Babel - Mumford & Sons
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 130 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 95 out of 130
  2. Negative: 27 out of 130

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  1. Dec 28, 2013
    Mumford & Sons follow up their very decent debut with more of the same. While the album isn't bad at all, the biggest complaint is that it doesn't really build on what has gone before, dishing up a very similar formula to the one which proved so successful on their debut. If this was their debut, I reckon people would be admiring it to an extent but unfortunately it's not. The saying "If it aint broke don't fix it" isn't really applicable when it comes to music and art in general. I wouldn't go as far as to say the band knocked this album out for the money but I can equally understand why people level that criticism at them.

    The records best moments come along early and offers little after the first third of the record. Could have done better really, but all said and done not bad.
  2. Nov 11, 2012
    I really liked their debut, but this is just a boring instauration from 'Sigh No More'. Instead of rememberable rhythms and interesting lyrics, almost every song on 'Babel' sounds the same. You have to have really low expectations to be not disappointed with this release. Their single "I Will Wait" is the only really good song in here, the rest is pretty poor. But I'll give an extra point because of their style, which is nice. I like them but this album is nothing. It's really boring and so are the lyrics. They don't tell anything! However, it's not that bad, but you won't miss anything if you don't listen to 'Babel'. Expand
  3. Nov 24, 2012
    I absolutely LOVE their debut Sigh No More. One of my favorite popular albums of 2009. Despite this however, I detected some hints of redundancy structurally on it, which I hoped they'd fix on their sophomore album. Spoiler alert: THEY DIDN'T! Now you'd think I, as a Mumford & Sons fan, would be thrilled that they'd release an album that sounds exactly like their debut. But that's not how I listen to music. I want bands to develop. I want bands to evolve. I want bands to experiment stylistically. Or if they don't, they should at least keep their sound interesting. Sadly, none of this happens. Instead we get a watered-down, boring, predictable & rehashed version of their debut without nearly as many memorable melodies & lyrics. Even when they did this repetitive formula on Sigh No More, they at least either gave songs different emotional vibes or (to some extent) different musical styles, or at least made them catchy enough that I wouldn't mind. Here, it's nearly all the same, but this time with a slight hint of overproduction that makes a lot of the instruments just bleed together a lot of the time. There's only a few songs here where something actually sticks in your head or makes any real impact. The rest of the time it's somewhat poetic yet predictable lyrics with themes we've already heard over & over on previous Mumford & Sons songs (HE SAYS THE WORD "HEART" IN 9/12 OF THE SONGS ON THE STANDARD EDITION!) combined with forgettable instrumentation & melodies that rarely even try to be catchy, but when they do it's not nearly enough to save it from mediocrity. And even sometimes when the melodies themselves are good, they don't get good until the structure they've confined themselves in will allow it to be good. Sometimes it doesn't get good until the loud part, or sometimes it stops being good at the loud part. Heck, Reminder is the only song here that stays in one mode, and it's absolutely gorgeous! The bonus tracks For Those Below & Where Are You Now also deviate a little, and they'd be very refreshing to hear on the standard edition. And holy crap, can Winston please play more than one banjo picking pattern?! It's the same one on every song! Now if there's one thing I can say is a constant positive throughout Babel, it's that Marcus' vocals most of the time have a lot of passion & sincerity, which makes it even more sad that he insists on using them on these bland tracks There were even times when I wished I could've been there at the recording sessions to tell him to sing a particular melody in a slightly different way to make it better. Bottom line: okay album but it's very fair to say they've stagnated big-time with this one. Please, Mumford & Sons, try something different next time. Doesn't have to be a complete stylistic transformation but still, do something more interesting than this. The "dramatic buildup" gimmick is getting old. Favorite tracks (in order): I Will Wait, Reminder, Babel, Hopeless Wanderer, Lover of the Light, For Those Below (bonus track), Broken Crown, Holland Road. Least favorite tracks: All the other ones. None are really "bad" though. Just boring, even if they're notable lyrically (i.e. Ghosts That We Knew & Not With Haste). Overall score: 62/100 Expand
  4. Feb 20, 2013
