Cat Cohen's Anatomy of a Hit a Hit in 2012

I Will Wait by Mumford & Sons

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A quirky, idealistic folk-rock song paying tribute to a relationship in a style reminiscent of traditional folk music updated for a contemporary audience.

Song: I Will Wait
Artist: Mumford & Sons
Album: Babel
Songwriter: Marcus Mumford
Producer: Markus Dravs
B008NW67E0

Concept
The singers express a mixture of reverence and commitment to a relationship with an underlying darkness in the music that gives this a serious tone.

Lyric
Somewhat abstract in its poetic images, the use of archetypal folk phrases is effective in conveying its message of commitment. VERSE And I came home
 like a stone And I fell heavy into your arms
 These days of darkness
 which we've known
 Will blow away with this new sun PRE-CHORUS And I'll kneel down
 Wait for now
 And I'll kneel down
 Know my ground CHORUS And I will wait, I will wait for you
 And I will wait, I will wait for you

Groove
Fast-paced driving 16th notes in intense finger-picking rhythms. An unusual feature is the ¾ bar included in the pre-chorus that gives the song an unusual asymmetrical feeling. This is challenging to follow and intriguing to listen to.

Melody
The melody is well-constructed, haunting, and very memorable. The hook in the chorus is a real standout.

Harmony
The song is based on major diatonic harmony with the emphasis on the emotionally haunting iii chord in the chorus. The use of unresolved Vsus chord give the track a modern feel. Verse I IV I Vsus (2x) Pre-Chorus vi V I IV I V Chorus I iii Vsus (2x) Bridge I V vi IV I V

Structure
Signature A B C A C C A B D C Verse Pre Chorus Chorus Verse Chorus Chorus Verse Pre-Chorus Bridge Chorus

Signature
Guitar-banjo finger-pick arpeggio figure based on pre-chorus chords.

Production
The three-part bluegrass-style vocals are crisp and striking, while the driving acoustic instrumental backgrounds with the unusual addition of horns gives this recording a unique flair. It carries the listener breathlessly from beginning to end. Another unique feature is the second chorus sung up an octave.

Performance
The group sings with flawless deadpan technical precision. What they lack in emotion is made up in the evocative nostalgic quality of the vocal arrangements.

Predicted Longevity
The British indie folk group Mumford & Sons has been around for a while. This song, though not a candidate for mainstream longevity, is strongly appealing to its niche following and could remain a favorite within its genre for a long time.

Album Cover: Babel

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