Song of the day 9/13

Posted: September 13, 2011 in J.C. Personal
Tags: ,

Today’s song is called “The Cave” and comes to us from the UK folk rock band Mumford & Sons. The third single from the album “Sigh No More” was released on Feb 26, 2010 and reached number 27 on the Billboard Hot 100 and had sold over 1,000,000 digital copies. The album “Sigh No More” is the 10th most digitally-downloaded album of all time in the U.S.

Formed in 2007, all members of the band are proficient in multiple instruments, from guitar, drums and keyboards to more traditional folk instruments such as banjo, mandolin and resonator guitar. The band is named for front man Marcus Mumford and is meant to bring about a sense that it is an “antiquated family business name”.

After gaining a modest following in the UK, Mumford and Sons and their producer decided it was time to record an album. The only problem, the band didn’t own instruments and the producer turned them away.

Fast forward to 2010 and the little folk band from West London earned Grammy nominations for Best New Artist and Best Rock Song. They did not win either award, but they did play “The Cave” at the Grammys.

Mumford and Sons have said repeatedly that their favorite part of being musicians is the live show. Their live shows are energetic, with members regularly changing instruments, but each band member strives to make a personal connection with the audience.

“The Cave” is a beautiful and layered song filled with metaphor and allusions to the Homeric epic, The Odyssey. The lyrics: “So tie me to a post and block my ears… So make your siren’s call and sing all you want,” point to Odysseus requesting that his men tie him to the mast and plug their own ears so as not to succumb to the Sirens’ song.

The song also references Plato’s Allegory of the cave where people live their lives chained to the wall of a cave, facing a blank wall. The shadows that are projected to the blank wall become their reality. It freed, the people would not recognize the things that produce the shadows. This is a very condensed version of the allegory, but basically it is difficult to identify something outside of your frame of reference and also difficult to identify contributing factors to a situation from inside the situation.
Honestly, I feel that the song is too layered to ascribe a direct meaning. Everyone will take a different meaning away from this song. I’ll leave you with the ending of the song and you will see what I mean.

“Because I need freedom now, and I need to know how to live my life as it’s meant to be. And I will hold on hope, and I won’t let you choke on the noose around your neck. And I’ll find strength in pain and I will change my ways, I’ll know me name as it’s called again.”

That’s one of the great things about an art like songwriting. It can and will mean different things to different people. So weather you see this one as a break up song and the speaker’s awakening from the situation or if you see it as an attempt to save someone else from their situation, or whatever meaning you ascribe, you’re probably right.

See ya on the “B” side.

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