In fact, here are some takeaways from their music that any creative person could apply:
1) Never underestimate the power of a well-placed expletive.
There is something powerful about a well-placed cuss word that doesn’t evoke the same sentiment as saying “darn” or “shoot.”
Of course, the temptation is to overuse profanity, which robs these words of their potency. When I listen to “Little Lion Man,” and Marcus delivers that powerful F-bomb (“I really f*$%d it up this time, didn’t I, my dear?”), I feel the failure that he is singing about. It’s honest and emotive.
2) Everyone loves stories, especially epic ones.
We all love a good story. When I listen to “The Cave” I am taken back to another time – a time of struggle and pain, of war and famine. I’m not even sure what the song is about, but there is this tension that unfolds musically, ultimately resolving in triumph:
“I’ll find strength in pain? And I will change my ways ?I’ll know my name as it’s called again.”
As the harmonized voices conclude the song, you can sense resolution. Whatever conflict the character was facing in the narrative has been overcome, and you can feel it in the music. With art, how you say something is just as important as what you say.
3) Transparency is essential to building trust.
Mumford’s songs are full of brokenness – sung by a man who has seen the dark side of life. They’re not unrealistically optimistic, but neither are they overly pessimistic. They speak to the real hardships and struggles of life that we all face.
As a writer, I’m learning that being able to relate to my audience honestly by sharing my own shortcomings is essential to building trust.