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This Trend For 'Cryptic' Album Trailers Must Be Stopped

By Ben Hewitt

Posted on 28 Jun 12

 
 

And so, the mysterious case of Mumford And Sons & The Bloody Inscrutable Album Trailer continues: no fresh leads and no new clues, even though some hardened online sleuths have pieced together some bits-and-pieces about the LP through the 30-odd-second clip. See those international maritime flags used in the video? They spell out the word ‘Babel’, apparently, so that could be the record’s title (it’s probably preferable to the trailer’s name, ‘The Troubled Boys School’, which sounds like some sort of ITV2 programme about delinquent youths being straightened out by Jeremy Kyle).




But apparently, they also spell out the word ‘Tour’, too. Because they’ll undoubtedly tour when the album’s released. It’s all coming together now, isn’t it? With that in mind, I’ve delved into some of the other hidden meanings in the clip, too, and I think I’ve finally cracked what it’s going to be about.



The Street Party: You thought this was just throwaway fare, didn’t you? Think again: it’s clearly a reference to the Olympics and the Jubilee; the joy of craggy old institutions partying away while Britain crumbles to dust. Thus, Marcus Mumford has penned a politically charged, state-of-the-nation address. He is the new, well-spoken Plan B.

The Food Fight: EASY. It’s about sickening levels of consumerism, of course: a nifty metaphor for the haves and the have-nots, and a withering put-down of those greedy fat cats who have such a bountiful surplus of tucker that they can hurl it around and giggle manically.

The White Horse: Well, this one had me momentarily stumped. But then I remembered that, in mythology, the white horse is the transportation method of choice for valiant souls riding into town to save the world from destruction. Which means the new album is obviously a concept record about impending apocalypse, in which Marcus will ride his steed in and be anointed as a hero by all and sundry.

All clear now, isn’t it? Except it isn’t, of course. Because this newfound propensity for album trailers is maddeningly infuriating: it strikes me as a lazy way to drum up interest for a new release without actually doing anything half-interesting. It’s a Hollywood-aping tactic – for reference, see the umpteen trailers released for The Dark Knight Rises – which is none-more-evident than in the end message ‘Coming Soon’. ‘Coming Soon’? It’s a bloody pop album, not the sequel to Jurassic Park. I’m all for piquing the interest of your fans and whetting appetites, I’d rather bands could give us something solid, too. A release date, a title, the tracklisting: these are actual details to get excited and flustered about, rather than a pseudo-cryptic crack at marketing.

Mumford And Sons aren’t the only offenders, of course. In the past few weeks alone, Muse released their trailer for ‘The 2nd Law’ - which was so shaky on details it had die-hards crying about their seeming new love for dubstep, and penning wild theories about it being some sort of sci-fi, Blade Runner-like concept LP – while Two Door Cinema Club used a similar snippet to announce the release of their second album ‘Beacons’.



And, looking back over 2012, there’s also been trailers from (deep breath): Biffy Clyro, The Killers, Green Day, Tame Impala, and probably loads more. Call me a luddite if you wish, but couldn’t they just, y’know, release a song instead? Madcap theories can be fun, but if I’m going to get excited about an artist’s new album, I’d rather hear some of the new wares they’re peddling – and not some anaemic visual guff instead.

 
 
 
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