I’ve been so caught up in Podcast Land lately that I haven’t really obsessively listened to any new music in months. All of that changed this week, though, when I decided to give Cleopatra, the new album from The Lumineers, a go. I can’t get it out of my head, y’all! It’s so addicting.
I haven’t spent a ton of time with The Lumineers up to this point. I’ve always liked what I’ve heard, but definitely haven’t had any of their albums or tunes on repeat like this – I never went seeking them out, if you know what I mean. And truth be told, I don’t know why I haven’t!
I will say that they’ve always had that magical musical power – the one that makes any song you hear by them continue to ring in your ears long after its ended. Their popular ones – “Ho Hey,” “Flowers in Your Hair,” and the theme song, “Scotland,” for the television series, Rein (yes, I became addicted this winter)— randomly pop into my head all of the time and I’m always a little caught off guard when they do. Like, “I don’t know where you came from, but okay, I’m glad you’re here. Stay awhile!”
I heard their newest single, “Ophelia,” a couple of months ago, before the new album dropped in full, and it had the same effect. I’ve found that I’m humming it all day long and singing it aloud as I go about my daily routines at home, even if I go days or weeks without hearing it. That magical musical power, people. It’s real. It’s like a teensy little Lumineers, Inc. radio was implanted in my brain after hearing just one song many years ago and there it shall remain, forever.
I’ve been doing a lot of house projects this week and Cleopatra has been my soundtrack. It makes even the most mundane or difficult projects seem a little easier and more enjoyable, and the whole house feels more airy and spring-like with the songs dancing through it.
I’ve read other reviews that describe this sophomore album as more meditative and hopelessly optimistic than the first. I admittedly haven’t spent enough time with their first (self-titled) album to make this claim, but from what I do know of it, Cleopatra lyrically blows it out of the water. The songs’ stories revolve around love and loss, and feeling trapped in a small hometown while also feeling overwhelmed by the weight of sudden fame. In some ways, many of them remind me of Bob Dylan’s early tunes.
While the album’s tracks are “sad songs” at their core, it certainly doesn’t feel depressing. I wouldn’t describe the album as “upbeat” necessarily, however, despite the many dismal topics being sung about, the instrumentals remain pretty uptempo throughout. Melancholy lyrics are presented on top of catchy, toe-tapping melodies, jangly guitar picking, and ragtime-inspired piano, causing the listener to feel inspired and even cheerful, yet, at the same time, upon hearing the words, suddenly in need of a good cry – as it pulls hard at the heartstrings and evokes the most raw, relatable emotions.
I don’t know what took me so long, guys, but I’m a fan. Give it a listen below!
In other music-related news, I’m planning to spend lots of quality time with Sam Beam (Iron & Wine) and Jesca Hoop this weekend, as their new collaboration, Love Letter for Fire, is now streaming and I have no doubt it’s that it’s a most heavenly piece of work that I’ll be wrapped up in for months and months to come! (For those who haven’t had to endure my constant gushing over the years, I may have a bit of a thing for Sam Beam.)
What have you been listening to lately? Have you ever realized just how much you love an artist following a significant event or album release, after years of thinking that they were just “okay?”