“I think music in itself is healing. It’s an explosive expression of humanity. It’s something we are all touched by. No matter what culture we’re from, everyone loves music.”
-Billy Joel “
I think Billy Joel’s quote perfectly describes what music means to the average person. Music lends itself to our souls and hearts and intensifies what we are feeling and enhances our situation. It doesn’t matter where the music comes from, if it is approached in the right way and is given the proper soundboard for listeners to hear it, someone out there will find something special in it.
In the 1960s, there was a phenomenon called the British Invasion where popular British bands were becoming popularized in the United States. This saw bands like “The Beatles,” “The Rolling Stones,” and “The Who” brought into musical prominence in the U.S.
Again, in the 1980s, there was second invasion of British music that saw the endorsement of bands like, “Duran Duran,” “Elvis Costello,” and most notably, “The Police.”
Another 20 years later, and here we are with a new set of popular individuals and bands garnering attention all over the world as well as in the U.S. “Mumford and Sons,” “Florence + The Machine,”…and lets not forget the most popular singer from across the pond right now, “Adele.” In no way is the latter group being put in the same spotlight as the former two groups…yet.
- Mumford and Sons
“Mumford and Sons” garnered immediate attention following the release of their debut album, “Sigh No More,” (2009 UK; 2010 U.S. and Canada) and with the successful release of their latest album, “Babel (2012),” affirmed that they are a talented band and will be fun to listen to as we get to see where their future takes them. Headed by Marcus Mumford, the band seems to be enjoying making their music, but at the same time they’re humble about the success and popularity they have received. In an interview with Marcus and Ted Dwane, they seem to be shy about their success and play if off as no big deal, because it was something that started out as fun, and their talent made them more popular than they ever imagined.
It’s not common for bands to have members who play so many different instruments (drums, mandolin, banjo, mandolin guitar, resonator guitar, accordion, keyboards, piano, and string bass) that add so many different elements to their songs, which is probably why they’ve been so successful–it’s like listening to a different song each time. Having so many instruments lets them sound more unique and allows for different moods to be strongly captured. With so much different sounds to their ensemble, they can easily find people who will listen to them and relate to their songs.
When listening to the band live, it’s like playing out the stereotype about pubs–everyone is drinking together, singing together and embracing the music.
- Florence + The Machine
Another band that’s been successful in America is “Florence + The Machine” (or “Florence and The Machine”). Unlike the previous band, “Florence + The Machine” has a different musical sound that reaches a different group of fans. This may be possible because Florence Welch, the face of the band, writes her best music when she’s drunk. This is because she feels “lucid,” but “not really there,” and feels that in this state she thinks of better lyrics that give better emotional meaning to her songs. In one song “Heavy In Your Arms,” her voice almost rivals that of famous European singer “Adele.”
The machine aspect of the band is made up of a collaboration of sorts, which include, but is not limited to, Isabella Summers, Rob Ackroyd,Tom Monger, and Chris Hayden. Together, their instruments range from drums, piano, guitar, keyboards, to the harp. Aside from the variety in music one gets to hear while listening to the band, Florence Welch is known for her dance while singing. Granted, it’s not the type of dancing seen in other mainstream artists’ concerts; her dancing doesn’t seem choreographed, rather it seems to fit every moment of her concert and seems to come from the moment and is spontaneous.
- The Invasion
Since “Mumford and Sons” and “Florence + The Machine” came into the spotlight, they have been featured on many popular shows in the United States, showing glimpses of just how popular they are becoming in the states. Also, together they have each been nominated and both have won numerous musical awards on stages like the MTV Music Awards and most notably The Grammys. They each have been special musical guests on Late Night Talk Shows like David Letterman, Jay Leno, Conan O’ Brien, Craig Ferguson, Jimmy Kemmel, and Carson Daly.
“Mumford and Sons” was even given the opportunity to play an entire televised concert on set of David Letterman (link at the bottom). Also, both bands have been featured on Saturday Night Live. They even played in front of Barack Obama. You know you’re successful when your songs get covered by other well known musicians; “White Blank Page,” was covered by popular country singer, Taylor Swift.
“Florence + The Machine” has had their songs featured in the video game, “Dragon Age II.” Her songs have also been featured in hit t.v. shows like “Glee,” “Greys Anatomy,” and “The Vampire Diaries” to name a few. Also, her song “Heavy In Your Arms” was featured in the popular movie “Twilight: Eclipse.”
To say the least, “Mumford and Sons” and “Florence + The Machine” have already had their fair share of fame, but it’s still small compared to the achievements of the bands from the first two invasions. Over time, we may see these two bands achieve the amount of success that may some day put them in the annals of music history. It all depends on where their talent takes them. And right now, America is loving every bit of them.
Mumford and Sons on Letterman.