Monday, May 13th, 2019

The Lumineers – Gloria

We had to obscure these identities, given the score…


Taylor Alatorre: Ostensibly a song about the intergenerational traumas of alcohol addiction, this is really part of a controlled experiment about how many people you can trick into hearing something deeply transcendent in the pious crooning of a literary female name. The comparison groups in this experiment are “Ophelia,” “Cleopatra,” and “Angela.”

Alfred Soto: To be a Lumineer is to flicker in obeisance to a phantom woman bound in Van Morrison, Christian theology, and bullshit. Gravely vocal and acoustic strums not required.

Jonathan Bradley: I guess a Lumineer would be a traveler who sets out in search of the light, which is one way to understand the rousing cheer that distinguishes this group’s songs. (It also might characterize the optimism of a folk-rock group that gives their original work a girl’s name already bound to extremely familiar songs by giants like U2 or Laura Branigan or Patti Smith and Them.) I wonder what the Lumineers might find if they were willing to turn away from their light for a moment: if they could maintain their blazing intensity of feeling without resolving their melodies at the end of every stanza that passes by. What if they were hoping to find something?

Alex Clifton: I listened to this and thought, “Dang, this sounds just like their first album, which came out when I was in undergrad. What year was that anyway?” Folks, that was 2012, which it turns out was a whole seven years ago. And in all those seven years, the Lumineers have been doing the same goddamn thing. It’s not necessarily bad, per se — their music has always been competent plonky folk-pop that makes my heart feel a little lighter — but it feels starkly weird in 2019 to hear something that immediately transports me back to the beginning of the 2010s. So much else in the world has changed; I wish these guys would grow a little more, too.

Katie Gill: It’s certainly a Lumineers song! And it’s certainly a Lumineers song that I would have heard back in like, 2014. It’s fun and charming in it’s own way with a lovely piano break that I honestly wasn’t expecting, but it is nothing if not a teensy bit outdated.

Joshua Minsoo Kim: Even The Lumineers seem to know just how much this song is riding on the borrowed gravitas of vague religiosity and lazy vocal chants. “Have you had enough,” they sing, a few seconds before the song comes to an end. Was this all meant to be torture?

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