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MUSIC REVIEWS: ‘90s stalwarts Green Day, No Doubt not slowed in middle age
Question of the Day
“Push and Shove” is more than a bid for re-admission into the inner circle of Top 40 music, though. The musicians know they’re getting older — during “Looking Hot,” Miss Stefani wonders how long she’ll be able to squeeze into her tight stage clothes — and they dedicate the second half of the album to pretty, midtempo songs that show off the band’s maturity. Those tunes are destined to be the forgotten tracks on an album that pushes its most marketable material to the front, but they also validate the very existence of “Push and Shove,” showing that No Doubt can explore middle age while still courting a younger crowd.
Mumford & Sons
Mumford & Sons took control of the contemporary folk scene with “Sigh No More,” a collection of Americana songs aimed at people who preferred Coldplay to Doc Watson. Three years later, the boys retrace their steps for “Babel,” a sophomore album that feels less like its own record and more like a continuation of the band’s debut.
For returning fans, “Babel” feels intimately familiar. Softly sung verses give way to stomping, anthemic choruses, all of which are howled by frontman Marcus Mumford and echoed in three-part harmony by his bandmates. Drums are pounded and acoustic guitars are strummed, creating a sort of bridge between the band’s Appalachian influences and stadium-sized, pop-loving crowds.
“I Will Wait,” the meteoric lead single, sounds like it belongs on “Sigh No More,” as do most of the album’s best songs. This isn’t a reinvention of the Mumford sound; it’s a replica, designed to pick up exactly where the previous album left off. Still, the band’s updated take on old-school folk music sounds earnest and vigorous, and it’s nice to see a band sticking to what it does best.
By Matt Kibbe
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