Partially generic post about Florence + The Machine….

1 12 2011

My bus journey home from work consists of darkness, flickering street lights and a stupid amount of traffic lights. Stopping and starting. Foolish drivers who make their own rules. I block this all out by listening to music. Of course there’s always one I play more often than others. Obviously it is Florence + The Machine. Due to listening to her in moments like this, it causes my mind to wander off and weird things to happen in my brain. The headphones I have cause everything to be blocked out, I notice different layers of the songs and I feel like I am in my own little world. This happens a lot. It isn’t me escaping; it’s just how I am; and how I will always be. The day I stop feeling like this, then I probably won’t have any reason to breathe anymore. It isn’t dramatic, music is my lifeline. I’ve got nothing else.

I know I have written about her so many times; it is only because she is one of the most important musicians to me. Every now and then, something hits me metaphorically in the gut that makes me fall in love with her music even more. It’s like when you’re with someone, and you catch them doing something or they say something and it makes you remember all the reasons as to why you are in love with that person. I don’t think anything I write is going to make sense due to me being really tired, and I’ve got too much to say so I’ll just make no sense at all.

When I first heard her music I was just going into my second year of Uni. So that was around 2007. I just heard this voice appear out of nowhere in a video with Dev Hynes (Lightspeed Champion/Blood Orange) and I was instantly hooked. I loved how powerful her voice was. It was effortlessly dominating. There was such strength in this voice, I was blown away. Her debut album was my crutch for a hell of a long time. I don’t care if it makes me sound like a dickhead, I honestly do not know what I would’ve done without that record. It got out everything I felt and was possibly petrified to say. I don’t feel the same as I do about Ceremonials. This isn’t a bad thing. See, two years have passed since Lungs came out and I’m quite possibly the happiest I’ve been in a long time. Lungs was a huge part of that. The record immediately fixed me that day in 2009 when it arrived at my house; signed by Florence. I played it over and over. And over….and over. I’ve got about 5 copies of it- the only one that works properly now is the vinyl I have. I rarely play it.

Whilst on the bus home this evening, I played Ceremonials. I didn’t feel the same as I did with Lungs- mainly because I’m happy. The record still has that euphoric feeling and makes you feel so graciously weightless. It has something about it that Lungs doesn’t- but again, this isn’t a bad thing. Not a bad thing at all. What I love about Ceremonials is that it makes you feel like you are lying so calmly on a bed of water. Just floating on and on- towards something, towards nothing. Wherever you wish your body to go to, I suppose. Ceremonials has this sort of church vibe to it. Everything on the record is so grand and echoes so perfectly in your ears. Every word just mesmerises you. You can’t listen to this record and go about your daily business. You have to shut everything and everyone off as you listen to it. Ceremonials transports you to a different world- one different from Lungs. There is more certainty in this record but still the same amount of vulnerability of dark subjects that many are so fucking petrified to touch on. I will never understand how a person can ignore the darker side of things; they are the things that make you human. They are the things that cause your heart to carry on beating.

I love the devilish tones that come through in a lot of Florence’s songs. I love that she can project all the deep and ugly feelings so many of us try to disguise and/or ignore. Just listen to songs such as Breaking Down. It is heartbreaking. Then you have songs such as No Light, No Light- it is such a frail song. It makes you think about the things to try to push away from yourself so you don’t have to face them. It’s true what she says in the song. It really is easier to say things to a crowd of people than it is to say what you want/need to say to just one person- the person who needs to hear it more than the crowd does. The sheer honesty in that song and others is so haunting. One of my favourite things ever in life is Isa’s keyboard solo during Rabbit Heart at FATM gigs. It is so bloody uplifting and euphoric. It makes every limb move, it makes you smile on the inside and outside. It is just a sheer wave of joy that takes over and rules your heart. It is one of the best things to witness live.

I listen to Remain Nameless, and I can’t help but think; “Was this written about me?” I don’t know, maybe it’s because I am partial to carrying around a bit of self doubt around and thinking I’m not always good enough. However, it makes me work harder and is like a constant kick up the arse. Lord knows I need it sometimes. “ I know everybody lets you down, and I’ll do the same.” It’s too easy to relate to this, and I should probably hate myself for it. But, I can’t hate myself no more. All the bad has been done- I’m unsure what to do with the good in me most of the time.

The things I have learnt from Florence’s music have earned a firm place in my heart and mind. They just make me feel less crap about how I feel towards things and people.