    Mumford Sons. Sons of b*tches. C'mon, expected at least something better from them. So sad. Can't believed they won the Grammy over Frank Ocean. I call it, wasted effort.
  5. Jun 6, 2013
    Mumford continues to reunite society with a lost sound of music. Instead of the annoying and irritating hip hop and pop, and artists such as Lil Wayne and Maroon 5. Mumford and Sons bring folk music storming back with one of the best albums in the 2010's
  6. Oct 6, 2012
    Yes, they made a great album and i'm glad that the public recognize it and the perfect first week sales are reflecting the hard work to make this album named "Babel". Favourite tracks: Babel, Hopeless Wanderer, The Boxer and Lover's Eyes. Buy this on iTunes, worth so much !
  7. Mar 14, 2014
    Repetitive. When I heard the title track, I was excited. It kept me juiced for three minutes, and it became horridly boring. It becomes unbearable to listen to after I Will Wait, and extremely forgettable while it's at it. Though the album has good songs, as a whole it was unsatisfying.
  8. Sep 25, 2012
    I will just quote "It truly is awful."!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  9. Feb 10, 2013
    I was trying not to give this album a 0 however, it has literally no redeeming values. Even if I were to like one of their songs, would I like it enough to hear the same song repeated for the length of an entire album? The answer is simply no. However, that would be potentially tolerable if the one song itself was acceptable yet it isn't. Each song is increasingly predictable with repetitive banjo riffs and weak vocals. This is only compounded with lyrics that seem like they came out of a 14 year old who just finished reading his first Shakespeare play. Do yourself a favour. Listen to one of their songs (which will essentially be like listening to the entire album). Realize how terrible it is and then never speak of it again. Expand
  10. Mar 22, 2013
    Mumford & Sons are one of the best folk bands on earth and this album is interesting and good to listen. However I noticed that some songs have almost the same instrumental performance.
    I think that they should be more original with the instrumental aspect because with the voice the band has no problems. I really like Marcus Mumford's voice! The instrumental part is essential in every
    song and if they start to be uninteresting about it some new folk artists that are appearing now in the industry can become better and most succeeded Expand
  11. Jul 5, 2013
    The Sophomore Slump. Mumford and Sons have produced an album that sounds truly lazy compared to their debut, Sigh No More. Better luck next time, I suppose.
  12. Sep 26, 2012
    I know dat fool da shrimp be loving this album........but imo they are very fake as a band and their lyrics are at an elementary school's intro to poetry class level. Many people becuase of when they both rose in popularity compare these guys to The Avett Brothers. That to me is a joke. Avetts are better in about every way but lets just start with more complex lyrics with true meaning and understanding. M&S are no different to Americana Folk music as Coldplay is to top 40. Both are fakes who are not near as original or talented as the zombie like media following both have would lead you to believe. Word. Expand
  13. Apr 4, 2014
    this has nothing to do with the album . there song i will wait is amazing, thats all i half to say . GradeA++++++++++++++ . best country band ever ......................
  14. Sep 26, 2012
    I'm surprised that this isn't getting better ratings by both critics and users...overall, the album plays MUCH better than "Sigh No More." I understand it doesn't have tracks like "Sign No More", "The Cave" or "Little Lion Man," but it also doesn't have songs that are skip worthy (such as "Dustbowl Dance"). On top of that, "Below My Feet" may be one of their best tracks yet. Yeah, it all kind of sounds the same but that's the Mumford we've come to know and love, there are a few new elements to make this a great album. Expand
  15. Sep 25, 2012
    Screw the critics. Just like last time, they are wrong about Mumford and Sons, this album is amazing. It's unapologetically hipsterific, and I love it. If you don't like Pabst Blue Label, or don't have horn rimmed glasses, this album is not for you.
  16. Feb 1, 2013
    Almost the same instrumental performance in every song makes the album sound like one song's different versions. So totally no need to listen to the whole album but the only brilliant track "I will wait".Actually, there isn't a song that is awful, but except "I will wait", not even a song that is memorable.
  17. Sep 21, 2013
    Firstly it has to be said that it's a less "organic" sounding album. It's much more produced. Now if you don't like that, you obviously will think less of this than of "Sigh No More" which is the general opinion.
    That said, I disagree completely. It's a better album than "Sigh No More".

