Of Upbeat Sorrows | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, July 28, 2016 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:06 AM, July 28, 2016

Of Upbeat Sorrows

Cleopatra, The Lumineers' second studio album, has the band's trademark style of incorporating heart wrenching lyrics into lively, joyful melodies. Moreover, Cleopatra builds on that trait making it more mature and meaningful in comparison to the band's debut album. Released on April 8, 2016, this 33 minutes 47 second long album debuted number 1 on both the US and UK album charts. 

The opening song, Sleep on the Floor, sets the whole mood for the album. The first ten seconds of the song is almost an eerie silence which breaks into a sombre beat before progressing to higher, more cheerful sounding musical notes. The song paints the grandiose idea of running away from the regular ways of life. 

Following that, Ophelia is another integral song of the album; one of the first songs the band completed while working on their sophomore album. Perhaps the catchiest tune among all, with beautiful frivolous piano music and a buoyant melody, the song paints a picture of this almost magical girl who feels too deeply, thus, hints at the tragedies that come with passions too extreme. Unlike most songs by The Lumineers, Ophelia doesn't follow a straightforward narrative but rather builds on fragments of the character.

The title song which comes after Ophelia has, much contrastingly, the strongest storyline in the album by far. Inspired by the story of a real cab driver, the song is deceptively rich in raw emotion and substance. The lyrics of this song are something worth going back to over and over again particularly the lines, “... I've read this script and the costume fits, so I'll play my part.”

Only song to compete with Cleopatra in terms of lyrical storytelling is Long Way from Home. The lyrics of the song are directed to someone on his death bed. The band sings about the misery of hospital gowns and nurses who can no longer help. 

Patience, the last track of the album not considering the bonus tracks, is in stark distinction from the rest of the album as it is the only instrumental song. Serving as a strong conclusion to the album, its wordlessness perfectly sums up the album better than any lyrics could and feels as though the song casts a reflecting shadow on the rest of the tracks.

The bonus tracks of the album are more experimental when compared to other songs by The Lumineers. However, that might not be considered a merit because the songs almost sound like half baked thoughts; not as refined as the band is capable of being.

The album, as a whole, sounds like great music for a road trip. The genre, Indie folk, resonated with the tone of the songs and makes it ideal for light listening. However, the true beauty of the album comes from the fact that it skilfully hides so much meaning in its choruses and bridges.     

With a keen eye and a broken brain to mouth filter, Mahejabeen Hossain Nidhi has a habit of throwing obscure insults from classic novels at random people who may or may not have done anything to warrant them. Drop her a line at mahejabeen.nidhi@gmail.com

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