Top positive review
20 people found this helpful
Five stars for the music, One star for the packaging
on April 26, 2011
I had heard Little Lion Man and The Cave on the radio a couple of times and I decided to spring for this special edition. I have to say I was a little surprised about what I heard coming from the rest of this album. While Little Lion man, The Cave, and Dust Bowl Dance lean towards rock with a folksy twist, the rest of the album tends to lean more in the Folk genre. So if all you're familiar with is Little Lion Man and the Cave and you really don't want to listen to Folksy music, walk err.. mouse away now... but be warned you'll be missing out on a great album.
I don't listen to Folk music usually. I don't dislike the genre, I'm just not familiar with it or it's artists. With that said, I'm very happy I bought this album. It is full of heart, soul, and emotion. The opening song "Sigh No More" just really blew me away when I first played it. For one I wasn't expecting the folksy music and I definitely wasn't expecting the warmth and humanity coming through my headphones. Overall, the whole album is just fantastic, a very talented group.
Now moving on to the main reason for buying the special edition, the live CD. My personal favorite live album is DC Talk's "The Freak Show". The live version of those song recordings are actually better than the studio versions because of the energy. It is my measuring stick for live albums. In this case, the live version of Sigh No More is as good as the studio, but not better. That's not a slight to the band though because as I previously said, the studio album is fantastic from start to finish. This band plays amazingly well live and the vocals are just incredible. In an age where artists can put out good sounding cds and move on to put poor live vocal performances, Mumford & Sons stand out. They are that rare group that could live on as musicians in any age because they don't need fancy electronic equipment to sound good.
Now to the packaging. At first glance I was super impressed with the packaging. Instead of cheap plastic and cardboard you're greeted with a beautiful green canvas like cloth material with a silhouette of the band embroidered in gold. Then you open the packaging and you have a very nice booklet inside. This is the type of creativity in packaging that we are missing in today's CDs. If the music industry wants to keep selling CD's instead of having people download illegally or off of iTunes, this is what they need to do. When you hold this album in your hands you feel like you just bought something special. It makes collecting CD's just for the packaging worth it, although I stick to CD's for music quality, packaging like this is just more incentive.
Wait... you said one star for the packing, right? Yeah I did. You get three discs with this. The main album, the live cd, and the dvd. The live cd and the dvd come inside thick paper pockets that are attached to the back and front covers of the case. The problem with this is that the discs go in SUPER tight. It's so tight that there is no way to pull the discs out without scratching them. My live album came out with a bunch of scratches on it. I put it back and then decided I'm not going to keep it inside the original case. I instead now keep the live album in a separate plastic case, the dvd I'm not personally concerned with. The main album is okay though. It hangs inside a thick paper sleeve next to the booklet. Since this isn't attached to the covers you can squeeze this paper sleeve on the side and you can then pull the album out very easily without scratching it. The scratches on the live album are light (although there are many) and EAC shows that the disc can be read without any errors but as someone who likes to keep things in pristine condition, it still bugs me. No matter how beautiful the packaging is, if it can't store and protect the goods then you've ultimately failed.
On a bit of a side rant (if someone from the music industry is reading this), I've been noticing that the quality of discs have been in a decline over the last few years. It use to be that I would buy a cd, turn it over, and it was almost always in pristine condition. Now I often see streaks and small cosmetic deficiencies. If you want me to stop buying CD's and move on to iTunes, then you're doing a good job of pushing me in that direction. Maybe the studio's are cutting back on quality control because they want to compete with the iTunes pricing model. The last people buying and supporting the physical music formats are going to be the ones who care most about quality and having a physical collection. If people like me are to stick around with CD's then the quality of the discs and packaging need to be raised, not decreased.