Welcome to the first AS4S ‘Versus’ feature! Mumford & Sons have released their Delta Tour EP today and to mark the occasion I am kicking off the ‘Versus’ feature with the latter half of Mumford & Sons’ studio album discography – 2018’s Delta and 2015’s Wilder Mind. I’ll be going through five categories – singles, opening track, closing track, other top tracks and artwork – and deciding which album I feel is stronger in each category. Whichever album comes out on top in the most categories will be declared the winner and crowned my favourite of the two (by this feature’s criteria anyway). Here we go:
Believe and Guiding Light were the first singles from Wilder Mind and Delta respectively. Believe is mellow and perhaps an odd first single given this was the first taste of Mumford & Sons’ ‘new sound’. Guiding Light on the other hand is one of the stronger tracks on Delta – in my opinion – and would sound at home on one of the earlier albums. As for the other singles, from Wilder Mind The Wolf is actually one of their stronger rock tracks and Tompkins Square Park is good (not great), but Ditmas and Just Smoke are two of my least favourites. From Delta, Beloved and Woman are equally great, with deep lyrics and passionate melodies, and If I Say isn’t bad too. Overall, Delta has the stronger singles!
Something I need to consider when doing these features is…some songs will fall under two categories! In this instance that song is Tompkins Square Park. It doesn’t matter too much though, because while Delta outdid Wilder Mind in the singles category, I actually prefer Tompkins Square Park to 42, the opener from Delta! 42 is a good opening track, but it just lacks that punch that I like to hear in an opener. Tompkins Square Park is by no means my favourite from Wilder Mind, but it has a nice riff and a great chorus.
Winner: Wilder Mind
I personally feel that there is no contest here…Delta is one of the best Mumford & Sons songs, let alone the best of the two closing tracks. It has so many layers, pleasing unpredictability, and just generally nails the sound they went for with this album. Delta is not only the perfect closing track for the album, but a brilliant final song for their live shows too. Hot Gates on the other hand is one of the more forgettable songs from Wilder Mind and isn’t the perfect choice to close the album with. Easy winner here – Delta.
Other Top Tracks
I’ve mentioned already that the singles on Wilder Mind seem like an odd choice to me….not least because there are some much better songs on the album that often get overlooked! Wilder Mind, Snake Eyes and Only Love are all fantastic, and I think this is in part because they feel most like earlier Mumford & Sons songs (just with the acoustic guitar switched out for electric). The same can be said for Forever on Delta – this is one of my favourite Mumford songs and I think it’s because it could easily slot into one of the first two albums. Other tracks from Delta that stand out for me, and haven’t been mentioned yet, are Picture You and Slip Away. Both upbeat and catchy, they’re difficult not to enjoy! This category has to go to Wilder Mind though – Snake Eyes in particular is superb.
Winner: Wilder Mind
I’m not wild about either album cover to be honest, but I’m going to have to give the edge to Delta. I prefer the font, albeit at a particularly small size and tucked away in the corner, and the fact the guys are involved. Aside from that though, it’s quite a bland cover and not a particularly memorable one. What I do like though is the colour scheme – it chimes well with the mood of the album and satisfies my synesthesia! With Wilder Mind, there’s not really anything wrong with it, it just doesn’t do it for me. Similarly to Delta, it reflects the mood of the album, but it doesn’t really feel like a Mumford & Sons cover.
That brings us to the end of my first ‘Versus’ feature and our winner is….Delta! After shaking things up and going for a rock sound with Wilder Mind, Mumford & Sons reeled it back a bit and went with a more mellow sound on Delta and fused acoustic instruments with synths and automated drums. It really works and there are some amazing tracks on this album, including the title track, Forever and Guiding Light. Wilder Mind was a good stab at rock ‘n’ roll and again there are some fantastic tracks – the title track (again), Snake Eyes and The Wolf are all worthy of being on a greatest hits list. The album lacks execution on a lot of songs though, maybe because they were leaving their comfort zone and focused their efforts too much on the new sound, and for that reason Delta wins!
Thank you for reading and hope you enjoyed this article! Leave a comment below with your thoughts on the feature and which of the two albums you prefer!