The Lumineers formatted this album unlike anything they have ever done before. It’s a piece that tells a story- a story of struggle, heartbreak, and hurt. “III” overall, and to be blunt, is depressing. It conveys a story of a woman struggling with alcoholism and the effects it has on the ones that love her. You can tell that “III” is an incredibly personal and heartfelt album to The Lumineers. Their vulnerability is something to be recognized.
The first track off “III” is “Donna.” “Donna” tells the story of a woman, struggling with alcoholism to the point where she “couldn’t sober up to hold the baby.” The song sets the tone for the rest of the album, a tone of heartbreak and realism. Musically the piece starts off with a solo piano piece, a relatively calming feel with an undertone of sadness setting the tone for the rest of the album
Directly following “Donna” is “Life In the City,” contrasting “Donna” it is much more upbeat and definitely aligns with Lumineers usual sound. The theme of hurt is still there however, with lyrics such as, “living life in the city, it will never be pretty.” They also propose the idea, assumingly to the woman they wrote the album about, of her possible inevitable death with the direction she is headed, “Will you just lay down and dig your grave? Or will you rail against your dying day?”
Continuing the story with their song “It Wasn’t Easy Being Happy For You,” a track about letting go, despite the pain it caused. A mix of emotions are lyrically shown on this track. “I took the poison hoping you would feel it too,” the lyrics show the inner turmoil between wanting the person that has hurt them most to feel their pain but also letting go despite hating and loving them.
“III” is an interesting piece by The Lumineers; they took a risk by formatting it in a storytelling fashion. Did it work? Well that’s up to you. I think their vulnerability and heartfeltness is to be commended. However there are many tracks off the album that was not their best work comparing it to some of their older albums like their Self-Titled album. I would rate “III” a 7/10. “Life In The City” is definitely going on my playlist though, so you might just find a song you love for fall off of “III.”