    It's easy to pass to this off as "all sounding the same", which of course you'll see in a lot of
    reviews. But that's an overstatement, oversimplified even. For one, you'll find than in most bands people tend to play the same instruments.. I know, shocker -we'll just ignore Mumford & Sons multi-instrumentalist members for a moment. But most of all most songs aren't even all that similar to one another. You can take one song and compare to another, maybe 2. And so on. But that can be done with every album. It's what comes with playing in a certain style.

    There's a lot of build-ups, yes -I'll refer to them as "Big Climaxes". Build-ups being a very key factors of music, I'm surprised so people find it negative. They're well done & well produced. They sound great! How can you not love the moment where Below My Feet breaks open, fully anthemic!

    I Will Wait & Holland Road are probably the most (actually/genuinely) similar songs on the album -pretty much like Little Lion Man & White Black Page we're on "Sigh No More". Both move towards that "Big Climax". Both are very warm sounding songs.. and both are 2 very good songs! Holland Road being the better in my opinion.
    Babel can be added those the other to as being very similar, but I'm not a big fan of Babel; the song.

    Ghosts That We Knew is more subdued song, and pretty one at that. It's very gentle & only gets marginally bigger as the song progresses. It's not as soft & sweet Reminder, one of the highlights of the album, though.

    Now Whispers in the Dark, Lover of the Light & Lover's Eyes can pretty much be paired together. All 3 are pretty bright songs. They're not my favorites, but good songs not the less.

    Hopeless Wanderer & Broken Crown are two of the darker songs (compare them to I Gave You All and Thistle & Weeds) and are 2 of the best songs on the album. Broken Crown is some of the best songwriting on the album -maybe THE best- despite the misfire that is "I f*cked it all away". Hopeless Wanderer starts with a piano part that has a sense of yearning, which makes up the verse, with some added accompaniment. The chorus goes into full on acoustic rock & a rhythm change that tends to catch you off guard. This ones "Big Climax" does not sound as warm & open as other songs on the record though. It sounds more shrill & edgy.

    Below My Feet is the "Arena Anthem". It's a favorite of mine.

    Not With Haste is a slower song, comparable to Ghosts That We Knew in that aspect.. but different. Yearning rather than nostalgic & soaring rather than subdued, but never the point of the "Big Climax". Far from it.
    The same can be said about For Those Below -it being slower. It has a very different melodic-style than anything else Mumford & Sons. It's probably my least favorite song on the (Deluxe Edition) album though.

    The cover of The Boxer is a very good one. Collaborating with Paul Simon himself & Jerry Douglas, a resonator & pedal steel-guitarist. It's as said a very good cover, great production, great harmonies & some great leads of Jerry Douglas.

    Where Are You Now. Another slowed down song, most akin to Ghosts That We Knew. It never gets big, with very subdued strumming & warm sounding guitar(s). It's lamenting & it's beautiful. A great song to end the (Deluxe Edition) album.

    In the end (of this long review), I'll can only repeat. It's sound is more(/better) produced, rather than the more organic sound of "Sigh No More". But it genuinely is a better album. It's bigger, warmer, it has the a festival vibe, just like "Sigh No More" had.. And there's really no better album to listen to on nice sunny days. The feel is perfect for that.
  18. Feb 3, 2014
    I loved "Sigh No More". It was a great album with some great music. That's why I was looking forward to listen to their next studio effort, "Babel". Honestly, it sounds just like their previous album. It's just that this one has more songs. There just isn't much difference in the instrumentals. (That obviously means that they're consistent with their music, which is very good.) If I had heard of Mumford & Sons for the first time because of THIS album, I would have definitely liked it more. The fact is, I've heard all this before, on their debut, "Sigh No More".
    The reason I'm giving this a 7 is because I like this genre of music, and it's a good album on its own.
    Congratulations on winning "Album of the Year" for this, M&S!
  19. Jun 26, 2013
    The amount of criticism this album has received seems completely unfair while i agree the band could have aimed for something new its only their second album and when reviewed on its own merits i fail to see the problem.

    Babel is a good album with catchy songs in keeping with their folk-rock style that's appealing to a wide range of audiences.
  20. Sep 26, 2012
    Babel is, unfortunately, worse than Sigh no More. But that doesn´t make it bad in any way. It´s, from a critical standpoint, a solid album. Its BIG difference from Sigh No More is that Babel is really forgettable (in the sense that it isn´t really catchy as its predecessor) and can very oftenly get boring. Songs are kinda same sounding and don´t seem as diverse in melody as the first album. In this regard, the album is bordering poor.

