With Florence’s new song being released today, it’s only right that I, again, write a few words on her.
I remember exactly where I was when I first heard Florence’s voice. It was in 2007, just into my second year of University. It was a clip of her and Dev Hynes singing in his flat. I was instantly blown away by the strength and how intense her voice was. It was something I hadn’t heard in such a long time; I just didn’t ever expect to hear a voice so strong- especially by someone so young.
Fast forward to May 2009. I have two tickets to see her play a venue that held at least 200 people. I didn’t know who to take; I very nearly didn’t go to the gig. But, I got myself together and went with someone who I am honoured to call my best friend. She knows who she is (Hi Amy!). During the support act, Flo danced in the crowd- how many artists would do that?
Move on to September 2009 and she plays a venue that holds possibly around 1000 people. In the space of 4 months she had gone from playing to 200 people to 1000.
After the gig, we were beyond lucky to have met her. I shared a drink with her, a few hugs and a kiss on the cheek. Life complete? No doubt.
I’ve only seen her live 4 times, but each time I have seen her it just does something to my soul. What you feel in your soul is much deeper and greater than what you feel in your heart. It triggers something off in you that makes you feel so alive and just lost in the moment of what you are experiencing.
Hand on heart, I can say Florence Welch’s music changed my life and to an extent- saved it. Her gig in May 2009 was at a really shit time in my life, and to see her live was a form of healing I suppose. It was just something that I will always hold so very dear to me.
So what is it about her music that caused me to feel this way? It’s the dark lyrics, the soulful voice, the big sound her band has, the intense feel in her music- everything about her music just means everything to me.
Lungs as my favourite album of 2009. I cannot put into words what Cosmic Love and Blinding meant to me at that point, when I see them live now it’s so overwhelming- it’s just so perfect. There’s a part during Blinding when performed live, Flo just goes mental. I remember once when I saw her, she picked up one of the lights on the stage and just shone it on the crowd. She has this elegant but raw stage presence- not many can merge the two in such a wonderful way, but Flo does.
As someone who adores lyrics and how words are used in songs/how they are sung, I absolutely adore her dark and intense lyrics. I love how dark and loving My Boy Builds Coffins is. When she sings, “And it just isn’t fair” the frustration that comes through is so beautiful, in a weird way. I suppose you’ll get it if you’re a fan of dark lyrics.
Her love songs are not your stereotypical love songs. None of this “I love you and I miss you when you go to the toilet” kind of bullshit. No way, not with Florence. She shows the REAL side of hat true love is. True love breaks your heart; true love fixes your heart. It is eerie, it is overpowering, it exhausts you, it is dark and it is intense. Anything else isn’t real love.
Take Ghosts/I’m Not Calling You A Liar, “I love you so much, I’m going to let you kill me.” I know I could’ve picked any line to use, but that one line has always stuck out for me.
When you love someone so much, you don’t care what they do to you. Good or bad, you don’t care- because you love them. And your love for them is greater than anything in this world.
I’ve never felt this way, but I can imagine how it must feel. A person can consume so much of you that you don’t care for what they do to you. You just want and need them there.
Bird Song for me, as comical as the topic may be- there is such depth to the lyrics. It’s quite similar to Edgar Allan Poe’s Tell Tale Heart. It’s quite a cruel song, but you can feel the angst of having a conscience come through, again making it easy for you relate to Florence’s music. That’s what makes her so perfect, that’s why her music means what it does to me.
I listen to her music with Ashok (the album isn’t too bad) then I listen to her demos such as Tear Out My Tongue/Ye Olde Hope, Donkey Kosh and My Best Dress. Then I listen to Lungs and I just cannot get my head round how strong and powerful her voice is. Her music feel so soulful, you can tell she sings from a part in her that many singers just do not do.
A few months ago a live clip of What The Water Gave Me appeared online, it just blew me away. Today, the studio version just catapulted all my feelings about her music everywhere. It was listening to something so euphoric. That’s the only word I can use to describe her music- euphoric. It is out of this world. It is heavenly. I love the vulnerability in her voice in Water The Water Gave Me. When you watch her sing you can see she is in a different place, she really connects with what she sings. Maybe some of it is heartfelt, maybe some of it is her being a fantastic songwriter and she can make herself feel the words. Personally, I feel she feels and means every single word.
I love the gospel feel to Water The Water Gave Me. I cannot wait to witness this live, especially when the gospel vocals kick in.
When I listen to Florence’s music I just feel this spark inside me, it makes me feel alive. There aren’t many artists that make me feel this way. I love how her music can make you feel vulnerable and at the same time, not so alone. Her voice is as powerful as Edith Piaf’s, as distinctive as Janis Joplin and as soulful as Erykah Badu.
Her songs such as Are You Hurting The One You Love, Hardest Of Hearts and Swimming are so gut-hitting and so wise. Are You Hurting The One You Love is ever so heartbreaking. We’ve all hurt someone we shouldn’t have hurt, “Are you hurting the one you love, bite your tongue until it tastes like blood.” I guess sometimes you just can’t stop yourself.
I love that someone may age has achieved so much. I’ve been a fan of Florence before she was signed, and to see all she has accomplished and how many lives her music has touched makes me feel proud and honoured to be a fan. When I watched her perform at the Oscars I did get a bit emotional.
I remember when she won the Brits Critic’s Choice Award two years ago, and her speech mainly consisted of her saying “Fuck” a few times- I was just so bloody proud to see her on the stage and for people to recognise the talent she has.
Her live shows are like a religious experience; it is just as if something takes over your body- it is entirely indescribable. With her album being released 7th November (a few days before my birthday, ideal birthday present!!!!) I am sure a tour is to follow. By that I mean, I am hoping a tour happens and a date on my birthday occurs.
I’ve read a few interviews where Florence was listening to White Rabbit by Jefferson Airplane and her dad herd her yell, “Oh my god! I’m having an epiphany!” whilst listening to it. I fully understand how she feels, and the first time I heard her voice I felt exactly the same.