidence to back that up.

    • Also, the whole generalization of rappers talking about their hats or whatever is just the sort of bullshit I believe that Macklemore spreads. Look at Kendrick, who’s one of the most popular new rappers right now, and who takes on alcohol and poverty in a way where he doesn’t act like he’s above it.

      • I think it’s ridiculous that I make similar points in both these posts, but people (or robots) apparently freak out when I talk about Waka Flocka. Anyway, I’m down for a fiery debate over Macklemore, and I promise I’ll be moderately respectful.

    • I agree. I’ve gotten a little bit sick of Macklemore to be honest, but I don’t understand why he gets so much criticism. He makes simple, enjoyable songs and has a pretty good message.

    • I kind of feel like Macklemore just pandering to a certain audience. Whereas before it was “hey I’m from Seattle here’s a song where I talk about the Mariners PA guy!” Now he just aims a little bit more broadly at upper-middle class white people’s interests. If you dared to criticize the gay marriage song, for instance, people would be all “oh so you don’t like gays is that it? MACKLEMORE’S SOOOO BRAVE,” whereas I am indeed totally for gay marriage, I just thought the song was a cheesy slab of pander rap. “Thrift Shop” is the same thing, just with different tone. I fucking love thrift stores! I don’t, however, like being pandered to.

      Also I saw him live once a couple of years ago while waiting for something else at a festival and his whole schtick just really pissed me off. He had this fucking jokey party song that he did “in character” and it was just the worst. Rest of the crowd loved it though. So clearly, I’m the dick here.

  13. “This is, I think, largely because they make music that makes people feel good about themselves and about life in general. ”

    I think this is it. I’ve been trying to think of an artist that consistently releases sad/depressing material that is also at the top of the charts. I can’t. Sure, artists might release the token sad song off their album, and it’ll get big, but they need some upbeat stuff too.

    I recently, after some introspection, realized I had been listening to a lot of music (and watching movies) for the sole purpose of making me sadder (than I already was). Then I thought about how a lot of people (probably the majority) listen to music because it makes them happy or gives them ‘feel good’ vibes. They might listen to a sad song when they’re feeling down, but they don’t every single day.

    I think the difference between people who like stuff in the Top 40 and the people who don’t is that the people who don’t have a greater appreciation for this sad, ‘artfully inclined’ (like this phrase by the way) music. We don’t just listen to music for fun or to be happy. We also like for it to delve into aspects of the human condition, like despair or loneliness. Other people just don’t. Which for me makes it hard to share music with others.

    I’ve never listened to Macklemore. His name weirds me out.

    My favorite of these Deconstructings so far. Good job.

    • I like this post. However, I think you’re selling yourself short by saying you consume art to make yourself ‘sadder’. I think a lot of art that dives into more difficult issues or is more reflective just comes off as being ‘depressing’ to the general public. We probably all find great inspiration and moments of beauty in this ‘sad’ art.

    • “Did I listen to pop music because I was miserable? Or was I miserable because I listened to pop music?” – Rob Fleming

    • What happened to the sad pop songs?

      (Seriously – radio used to have them. Where’d they go?)

    • “I think this is it. I’ve been trying to think of an artist that consistently releases sad/depressing material that is also at the top of the charts.”

      Adele

  14. I can’t fucking stand Macklemore not just for the preachiness, but because it feels like he’s attacking other rappers in a really generalized Bill O’Reilly sort of way, just putting himself up as the “exception to the rule”. It’s absolute bullshit to bunch rap music up like that and claim that you’re morally better (even though it’s been done by all sorts of bullshit “conscious rappers” before him), and it just means you’re keeping down the culture you claim to rep. Also he’s a cornball.
    I never liked most rappers in that style anyway, but the fact that he gets so much attention here in the Northwest makes it just so much harder to ignore that bullshit.