    However, the positives outshine the negatives in Babel. Lyrically, it´s a 10 out of 10. As always the band puts together amazing poetry to the songs. The first one depended heavily on influence by Shakespear´s writing, as well as quoting from the bible a couple of times. Babel improves on this, shaking off the dependence and making great lyrics from scratch. Song structure is also improved, changing up the verse-chorus-verse-chorus-bridge-chorus structure which was EVERYWHERE in Sigh No More. Babel is much more varied in that sense. Production is also a bit "cleaner" than in Sigh No More. If this is positive or negative depends on the listener.

    All in all, while I´d give Sigh No More a 9.1, Babel is more of a 7.7 (8 here in Metacritic, I guess). But while Sigh No More could be listened several times, Babel I doubt I personally will hear much more. It is critically good, but isn´t really memorable. Maybe it´ll grow on me later, but for now, it´s kind of a disappointment.
  21. Dec 15, 2012
    This album was wonderful! Surprising, happy, sad, large-scale, sometimes all in the same song! The melodies from the vocals and the instruments and the harmonies are a definite plus in this album. The songwriting was wonderful, every song was a joy to listen to...from a music standpoint. My only problem here are the lyrics. Especially in the title track the lyrics were repetitive and un-entertaining. Other than that, the album was a fun and exhilarating ride. This was a very worthy follow up to the wonderful "Sigh No More" which was also great fun. Great stuff, thanks to Mumford & Sons! 8/10. Expand
  22. Sep 25, 2012
    Mumford & Sons are back and better than ever! This is an excellent sophomore album from this wonderful back band from England. It is better than Sigh No More? Probably not better, but just as good. I am currently on my 5th listen and I absolutely love it.
  23. Sep 25, 2012
    Mumford and Sons shot to fame after their first album
  24. Sep 27, 2012
    From end to end this album is filled with emotion and nonstop thrills. I fined the criticism that Mumford repeats the same sound over and over as completely ridiculous. From the first track, Babel, to the last, Not with Haste, the sounds evolve, change, and end with a completely satisfied idea. The variation really shows the maturation of this band and the flawless execution of this album should leave everyone excited for not only the things to come, but the fact that we a witnessing a very special band. Expand
  25. Nov 29, 2012
    It's kind of British country music, and the band made it so popular. The instruments and the rugged voice goes in harmony, it cheers me up, just love it.
  26. Sep 29, 2012
    This album is definitely more polished than the first. Babel stands up well to Sigh No More with no less than 8 great tracks. "Lovers' Eyes" and "Hopeless Wanderer" being good enough to rival "The Cave" and "Little Lion Man". Pick up this album and you won't be disappointed!
  27. Sep 25, 2012
    They've taken what made them unique and good before, and polished it to such a fine sheen that you can hear your own soul in their music. This is the best thing that's happened to the modern music scene in quite a while. I wasn't a fan of their earlier music, even though I liked it somewhat, but I just can't get over this album. Lyrically profound, dynamically perfect and played with such energy and conviction you just can't help wanting to sing along.

    Best taken with long drives in the countryside, sitting at the seaside or looking out on nature.
  28. Oct 10, 2012
    Excellent album! Thought it would be hard to top their breakout album Sigh No More but this one comes real close. Amazing sophmore release. I haven't stopped listening to it since I received it two weeks ago. Solid from beginning to end. Noteworthy tracks include "I Will Wait," "Holland Road," "Hopeless Wanderer," "Broken Crown," and For Those Below." If you enjoyed Sigh No More go get this album! Expand
  29. Sep 25, 2012
    Is it anything new? Not really. But did they perfect the old? Hell yes! It is everything I have come to love from Mumford and Sons, and maybe a little more. One day they will need to change it up, but not today.
  30. Nov 5, 2012
    DaGuruDette knows little about the sheer brilliance of music. The songs a catchy with heartfelt feeling and the lyrics sublime. This is /Mumford & Sons at their very best. Sigh No More was the intro. This is the main story.
  31. Sep 25, 2012
    As an almost 60-year old dad of 5 very music-centric kids, and a former musician and producer myself, I hear tons of
  32. Sep 27, 2012
    Mumford & Sons have continued from their previous album Sigh No More with deep hitting emotional lyrics and strong acoustic backing with the guitar and banjo. For lovers of their first hit album Bable will continue to impress, yet it feels like the boys of Mumford and Sons haven
  33. Sep 27, 2012
    This is such a refreshing album! After hearing some of the complaints of this album it's like people didn't know what to expect from this band! They are a folk-rock band, why are people surprised that they released an album that has drawn so much reference and style from other folk bands! It is a mixture of powerful and heavy set songs that make you want to just move, and some amazingly heartfelt ballads. It is not quite the perfect album that "Sigh No More" was but it I would happily listen to this over the mediocrity of modern music, the senseless and endless drones that you hear on the radio (Guetta, Skrillex, Rita Ora et al)

