Column by Avery Gregurich
Gregurich is a first-year English major and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Unless you have been living under a fairly large rock for the past few months, you have probably heard the The Lumineers’ “Ho Hey” somewhere. The song was a smash this summer and peaked at number three on the Billboard singles chart. Its popularity played an obvious role in their eponymous debut album being certified Gold. But to assume that “Ho Hey” is the only noteworthy song on the album would be to make a terrible mistake; there is much more beyond “Ho Hey.”
The album opens with a simple acoustic guitar riff and never really gets more complex from there, which is the explicit goal. “Flowers in Your Hair” is a nostalgic ode to a love that has passed, with singer/guitarist Wesley Schultz prophesying that “It’s a long road to wisdom, and a short one to being ignored.” “Submarines” is a piano driven tune that portrays a man blessed with an incredible knowledge that no one will believe. “Dead Sea” finds a man on a platform who has been nicknamed The Dead Sea because his now-missing love said that she would never sink if she was with him. “Stubborn Love” makes perhaps the most honest statement on the entire record with Schultz harmonizing with cellist/singer Neyla Pekarek and percussionist Jeremiah Fraites, saying, “It’s better to feel pain than nothing at all, the opposite of love’s indifference.” You can’t help but to believe them.
The best song on the album, both musically and lyrically, comes in the form of “Big Parade.”Hand claps, piano chords and harmonies open this tune which discusses everything from blue-eyed politicians, hung-over beauty queens, and questioning priests.
Throughout the 43-minute album, there is a sense of unstated reserve. The acoustic guitars, drums, violins, pianos and voices never get excessively loud. They fulfill their purposes and let the lyrics speak for themselves. This is folk music at its finest. Nothing flashes or shines. There are no polished computerized vocals or sounds. The band makes no attempt at being something they are not.
This rustic, honest approach was a much desired switch from current pop music trends, as indicated by their two Grammy nominations. Don’t make the mistake of writing The Lumineers off as one-hit wonders. Go pick up their album and find out exactly why they will be around for a while.