Saturday, February 4, 2023

Album review: The Lumineers create a staggering cinematic album with “III”


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Photo Courtesy of Udiscovermusic

Story by Savannah Odeneal/Contributing Writer

The Lumineers, an American Folk-Rock band, dropped their third album Friday. The band has  previously released two albums– “The Lumineers” in 2012 and “Cleopatra” in 2016– to stunning acclaim. The Lumineers performed at Tennessee’s very own music festival, Bonnaroo, this past summer where they played a few songs that are on this newest album. This made people excited for the long-awaited release of “III.”  

Through the album, the band shows us what great storytellers they truly are. They use this skill to tell new stories but also carry on some from their previous album, “Cleopatra”. The songs seem to have much deeper meaning then before but are often accompanied with an upbeat tune. We have seen the Lumineers do this in their past albums.    

 The Lumineers have posted a three-part cinematic storyline on YouTube of the songs on the album and how they connect. The album takes us through the journey of the Sparks family. It starts with Gloria, then focuses on her son, Jimmy and ends with Gloria’s grandson, Junior. It shows the journey of someone with an addiction and mental illnesses, and how it can impact their loved ones.   

Their song “Life in the City” is one that stands out among the others. The single has many references to “Cleopatra,” saying, “I miss my dad and Cleopatra sitting on the phone.” In the end, he references back to the song “Sleep on the Floor,” again from “Cleopatra,” about taking the chance of moving to a new city. Now, with “Life in the City,” The Lumineers talk about learning to live in that new city, where it might be lonely and hard. In the YouTube series, this song explains the story of Gloria and her downward spiral into drugs, alcohol, and sex. Wesley Schultz, guitarist and lead vocalist, has a pained voice throughout the tune. It is a stark contrast to the upbeat sound and hopeful lyrics. 

 The album has three Bonus Tracks: “Democracy”, “Old Lady”, and “Soundtrack Song.”  “Democracy” starts with a cheerful and fast tune, but don’t let that trick you. The quick pace is related to his lyrics, which speak about how fast a better democracy can come to the U.S.A. In the first verse, Schultz sings, “From the wars against disorder, from the sirens night and day, from the fires of the homeless, from the ashes of the gay, democracy is coming to the U.S.A.” The lyrics are explaining the chance of a better democracy coming to the United States of America. In verse six, he finishes the song with, “Oh, I love the country, but I can’t stand the scene and I’m neither left or right, I’m just staying home tonight getting lost in that hopeless little screen.”   

This album is a cinematic masterpiece, with all the songs being connected. The obvious reason for the album being called “III” is because of it being their third album. Could there be a deeper meaning? Maybe because there are three chapters to their cinematic series on YouTube. Whatever it is, the Lumineers have done an amazing job of confronting the darker side of life, but also bringing moments of hope to their unique sound and lyrics. 


To contact Lifestyles Editor Brandon Black, email

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