Florence + the Machine: How Big How Blue How Beautiful (Album Review)

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.

Florence + the Machine Official Site

Florence + the Machine: New “St. Jude” Video

Florence + the Machine Official Site


Florence + the Machine: New Song “Ship to Wreck”

Florence + the Machine will release their third studio album, How Big How Blue How Beautiful, on June 1st in the UK and June 2nd in the US. We posted the album’s title track and the “What Kind of Man” video back in. The band just released the audio track “Ship to Wreck”…

Florence + the Machine Official Site


Florence + the Machine: New Album & Videos!!!!

Florence + the Machine will release their third studio album, How Big How Blue How Beautiful, on June 1st in the UK and June 2nd in the US. Their magnificent previous releases, Lungs and Ceremonials, are among my all-time favorite albums, so I reacted to the news like an excited kid running in happy circles. The new album’s spectacular title track indicates How Big How Blue How Beautiful just may cement Florence + the Machine’s place as my favorite modern band.

Written in the wake of the band’s whirlwind of success, lead singer Florence Welch calls the new album a “sort of a crash landing” with lyrics grounded more firmly in reality than its more fantastical predecessor. The album boasts a brass section arranged by Will Gregory of Goldfrapp, which sounds like a match made in heaven…or whatever exquisite otherworld such extraordinary artists inhabit.

How Big How Blue How Beautiful Tracklist:

Ship To Wreck
What Kind Of Man
How Big How Blue How Beautiful
Queen Of Peace
Various Storms & Saints
Delilah
Long & Lost
Caught
Third Eye
St Jude
Mother

Florence + the Machine Official Site


Florence + the Machine: Ceremonials

I’ve been holding my Top Albums of 2011 post back for a few weeks awaiting the arrival of Florence + the Machine’s new album, Ceremonials. It was a wise decision, for it will most certainly be on the list. While the British band’s brilliant debut, Lungs, wrapped its bold drama and striking vocal acrobatics in catchy pop hooks and thunderous rock percussion, their aptly titled sophomore release has an almost Seraphic reverence to its bombast. And Florence Welch’s unearthly wails remain unparalleled and mesmeric.

The music of Ceremonials reaches Cathedral heights even when the songs take a lyrical dive into oceanic depths.

Named for a Frida Kahlo painting, “What The Water Gave Me” sings the tale of Virginia Woolf’s death by drowning. Yet the song also conjures up images in my mind of tormented and heartbroken Ophelia sinking beneath the water’s surface in search of release.

“Never Let Me Go” is another standout, but the true stunner is the howling “No Light, No Light.”

I was pleasantly shocked to see the liner notes of Ceremonials were penned by British writer Emma Forrest. If her name is unfamiliar to you, you obviously missed my Best Books of the Decade post last year. Forrest was the author of Namedropper among other great novels. I don’t usually quote press releases or liner notes here, but Emma Forrest’s words about Ceremonials are too eloquent and poetic to ignore:

I used to cry myself to sleep because I didn’t write The Raven by Edgar Allan Poe, until my Mum pointed out that there were other people who also had not written The Raven by Edgar Allan Poe. Listening to Florence + the Machine’s “Ceremonials,” I kept reminding myself that there were other people who also hadn’t written these songs, others who hadn’t sung and arranged them, that I know many, many people who had not played the piano that sounds like church bells and percussion that evokes the ocean…That there might be words to describe un-nameable feelings and melodies to describe those words is how an album can really make us feel less alone in the world…”Ceremonials” offers us this: melancholia in its purest, most danceable form. – Emma Forrest

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Ceremonials - Florence + The Machine

Florence + the Machine Official Site