The Lumineers’ “III” raises the bar

7a5c11b5d9787805475737e2ec4141ed.1000x1000x1Story by Nalana Laframboise, Reporter
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Known for their folk music and passionately grounded messages, The Lumineers have drawn listeners from all different realms. After more than five years, they have inserted underlying themes in rock, indie, and Americana. Truly remarkable and emotional with their music, The Lumineers didn’t cease to impress with their new album “III.” 

After reading an interview from NPR and listening to the whole album once through, I found that “III” is quite different from their other albums. Although the music is just as poignant, the message is darker and far more personal. In the interview, the band members explained how the message of the album is centered around the results of addiction, primarily alcoholism, and how it can become a disease that deeply affects the self and loved ones. The band members spoke from personal experiences and described that many of them had family members with addiction that eventually lead to self-destruction and death. 

With an elegant start to The Lumineers’ new album, every song adds a new level of intensity to reflect their powerful message. The following two stood out to me for various reasons. 

Track 2: “Life in the City”
With an upbeat, almost pop-like start, the song is immediately associated with a new and promising start. However, I found that the “oh” sounded forced, perhaps reflecting the characters in the music video who are forced to live in the city and make a better life, no matter how hard it is. Additionally, as the song progresses, the lyrics reference older albums such as “Cleopatra” and songs such as “Sleep on the Floor.” Personally, I found that these references were shedding light on the band’s reminiscence of old times, and yet a continuation of the story from “Sleep on the Floor” music video into the city.

Track 8: “Jimmy Sparks”
A personal favorite. Right away, this song felt creepy and mysterious. With edgy chords and a deep wailing tone, I felt that I was stuck right in the middle of the scenes in the music video. One of the overarching themes that I felt, especially as the story reflects on Jimmy’s relationship with his son, was the involuntary betrayal of family that grants an escape from the disease of addiction. The constant comments of “spare my blood” and “it’s us or them” also brought me closer to the band’s message of addiction as a disease.

Overall, this album has achieved a new level of deep passion while maintaining a dark folk-rock sound. While I’ll admit that some of my favorites are still from the 2016 album “Cleopatra,” I do think that the Lumineers have raised the bar with this new impressive album.

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