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Florence + the Machine: How Big How Blue How Beautiful
Florence Welch is a Beautiful Weirdo
Florence + the Machine / Caston & Majors
I had not heard of Florence + the Machine until my fiance and I were watching an episode of Saturday Night Live. At that time I didn't realize that Florence had previously performed on SNL in November 2010. Where they performed "You've Got the Love" and "Dog Days Are Over".
This particular episode aired in November 2011 Jason Segel was the host. I actually don't remember any of the skits from that episode, I was actually talking when the band came out and started singing. I stopped talking to watch tv and that's how I found one of my favorite bands. They performed "Shake it Out" and "No Light, No Light".
It wouldn't be until later that I realized that I was drawn to the gospel influences of The Machine. I know it may seem a little odd but Florence + the Machine reminds me a bit like my favorite gospel group. Caston & Majors.
They also sing about light and if you read between lines you can understand that they're also singing about casting away demons. I love themes like those. Of being renewed and reborn.
I'll Keep My Light In My Window
Who is Florence?
After that episode, I started listening to Florence + the Machine. I was so surprised to see her on the last episode of Gossip Girl, you see she's friends with Blake Lively and Blake got her on the show to sing for the big wedding at the end of the season. She performed "You've Got the Love".
It was a great episode for her to be in Florence + the Machine AND learning who Gossip Girl was made the finale incredible.
Florence is also friends with Taylor Swift. Even though I do not share the same love for Taylor as her fans do I am able to respect her as an artist. Taylor told Florence to make her music about what's happening in her life at the moment.
Florence has been through a lot. Her maternal grandmother committed suicide when she was 13 years old. She suffered from dyslexia, anxiety and alcoholism.
In a Billboard interview this quote was snagged.
“She’s one of the few amazing musicians who has a strong eccentric streak,” says producer Markus Dravs, who worked with Welch on How Big How Blue How Beautiful. “I would put her next to Stevie Nicks, Bjork, Kate Bush. What struck me over the years is the commitment and conviction that she has in her art. It goes beyond the songwriting into her visuals.”
Stevie Nicks is another favorite artist of mine and I have to agree 100% with Dravs' comparison.
Florence pours her pain into her work. As much as I hate to say it art ties well with pain. It's when artists are happy when they loose their edge. They need a little bit of sadness, anger, grief to their music. That's where people are at their lowest, when they're looking for something healing and something hopeful and Florence + The Machine delivers. Florence gets her style from an old teacher of hers. Apparently her teacher wore whatever she felt like and Florence latched on to that creativity.
Which currently means pants suits. She has a lot of suits and none of them look the same. Who else can pull off a shimmery pants suit? And that's what I like about Florence, it's not all her, it's a representative, kinda like Madonna has Esther and Beyonce has Sasha. We have whomever Florence is representing to us and that's some kind of woodland creature, or a mermaid, or a fairy. She's magical on stage.
I was torn when I was at the concert. I wanted to take out my phone and record every second of it. And I wanted to take a step back and just enjoy it for what it was. I chose the ladder. And I drank it all it.
I had to stand the whole time, the girl in front of me was just as excited as I was and would not sit down. Waving her arms everywhere. Everyone...please, when you're going to a concert please be mindful that there's probably a short person behind you that would like to see the stage and not your crazy arms like you're one of those inflatable objects that flail outside of a car lot.
No Light, No Light
I loved Ceremonials at first I listened to it I thought it's cool I like it. Then I lost my job. And then the entire album became my life. The album became so very, very important to me. It latched on to me and I to it like a lifeline and it helped me to push forward.
Ceremonials was great and since I started listening to it I started hearing it everywhere, The Vampire Diaries and The Great Gatsby. Which is one of my favorite books.
I've heard people say songs from the album was featured on Nikita and One Tree Hill.
So, it was reaching commercial success and I was cheering the band on the whole way.
- No Light, No Light
- Leave My Body
- What the Water Gave Me
- Shake It Out
The video for Spectrum may be my favorite video so far. And I just love the subject of the song. According to genius.com and I'll provide a link below. It's a song about sexuality. And Florence did post a picture of her kissing a friend of hers, former sister's babysitter, Isabella Summers on the night it went number one on the charts.
But I thought the song was originally about individuality and an awakening of us accepting ourselves and one another in the face of the future and the fear of not knowing what the future can bring. Which is the same motif that the homosexuality point of view brings. But I'm looking at this song from the point of view of as a millennial, cisgendered, African American woman. So it hadn't occurred to me that this could also be an anthem for lack of a better word for anyone else in a different point of view. Which can be pretty cool that a song can be that diverse.
I also like that it sounds like she's singing about aliens. Like we're colorless aliens that came here and was filled with something new, something we created and it's beautiful. We don't have to be afraid because we have each other and the fact that there's power in names.
Again, that takes us into the biblical realm.
Also, any video with ballerina's win.
How Big How Blue How Beautiful
So Florence is on the road to super stardom with The Machine. It's wonderful, it's magnificent and then they hit us with How Big How Blue How Beautiful.
Yes. Yes. Yes!
I got the chance to go to her concert and it was lit. Blossom Music Center in Ohio needs to not over work their employees. I've never seen a group of more stressed out employees in a really long time.
Some guy was actually tackled trying to run on stage when Florence was letting people on stage. He ran on stage he was running towards her and kudos to the man who tackled him but she was so surprised, shocked that all of that took place she said it was okay for him to be on stage.
I would never in a million years run on stage like that. Absolutely ridiculous.
When Florence released How Big How Blue How Beautiful, she also released The Odyssey it's nearly an hour with each song starting a new chapter in the Odyssey.
She wore suits in the Odyssey and her style almost, ALMOST reminds me of Prince. Like her fashion sense is like a female Prince. Her androgynous style and how she can go from very feminine to being masculine depending upon how she feels I think is something that not all artists and call pull off (nor should they all try to) it's not for everyone.
I have my favorites from How Big How Blue How Beautiful
I think my favorite performance was the most electrifying and that was during Delilah. When that beat drops and she starts to say "it's a different kind of danger". Everyone should get goosebumps then.
I loved it.
My other favorite songs included
- Ship to Wreck
- What Kind of Man
- How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful
Just for some starters I can go on about these songs and why they're amazing. This album isn't comparable to Ceremonials because of how vocal it is compared to the other. Her voice is stands out more. She has more of a message she wants to relay to us and I can hear it and I get it.