    • u said it sister. everyone in missoula’s all like “that makelmore fella’s sure got sum good songs” and I’m all like “he’s a goober” and they’re like “but he’s frum de northwest and is ‘conscious’ and is funny and has talent” and i’m all like “wut is dis, 1953? talent is not a important thing nomores, u just gotta kno when to giveafuck, das wat art iz” makemole and mumferd boiz just hashin out the ageold convenshuns dat make the teenajers think about the boiz an girls they have crushes on and laugh an say “i buy a shirts at the goodwill 2″. iz the same wit the friteyrabbys an all de singersongwritrz an ‘conshus’ wrappers hoo tri 2 hard to say things wen all they got to do is just ssaaaaiiy thm u kno? realy tho when it all cumz down 2 it u cen listen to an enjoi wat u want, an if u care u can tri to understand where it cums from. iz folks tri too hard to draw dis line in sand between de good shit an de shit shit. ders no ‘good’ in art it all jus about intention and subjective experience n dialogue. ders de songs that make tha moneys an marketd get shuv down our neckz an then there’s the antithesiseees, or de reactionz. it change all tha tim. u can like de big money muzics that are sayin things if u want an u can like de bangin on pots an pans an soundz of ice meltin. our massss cultur lik dis music an so it say sumthin bout us. may b it the kitsch greenbuuurg speakz about an it just a tool for theee powerz that b to influins an mindcontrol the public. or mabe nun of the actchual music any1 likes is that great an it would takee it bein playd on the raaadio aaL the timefor us to realize it stupid. i don’t know. aslo, i read peops speek of something calld “originality”. u know thats a myth letf over frum modernism right? never existed. kix it out tha door with yr “taleent” talk, and boot dat “lyrical content” wit it. anywY wat i was trien to say is tha northwest don’t get 2 mush creditt an it anoying how mush peopls like the makenlemore here bucuz he so popullar. all those peopppples who like muusic but onllly kninda and all thes peoples wholike music alot kinda an post in thede comments sexuns of websiteslike sterojum shud jus liiiiisten to j sherri an be happy 4ever 2gether amen.

    • Criticizing rap culture =/= thinking he’s above rap culture.

      If he was really positing himself as the “exception”, why would he even bother to get people to feature on his songs? If he feels he’s so much better “morally” why would he have Schoolboy Q and Ab-Soul as features on the album? If he thinks he’s better wouldn’t he just want to do it all himself?

      You make it sound like he’s K’naan and constantly writes songs about how other rappers aren’t really that hard and what not, none of which I’ve heard Macklemore do. I’ve heard Macklemore criticize things like homophobia in hip-hop, a completely valid subject to criticize, and the obsession with sneaker culture, another perfectly valid subject to criticize, so I’m not really sure what you’re getting at here.

      • I just hear a lot of those sorts of generalizations in there. I mean, these are valid subjects to criticize, but first of all it feels like he brushes over the fact that every rapper comes from a different place and talks about different things, making it feel like he thinks rappers in general are homophobic. At this point in time, that’s not even close to true. The Odd Future guys throw homophobic slurs around intensively, but outside of that the only examples I can think of currently or older conservative christian types.
        But also, the main issue for me is that he’s so focused on criticizing Rap culture in particular, as an outsider, to an audience of people who mostly aren’t Rap fans. The fact that he wrote his anti-drug song about Syrup stands out to me. Here you have a guy whose audience is more likely to snort coke or do meth than sip syrup, and he decides to make a song criticizing a very specifically “Rap” sort of drug. This is where it starts to feel like some Bill O’Reilly shit. There are so many problems in America, with politics and violence and poverty, and here we have this middle-class pop-rapper so intent on criticizing Rap culture to an audience that mainly doesn’t know shit about Rap, and soon they’ll be criticizing Rap culture for all these social ills, just like their older, conservative, O’Reilly-watching counterparts have been doing forever.

        • But what is wrong with criticizing those things? Rap culture IN GENERAL is homophobic. Macklemore never targets any rappers in particular, so your point about everyone being different is kind of wasted. I don’t see how you can argue that there isn’t hate for gays in general rap culture. Just look at the response from people, not just rappers, but rap fans as well, with the whole Frank Ocean thing. And on the syrup, I don’t think who his typical audience is, he’s not making it for them. He’s making it in part based on his past experiences and his opinions. Lean is dangerous and I don’t see what the problem with him criticizing its use and glorification is.

          Did you ever stop to think that maybe Macklemore wasn’t necessarily making those songs for his audience? Maybe he wants to branch out to other audiences. I’d say Macklemore is a rapper first and foremost and if he wants to write about what he feels are problems in the rap community and in rap culture, I don’t see the problem.

          And “Same Love” goes a little beyond just what rappers say, it delves into rap culture in general. He mentions Youtube commenters and what not. You’re right that most rappers today don’t throw around homophobic slurs but that doesn’t mean homophobia in hip-hop isn’t an issue.

          • dude, homophobic youtube commentators are not part of rap culture, they are on every youtube video regardless of genre. there are maybe 5 comments I have seen on that entire website that are not completely braindead.

