Marcus Mumford - Cannibal


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Kristin Smith

Album Review

British folk rock band Mumford & Sons released their EP, Sigh No More, back in 2009. Since then, they’ve released three more studio albums that have stayed relatively within their genre of origin and have done their part climbing musical charts. 

But this review isn’t about the entire band. In fact, it is about lead singer Marcus Mumford. 

Marcus is set to release his first, self-titled album Sept 16, and he’s been giving fans previews of what’s to come on many a streaming service. But the opening song on his upcoming album, titled “Cannibal,” is a whirlwind of emotion. 

Raw, powerful and difficult, this track finds Marcus Mumford talking about how he was sexually abused at the age of 6, and how processing this event, and reaching for forgiveness, has been one of the most harrowing experiences of his life. 


It’s hard to have a section labeled “positive” in a song like this. None of the abuse that’s reflected upon here is “positive.” However, Marcus is processing what happened to him, which is necessary for true healing. 

He says, “But when I began to tell/It became thе hardest thing I ever said out loud/Thе words got locked in my throat/Man, I choked/And this is what it feels like to be free/Even though it follows back down/Stares into the dark with me.” 

And at the end, he also wrestles with how to forgive the person who stole his innocence as a young child, saying: 

“If I could forgive you now/Release you from all of the blame I know how/If I could forgive you now/As if saying the words will help me know how/To begin again/Help me know how to begin again.” 


Knowing that this song is about childhood abuse, it is difficult to listen to and to hear such raw lyrics that describe an evil, horrific act. Instead of describing what he’s talking about, I’ll leave you with perhaps the most graphic of his lyrics, including a harsh f-word, in explaining this atrocity: 

“I can still taste you and I hate it/That wasn’t a choice in the mind of a child and you knew it/You took the first slice of me and you ate it raw/Ripped it in with your teeth and your lips like a cannibal/You f—ing animal.” 


This is one of the most powerful songs I’ve ever listened to. If you’ve ever experienced any kind of sexual abuse or manipulation, this song will be a difficult listen. Obviously, it was difficult for Marcus to process and record, too. Marcus says in an interview that after Mumford & Sons’ fourth album, Delta, he hit “rock bottom” and began going to therapy where he had to work through buried memories in an effort to heal.

He said: “That thing that happened when I was 6, that was the first of a string of really unusual, unhealthy sexual experiences at a really early age… which set my brain up in a way to deal with stuff later on in life in an imbalanced way. And so the last three years has just been trying to look at that and correct some balance.”

This song is not only Marcus processing his past, but also an attempt to work through the hard process of forgiveness. Perhaps this song will help others process their own trauma and abuse and give listeners the words to express their experience without actually speaking. 

The hopelessness, vulnerability and sincere desperation throughout the track are felt, at least by me, on a soul level. And as I listened, I wept at what was stolen from Marcus. 

I would think that this song can teach us how to pray for those who have suffered in ways a lot of people can never imagine. To pray for healing and to encourage those we know to seek healing through counseling and by knowing Jesus. 

Editor’s Note: Focus on the Family has a wealth of information on dealing with sexual abuse. Click here for books, broadcasts, resource lists and more. For tips on how to tell if a child is being sexually abused, as well as warning signs in adults who had been abused as children, please click here. And if you’d like to talk with someone about this issue now, call 1-855-771-HELP to talk with a counselor. 

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Kristin Smith

Kristin Smith joined the Plugged In team in 2017. Formerly a Spanish and English teacher, Kristin loves reading literature and eating authentic Mexican tacos. She and her husband, Eddy, love raising their children Judah and Selah. Kristin also has a deep affection for coffee, music, her dog (Cali) and cat (Aslan).