“'Cause I'll know my weakness, know my voice
And I believe in grace and choice
And I know perhaps my heart is fast,
But I’ll be born without a mask”
- From Babel by Mumford & Sons
I love these lines from the title track of Mumford & Son’s new record. The Old Testament title of song and album give away the Biblical
themes that again lie deep in the lyrics of Marcus Mumford. Babel is a rich metaphor for the pilgrimage that Mumford is on. In Genesis, the first book of the Bible, it speaks of a people attempting to reach God and God throwing them into confusion. Genesis is the Biblical book that lets us know what went wrong with humanity, suggesting that our dissatisfaction with being creatures caused us to reach to the same level as our Creator As we reached to be more than we were we ended up less than we were. The architects of Babel ended up confused and divided. Babel is also another word for Babylon introduced into the language of rock by Bob Marley. As the Rastas saw Babylon as a place where faith was compromised, a place at odds with the holiness of soul. Mumford takes the spirit of Marley’s Caribbean Rasta belief into anglophile Christian. In “the city that nurtured my greed and my pride” Mumford is seeking for the walls to be torn
Whichever idea inspired Mumford, like a Psalmist his songs are littered with an honesty of faith, honest about his own spiritual condition and honest in his questions before God. He never shirks the anomalies or seeming contradictions. He never leaves out the weaknesses of his spiritual pilgrimage and yet always there at the end of every doubt or failing there is belief. Again here in Babel, we find him acknowledge his weakness but he also knows his contribution and gifts. He believes that grace is an overriding energy in the Universe as God loves unconditionally but he is tossed around in the choices he has to make before the world and under the Divine. In the end rebirth is hoped for and it is a resurrection that unveils everything, no more delusions or lies. His voice will at last be untainted and fulfilled.