Album Review: Florence and the Machine –High As Hope
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Florence and the Machine’s newest album, including collaborations in production with Jamie XX, Sampha and Kelsey Lu shows a conscious movement from the metaphorical to the confessional; its lyrics are breathtakingly raw and real. Welch’s spirituality oozes from her music and performance, making her such a unique talent. High As Hope does not disappoint, allowing us to venture further into her poetic depiction of emotion. Amongst the anticipation for the new album, singles ‘Sky Full Of Song’, ‘Hunger’ and ‘Big God’ were released. ‘Sky Full of Song’ centres around Welch’s brilliantly strong vocals, beginning with a predominantly A Capella opening, with low pangs of deep strings which build tension, yet subtle enough not to distract from the centrepiece of her voice. Her artistic music video matches the simplicity, showing Welch kneeling whilst singing, as if praying. In a statement, Welch commented that the lyrics represent a lack of restraint whilst singing, “When you are performing you get so high, it’s hard to know how to come down”. The lyrics, “Grab me by my ankles, I’ve been flying for too long, I couldn’t hide from the thunder in a sky full of song”, reflect a need for almost physical restraint, and this inescapable exposition that comes with performance. ‘Hunger’ is perhaps the most impressive song, lyrically, in which Welch expresses her ‘hunger’ for love and intimacy which she sought in self destructive ways. The honesty of the lyrics is what makes them so striking, “At seventeen, I started to starve myself, I thought that love was a kind of emptiness, And at least I understood then the hunger I felt, And I didn't have to call it loneliness”, “I thought that love was in the drugs, but the more I took the more it took away”. The strong beat of the piano and backing vocals of the chorus, “We all have a hunger” gives it a drive, as if a physical manifestation of the desperate need to satisfy the void of one’s ‘hunger’. The song ends with the beautiful lyric, “You make a fool of death with your beauty, and for a moment/ I forget to worry” as she finds herself infatuated with someone that feels the same ‘hunger’. The final single, ‘Big God’, featuring stomping low minor piano chords and a climatic instrumental, alludes to ‘ghosting’, “You keep me up at night To my messages, you do not reply, You know I still like you the most”, “You’ll always be my favourite Ghost”.The ‘Big God’ is needed to hold the love of the person and the internal frustration of the feeling of rejection.
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