Music Favorites: Sigh No More

The music: Mumford & Sons: Sigh No More  (Released 2009)

You may have heard:  “Little Lion Man”

Even better than that:  “White Blank Page,” “Awake My Soul,” “Thistle & Weeds”

Why it nourishes my soul: The first song I heard from Mumford & Sons was “Roll Away Your Stone.”  A class I took for my masters degree, Building Classroom Communities, changed my life.  The instructor, Marty, guided us through community building as a group ourselves, and we learned how to apply the practices in our own classrooms.  As a result of the deep trust and connections that we built, many of us touched deep traumas in our past with healing.  The final project was very open-ended, and one of my classmates made a slide show set to “Roll Away Your Stone” about her marriage.  I loved it and I jotted down the lyrics so I could find the song again.  Shortly after that final class, I bought Sigh No More so I could have more.

This album is full of lyrics that ignite memories of Shakespeare and scripture.  The first line of the first song is: “Serve God, love me, and mend.”  Yes…Much Ado About Nothing, right away in the first breath of the album.  “There will be a time, you’ll see / With no more tears / And love will not break your heart / But dismiss your fears” … I can’t add any words to that.  “If only I had an enemy bigger than my apathy, I would have won” … Let that one plant itself in your mind for awhile.

The musical landscape of Sigh No More feels like it has its roots in English folk music, and maybe a little bit of bluegrass.  The harmony and chord progressions are both familiar and fresh, that perfect balance of comfortable and engaging.  The feel is beautifully melancholy and cathartic.  Without any words at all, “Thistle & Weeds” would still entangle itself in my inner world after a few repeats.

Bonus listening:  Watch “Awake My Soul” live in a backyard.  Watch Mumford & Sons sing the old hymn “Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing” live.


About Music Favorites:

“Talking about music is like dancing about architecture.”  (Elvis Costello)  But I’m going to go ahead and do it anyway.  Read all my Music Favorites here.


Music Favorites: The 20/20 Experience

The music: Justin Timberlake: The 20/20 Experience – The Complete Experience (Released in two parts, March 2013 and September 2013)

You may have heard:  “Suit & Tie,” “Mirrors,” “Not a Bad Thing”

Even better than those:  “Strawberry Bubblegum,” “Amnesia,” “True Blood,” “Drink You Away,” “Murder”

Why it nourishes my soul:  I found Justin Timberlake + The Tennessee Kids on Netflix in October, and it has basically been on repeat in my house ever since.  Live music has a magical quality for me – it makes me love the album version more than I did before I heard the song live.  I’ve been a noticer, an enjoyer, of JT’s radio singles forever.  But now I’m definitely a fan.

The “sonic landscape” of The 20/20 Experience has been a balm to my soul for the last couple of months.  The sound has a cohesive quality from the first song to the last, and yet, everything is completely different.  “Pusher Love Girl” takes my imagination immediately to the Rat Pack.  “Blue Ocean Floor” is ethereal and beautifully surreal.  “Drink You Away” is better than most of what’s on country radio.  And “Not a Bad Thing” is perfect in its catchy-ness, and follows the pop formula exactly – and the lyrics are probably my favorite on the whole album.  I think the variety is what holds my attention in this album.  I’m impressed with JT’s ability to create something new, completely different from anything he has created before.  From one album to the next, you can hear that he continues to learn, discover, and create new concepts each time.

Bonus listening:  Definitely watch Justin Timberlake + The Tennessee Kids on Netflix.  You won’t be disappointed.  JT singing “(Sittin’ On) The Dock of the Bay” at the White House is an amazing display of his vocal skill and his passion for Memphis soul.  His collaboration with Chris Stapleton at the 2015 CMAs is so good.  And he and Matt Morris sang “Hallelujah” together for a Hope for Haiti event.

About Music Favorites:

“Talking about music is like dancing about architecture.”  (Elvis Costello)  But I’m going to go ahead and do it anyway.  Read all my Music Favorites here.

Over winter break, on several trips back and forth across the state to see family and friends, I listened to a LOT of music.  I indulged my recent obsessions and revisited old favorites.  I realized that I would love to keep a record, somehow, of the music that feels like it feeds my soul.  But I don’t want just a list…I want to talk about why each album means so much to me.  It’s so very personal.  My love for a song or an album grows out of simply repeated listens, how the music and lyrics make me feel, how a little piece of one song will be stuck in my head for a few days and speak to every situation I find myself experiencing.  That kind of soul-deep connection should be expressed.