Last weekend, I spent a total of 13 hours (not including another three hours of drive time) at my son’s volleyball tournament. If you’ve ever been to such an event, you already know that approximately 66.67% of the time is spent with your kidnotplaying. It is essential that you bring activities to entertain yourself. I had the perfect elixir: the new Florence + The Machine album (“Ceremonials”) and the latest issue of Rolling Stone, which happened to contain an article on Florence herself.
You might know Florence + The Machine from the hit “Dog Days Are Over” that really put them on the map last year. That song was spawned from their 2009 debut album (“Lungs”), and now they’re back with a strong follow-up album: “Ceremonials”.
When I listen to music, it’s pretty easy to say “I like it” or “I don’t”, but I try to drill down a little on the following: the lyrics, the vocals and the music itself. Using that un-scientific criteria applied by a definite non-musician (me), “Ceremonials” is a triple threat.
25-year old Florence Welsh, the ethereal red headed lead singer, has a powerful voice that might remind you of some of her British sisters (Adele, Amy Winehouse). She is backed by “The Machine”, a veritable orchestra of harps and hauntingly beautiful backup singers. The lyrics are equally strong; particularly striking are those in “What the Water Gave Me”, which evinces Virginia Woolf’s suicide with pockets full of stones.
Each song on the album is different and memorable in its own right. I predict this album will be similar to Adele’s “21” in its popularity and longevity. I’m already hearing “Shake It Out” on the radio quite a bit.
This is such a great album; the songs engulf you and demand that you turn the volume up accordingly. My only gripe: some of those notes are impossible for us regular people to hit while belting out the songs during solo car rides. I usually fancy myself as equal in talent to an Adele or a Florence, so it’s always disappointing to not even be able to trick myself into believing that when there’s no one else around.
I’ll leave you with this brilliant Florence nugget from the RS article: “Hangovers are almost the perfect state to be creative, because you’re not really awake, and nothing feels real.” Perhaps my imaginary music career has never taken off because I’ve been too sober? Note to self: drink more, quit real job, become huge star. See you on tour!
Here is the video for "Shake It Out". Enjoy!
Filed under: Album Reviews