            Honestly most rapper reactions to Frank Ocean’s coming out were in support, across the board: his Odd Future buddies, Waka Flocka, Action Bronson, Russel Simmons, Cormega. Plenty of average people were homophobic, but Rap is defined by the people making the music, and a majority of those making the music aren’t homophobes.

            The entire thing where these assholes blame Rappers for spreading violence or materialism or homophobia is absolute horseshit. Rappers just talk about life as they see it, and if we actually got up off our asses and decided to help the communities in the ghetto there would be no Chief Keefs left for the Bill O’Reilly’s of the world to whine about. And until you can prove to me that Macklemore actually criticizes anything that isn’t directly related to Rap culture, he will continue to be just as backwards as O’Reilly in my mind.

  15. To some extent, this is all worth saying, but to some extent, can we just stop talking about Mumford and Sons now? I mean they’re just a pop band they’re not interesting. There’s nothing to reveal, there’s nothing deeper going on: at worst the Mumford are just a bit dim, and just about clever enough to make something marketable and popular. Have you actually listened to the lyrics? The band has nothing insightful or original to say and the production on their records is also just really boring and obvious. Can we all just agree not to talk about them anymore and focus on music that is actually interesting? Mumford have nothing to offer.

    • …aside from driving traffic to think piece posts, and in turn, enhancing the conversion rates of a site’s online advertisements ;)

  16. Is it me, or does the Mumford guy look exactly like Tim Tebow?


  17. People need to get over themselves and realize that “Thrift Shop” is pretty much on the same level as “White and Nerdy.”

  18. In response to “Which begs the question: Why these guys and not those guys? ”

    Because those guys came out of the gate with a great album. Even looking at an aggregate site you can see that those guys received a higher critical acclaim.

    I just don’t see the point of defending or even discussing this. Mumford & Sons first album was meh and their second album is less than meh. They have found a middle road between shit and great, which equals mass popularity these days.

  19. this is a topic thats hard to define. Lets be clear Mumford were not always commercial. Sigh no More was released by the band on a small label, and the band was just some small indie folk band at that point. Frightened as well are still a small indie band. Mumfords popularity has more to do with the mainstreams acceptance of indie than it does Mumford creating music to become rich and famous.

    I think pop serves a purpose thats just as important as indie music. Turning on the radio the purpose of pop music is to cheer you up. to make you feel better. To feel life affirming catchy tunes. I think the mistake is to equate this with the music being less valuable or important or complex than more independent artists. Adele proves this. And she is an exception to the “pop music is always happy”. In fact id argue she became the most important pop star on the planet precisely because her music was emotionally resonant, was sad, was angry. Yes her voice has alot to do with it too, but its notable 21 is absolutely an ANGRY record, in capital letters.

    You miss the point if you think Mumford is some band who rode the coattails of indie hype. Lots of beloved indie bands also released their first albums in 2009.

  20. In a similar line with the “Punk Rock is Bullshit.” article, all the negativity thrown at the Mumford and Macklemore’s of the world feels like a shitty misappropriation of punk ethics. It seems like we’ve thrown out all the good bits of punk (not giving a shit about what’s popular, freedom, individuality, independence) and just kept the crap bits (puritanical righteousness, us vs them). The original response of punk or any underground music to shitty pop was not to bitch about it, but to make an alternate reality where it didn’t matter, in other words a positive/creative response, not a negative one.

    File the bands in question under “Mostly Harmless”

  21. This is good…good conversation and good reading. Thanks.

    What gets me all critical is the “swag-jacking”. Chris mentioned as much about Macklemore and Slug. What makes Slug Slug is that he isn’t above what he is saying. If anything, it comes off like he’s below it and reaching up. Now you take that element out of it, and all you have is a Mackle-shell preaching about *relevant topic*.

    To me, it’s kinda like saying, I’m not a homophob, I have 3 gay friends. Or I’m not rich and privelaged, I shop at a thrift shop.

    SIDE NOTE: if the let-Macklemore-be-because-it’s-fun-music argument is ok, isn’t that going against the whole idea of Thrift Shop? I mean let the guy who wants to buy a $50 t-shirt enjoy it… just saying…

    Anyways, authenticity is what makes music great for me. When something is ripped off and not elevated, it gets tossed in the crap bin. Doesn’t mean I can’t enjoy it, but it’s just a guilty pleasure.

    And lastly, if you think Macklemore is preachy, go do a youtube search for Fake Empire – Ryan Lewis and rip your eyes out.

