Song of the Summer: “The Wolf”

“Mumford & Sons” by WFUV licensed under CC 2.0.
“Mumford & Sons” by WFUV licensed under CC 2.0.

Mumford and Sons may have switched up their sound for their third studio album, Wilder Minds, but the group still knows how to pen a goosebump-inducing tune. “The Wolf,” the second single off the album and my choice for song of the summer, is living proof.

Among other qualities, the unique song structure of “The Wolf” keeps me coming back.

An example: Some lyric sites I researched refer to this section as the chorus:

“You’ve been wandering for days
How you felt me slip your mind…
…Cause you were all I ever longed for.”

I beg to differ. What I enjoy about this song, and what I think helps elevate it to song-of-the-summer status, is that this refrain strikes me as more of a driving pre-chorus that sets up the real chorus: a vibrantly orchestrated electric guitar sequence. This is the kind of thing Coldplay perfected (like it or not), only at a slower pace.

So, imagine you are driving home late one summer night on the highway. You have the windows rolled down. It could have been a fantastic night; it could have been filled with drama. The key to this song is that it does not matter: It can lift the spirit or offer release either way.

You start with the volume on low until you find your head bobbing to that driving bass groove.

The lyrics begin to remind you of your wanderlust, of your search for meaning, or as in my case, of God’s pursuit of me despite my forgetfulness of his presence and grace (“you were all I ever longed for”). By the time the break comes, just before the pounding guitar chorus, you’ve already got the volume cranked. The guitars start. You realize this is a song that you can disappear into; where paradoxically your entire life comes to mind and yet the world itself is on pause.

Then the song ends, transitioning into Nick Jonas’ new single. You turn the radio off as the goosebumps fade. This summer, all songs that are not “The Wolf,” will be inadequate.