Florence + the Machine’s third studio release, How Big How Blue How Beautiful is possibly the most aptly titled album ever with its big, brassy orchestral sound, beautiful vocals and wistful, poetic lyrics.
I am teaching myself how to be free.
Lungs and Ceremonials are among my all-time favorite albums and this new collection is a very worthy followup. I purchased the Target version of the album (yes a physical CD in a brick and mortar store!), which contains two exclusive additional tracks plus the Deluxe Edition’s four bonus tracks for a total of eighteen new Florence songs.
How Big How Blue How Beautiful bursts open with the singles “Ship to Wreck” and “What Kind of Man” before sliding into the gorgeously symphonic title track.
Standout tracks “Queen of Peace” and “Various Storms & Saints” recall the exquisite, operatic pop drama of Ceremonials before “Delilah” dances in.
The demo “Which Witch” is such a dazzling, intricately constructed piece of wonderment, it boggles my mind that it’s only a bonus track. It’s unfathomable that a song this good was not considered worthy of inclusion on the final album tracklist. Whether you purhase the Deluxe Edition as a whole or the individual mp3, you need to hear “Which Witch.”
The two Target bonus tracks are lovely, especially the finale “Conductor.” The song uses a symphony metaphor for a turbulent relationship and ends with the line “I am the orchestra, the conductor too. My heart is a concert hall and I filled it with you.”
With three magnificent albums under her belt, Florence Welch and her machine have cemented their place as my favorite modern band.