  22. To me, Macklemore comes off as the “hip” young motivational speaker that came to your high school to promote sobriety after D.A.R.E. had so clearly failed. You roll your eyes but at the end you can’t help but find him slightly endearing. I haven’t let the ham-fistedness of his approach keep me from enjoying songs like Thrift Shop.

  23. I like both Frightened Rabbit and Mumford (yep, I do, and it doesn’t bother me if you don’t, or do as well). But after Mumford’s second, more-of-the-same-and-not-as-good album, I know which band I would take first.
    But I GET what Mumford are trying for as much as I get what FR are – one sees the world through a glass half-full, the other’s is half empty.
    I’ve also always wondered, when talking about bands who aren’t famous but should be, about the The Frames, and Glen Hansard.

  24. I know it’s been discussed again and again but I really feel that it’s a simple matter regarding authenticity. People want the real thing, and it’s not difficult to know when you’re getting played.

    Most people that take their music listening habits seriously can see right through contrivedness of top 40/radio bullshit. It comes across in the music too. It’s pretty obvious that Mumford et all are rolling in the $ yet posturing as this small-town ‘let’s go play a jaunty tale at the local fishermens’ pub’ bullshit. Think of how many shitty bands Nirvana spawned in the 90′s, or The Strokes spawned in the 00′s. None eclipse the original, yet everyone is trying to capitalize on the market once it becomes ‘sellable’ for mass appeal. For all intents and purposes, it kills the genre once other artists jump on an archetype to make money. That’s what has happened over the past year or so with the ‘civil-war-wave’ banjo & suspenders genre. It’s cooked.

    To use another analogy, music consumption is alot like food consumption. Sure, once in awhile I’ll eat shit and like it, even though a)I know it’s shit and b)I will inevitable hate myself for it. But when you’re going out for a nice meal, you don’t want your tikka masala or sushi coming from 18 year old white dudes in the kitchen. Sure, they can get close to an ‘authentic’ product, but underneath it all you just know in your heart of hearts that it’s lacking. That’s sort of how I feel listening to the artists in question.

    • i agree people know when they are being taken for a sucker. But i still fail to see how Mumford or Frightened Rabbit fit into some careerist band. Frightened Rabbit is STILL a small indie band. They’ve gotten more exposure sure, but to link them with Mumford who are without a doubt one of the biggest bands in the world is just plain silly. I saw Frightened Rabbit in october maybe, and while they drew a crowd, it wasnt sold out, they played for a few hundred. Mumford on the other hand could easily sell out a stadium or arena. They could headline any of the major festivals.

      Mumford’s rise was slow. Slow but steady. When Sigh came out they were some major label big pop band. Sigh no more slowly rose to the top because of the buzz of NME and the like. The Brit and Mercury nominations certainly helped, and no doubt were a complete surprise to the band.

      Again, I see this way more as the trend we’ve seen over the past decade than any pop or commercial music push. Back in 2003 or so, Postal Service or Death Cab were relvatively unknown, p4k was still a well kept secret among a few dedicated fans, and alot of bands like Modest Mouse at the time were still just small bands. The landscape of indie in 2013 is vastly different. Your parents and grandparents watch the secret lives of hipsters every week on Portlandia, American Apparel promotes their clothes worldwide, and the Grammy’s have accepted indie rock as a legitmate art form. The idea of indie bands in commercials and tv and movies is now so pervasive its become hardly even noteworthy when an indie band liscences their songs for commercial use. Far from the indie world bending to the whims of coporate and commercial culture, I see it the opposite. The commercial world and the mainstream became more tolerant of indie music. It happened with every single band, Death Cab, Modest Mouse, Iron and Wine, Bright Eyes, Bon Iver, Grizzly Bear etc…

      Lets face it, Mumfords music is like U2′s or Arcade Fires or Bruces. It begs to be heard in the context of 60,000 screaming fans in some arena.

  25. Ugh. This is all really tiring to read. First of all, no one, NO ONE, is going to be talking about or thinking about Macklemore in six months. This Macklemore nonsense is the equivalent of people in 1983 arguing about whether Falco was a legitimate artist. (And Frightened Rabbit v. Mumford would be, I don’t know, Bruce Hornsby & The Range v. Huey Lewis & The News?) Just because we can have these debates (thanks, Internet) doesn’t make them useful. It seems obvious that doing this kind of Deconstructing piece is just to drive traffic, and pushes people’s buttons in a pointless way.