    Each song has a different meaning to the last and as a complete album the deluxe version is simply beautiful!
  34. Oct 10, 2012
    Didn't they just release this same album three years ago? Do you have anything new to say Mr. Mumford? It sure doesn't sound like it. Even then, it was mediocre at best, now it's just laughable. This is not "hipster." This is drivel. One point for effort.
  35. Oct 26, 2012
    Huge mumford and sons fan! I give it a nine, I would give it a ten but it seems to be lacking in some songs. Lyrics are great because they actually mean something. Those that judge it based on lyrics because they like rappers and other, in my mind, music with no meaning just talking about smoking and drinking should probably not even review a band like mumford and sons because it is a totally different form of musical quality and meaning. Not upset at all with this album but I can see why some people are, maybe mumford and sons isn't for you. But to me its relaxing and refreshing and has a powerful lyrics, don't expect anything different from a full hearted band like mumford and sons. One word, Amazing! Expand
  36. Nov 4, 2012
    It's a very "if it aint broke, don't fix it album". Mumford sticks to the strengths that made them an international success with Sigh No More. Babel has an "arena-folk" type feel to it with a few very catchy tunes. The songs range from darker biblical inspired themes to catchy and fun stomp-your-feet-to-the-beat tunes. If your a fan of Mumford and Sons this is a good buy. If your not a fan of Mumford and Sons well that is your right and no judgement is passed on you by me. Expand
  37. Dec 18, 2012
    First, I have to say that this is not a bad album, at all. In fact, the lyrics are great, the rythms catchy and the vocals are amazing. That being said, I'm a tad disappointed in this record. I knew the band would not change their style (and I would not want that by any means), but my opinion is that there is such a redundancy in the songs, that not only do I feel like almost all the tracks sound the same, it also feels like it could be "Sigh no more - part 2". I LOVED Sigh no more, so that's not the issue, but I wish they'd have explored, or innovate their potential. In fact, I feel as if after their success with their first album, they were aiming more radio-time, more exposure (I can't criticize them for that, though), which lead to somewhat catchy, less original songs... less M&S, to be short. I do think the songs, individually, are good. The issue is when you listen to the whole album, it feels repetitive. After listening to the record, I only felt like putting "Sigh no more" back on my turntable... Sadly, I expected more of their second album, especially since I loved their first one so much. All in all, this is a good album, great songs, great vocals and intrumental bits, BUT it feels like an arena-based album, less original, more catchy, more encline to meet everyone's tastes. I love this band, so I really wish they don't become another not-so original indie band losing their originality to fit the radio mold. Still, I'm not disappointed I bought the vinyl: good album, just not up to expectations! Expand
  38. Mar 26, 2013
    If it's possible to be better than perfect, then this certainly is as it's better than Sigh No More. Influences from touring rub off on the album whilst brilliantly complimenting their unique style, the lyrics are uncompareable and the overall feel of the album is magnificent. Don't fix what aint broken.

Generally favorable reviews - based on 33 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 12 out of 33
  2. Negative: 3 out of 33
  1. Oct 17, 2012
    Babel is the more subtle and accomplished album. [No. 92, p.56]
  2. Oct 10, 2012
    For those who never liked That Guy Who Plays Acoustic Guitar At The Party, Babel's gonna sound like the dentist's drill. For others, this still may be the point at which you put down your makeshift tambourine, get up from the half-circle and find a better room in the party house.
  3. Oct 4, 2012
    It's certainly not a departure from the band's debut, but rather a continuation.