    These artists are also depressing in the way that they further erode the notion of indie, as whatever it used to be keeps driving to some weird middle where everything sucks in the most boring way possible. All of this is sad garbage, whether it’s Mumford or Foster the People or FUN trying to act “indie,” or “real” indie acts like Bon Iver and Father John Misty putting out adult contemporary crap for the masses under a phony indie banner.

    • I wouldn’t call Father John Misty adult contemporary whatsoever….and why would you use him as an example when he’s nowhere as big as Bon Iver (Who I’d also argue against that adult contemporary label, but nonetheless).

    • I gave you a thumbs up on the basis of most of your argument. However, Father John Misty is one that will live on. Rock n Roll is not “adult contemporary crap”, Fear Fun will be one of those albums that lives on beyond its years.

  26. Whole article was summed up in this one sentence:

    One cynical answer is that indie rock listeners will like or dislike whomever the tastemakers tell them to…

    That’s the bottom line. Somehow the arbiters of taste on this site (and Pitchfork etc) have decided that Justin Timberlake, who was on the friggin Mickey Mouse Club and in N’Sync, is ‘cool’ but Mumford is not? Really? And Beyonce’s younger sister gets a pass too, cause she like Grizzly Bear. Come on. It’s ridiculous.

    We’re all sheep….

    • i disagree. while i too think the hatred of mumford is silly, the tastemakers putting their spotlight on pop stars as opposed to some unknown band I think is good. Too often i think indie fans would typically ignore a JT or a Beyonce or a Solange or The Weeknd or whoever precisely because they are mainstream and pop. So if p4k or stereogums praise wins over some fans from our side I think thats only a good thing. I also think the fact that JT, Beyonce and Solange are all talented and make great music also has something to do with it. The idea that p4k or stereogum only hypes unknown indie bands is false. One of the most hyped albums last year was Jessie Ware who is straight up pop. Again, this has way more to do with mainstream music and culture embracing indie than it does indie culture selling out. The fact that JT’s album is undeniably influenced by one of the indie worlds biggest superstars-Frank Ocean-also illustrates this to a degree. JT’s listening to the same stuff we are.

  27. I suppose my issue with Macklemore is the “hey there I’m flying up above you” attitude we put on a lot of artists. And it does come off as corny. The “im irish” song is ridiculous, some white dude treating Ireland like it’s the motherland, who’s not even from the Bronx or Boston (SEATTLE!) and rapping with the belief that he is continuing Ireland’s great literary tradition. It’s completely bonkers, and trite.

    • Or if you actually listen to the song he’s using the thought of an “Irish Celebration” with everyone in a pub drinking and having a good time and turning into something that’s for more than just being Irish.

      Sometimes y’all think just a little bit too hard about stuff, there’s nothing really serious about “Irish Celebration”. And whats wrong with him being proud of being an Irish-American?

      Also didn’t realize that Irish-Americans were only allowed to be from the Bronx or Boston.

      • The Irish emigrated from boston and the bronx to all over the world, like Ireland, Seatle and Whales. So Irish Americans, since they were spawned there, are only allowed to be from boston or the bronx.

  28. My roommate loves both Macklemore and Mumford. He tells me he’s really inspired by their lyrics. I never have the heart to tell him that they’re not actually as good as he thinks they are. I don’t hate Macklemore or Mumford but what I dislike about them is their oblivious self-adulation as if they are the only artists out right now with the self-awareness and social awareness to write about gay rights or to write lyrics vague and general enough to come off as genuine in many peoples’ eyes. I think the problem with today’s music is that people unable or too lazy to discover something deeper than the traditional pop/club music they have grown tired if listening to believe they have found their saviors in artists like Macklemore or Mumford, completely unaware that Mumford and Macklemore themselves have no sense of their own identity. So if you want to go ahead and believe that Mumford and Macklemore create truly genuine music, go ahead, but ask yourself whether these artists are really attempting to convey their own experiences or cater to the experiences of music listeners like yourself.

  29. More than anything, I still just think Mumford & Sons is a shitty band who writes shitty and generic music. I still to this day have trouble telling any one song of theirs from the other. It doesn’t help that they dress like turn of the century theme park employees, but at the end of the day, it’s just shitty, uninteresting music.

    Macklemore, Frightened Rabbit: Good shit.

  30. love how they’re positioning it like FR came AFTER Mumford. FR put out their first album 3 years before Mumford…

  31. death cab for cutie have been and always will be my favorite band but the midnight organ fight is one of the most emotionally crippling records i have ever listened to, listen to floating in the forth especially or anything on the damn record, to all those writing off scott and fr. Get a clue ya fucks

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