If her music was around when I was in secondary school, it would’ve saved me from a lot. But, you live and you learn. Everything you go through, everything you see and hear plays a part in the adult you become. I like to think that Florence’s music has helped me become a stable and decent 25 year old. It’s okay to have doubts. It’s okay to be vulnerable. It’s okay to have ugly feelings. It’s okay to carry a bit of self doubt- but when it passes, you are greeted with this euphoric feeling that feels like a weight has been lifted. My realisation of this kicks in sometimes. Usually when I should be doing something else. It happened today on the bus at around 6:10pm whilst listening to What The Water Gave Me. When the last chorus kicks in- that’s when my realisation happened. There’s no doubt I’ll bawl like a baby when I see her for the fifth time in March next year.

A band or singer doesn’t have to have existed 20+ years or so for you to fully connect with them. When you can connect straight away, that’s when you know that the band or singer will be your life. The euphoric feeling their music gives you creates a huge tidal wave of realising the art of letting go, throwing yourself into the unknown and becoming the person you want to be. The person you owe yourself to be. Stop living for others, stop doing things to make others happy- you will resent them for it eventually- trust me, I know this far too well. But you’ve got to let go and do things for you; because nobody else will. Keep a firm grip on reality, but don’t let go of your dreams. Embrace the darker side of things- it will keep you in check.

Florence’s music puts a smile on my face, heart and soul. It eases my mind. It just makes everything in my life much better. It creates a focal point that other bands I love haven’t done so. Maybe it’s because her music was there at my lowest and is there at my best. I can listen to her music, and certain songs make me want to have my heart torn out so I feel the song even more than I already do. However, she has this wonderful gift of making YOU feel it- even if you haven’t gone through whatever the song evokes. The imagery she carves into your mind with her words is so ghastly and dark at times- she goes where others tend to shy away from. I love that her music can bring everyone together. You can be into Hip Hop or fucking awful generic manufactured Pop music- but part of you has such love for Florence + The Machine. Things like that are untouchable. If only people used music to bring people together rather than harming each other causing more of a gap between us all.

It’s not like anyone will have read this, but if you have- I apologise for boring you to death with my words. This has been flipping over and over in my head for the past few days, and it has come out in some kind of car crash fashion. One day, I will be eloquent with my words. I probably should’ve napped before I wrote this. There is so much more I could say, that I want to say- but it is probably for the best that I just keep it to myself.

Florence And The Machine.

19 09 2011

I remember exactly where I was and how I was left feeling the first time I heard Florence Welch’s voice. I also remember how stupidly happy I was to get her debut album, Lungs three days before it was released. I think I played it over a hundred times in the space of three days. Good job I have five copies.

I remember this feeling of euphoria, and “YES! This is what I’ve been waiting for my whole life!” just hitting me in the skull as I listened to each song. I was just so utterly overwhelmed by what I was hearing. How could someone my age have a voice like this? How could someone my age say all these dark things when I can’t even say my own name half the time? I was just in awe. I knew Lungs was going to be the best thing I’d ever heard, but I wasn’t expecting THIS.

Two songs from Ceremonials have been put out over the past few weeks, both of which have caused me to feel exactly the same way I felt when I first heard her voice in 2007. In pure awe of this voice. It’s unbelievable. I honestly cannot understand how anyone cannot fall in love with her voice. I know I write about her a lot, but each time I just find something else to write. It’s okay though, hardly anyone reads this so it’s fine.

Her music is like some kind of shield/comfort blanket. I don’t care that I’m nearly 25 and saying this, it’s true. Sometimes, you just need someone to sum up those feelings- and she does it. She can vocalise those dark feelings that you are constantly told are wrong to fee. Yeah, fuck that. Feel what you want, no one can tell you that you’re wrong. If you feel like shit, fucking feel it- don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t. You’re happy? Don’t let anyone tell you that you do not deserve it, because you do.

The darkness, the demons, battles, questioning, fragility that is in her music means everything to me. I still stand by meeting her was the best day of my life, nothing is ever going to top that. Unless I meet her again, this more than likely will not happen. Her voice is so grand and powerful, even when she is singing so softly it is so dominant. When she hits those high notes, every part of you comes alive. That’s what she does, she makes you feel alive. She wakes up that part of you that has been dormant for so long. No one else can reach you, but Florence can. She has this way of sending you into a trance- you don’t want to snap out of it.

When I listened to Shake It Out, I cried. I am not ashamed to say that her music can make me break down, even if I feel fine. I cannot listen to Shake It Out without having a bit of a cry. There is something so raw about it that just makes you cry. If you cannot feel how forceful it is, then you’re missing the point. If her music doesn’t move you and makes you feel alive; what’s wrong with you?

When you listen to her music, you just have to give yourself over to Florence. That’s all you can do, just give in and do it. No bad can come from it. Her music gives you this freedom that no other person on Earth can give you. Everyone wants something from another, the best thing you can do it call them out on it before they do so. Don’t let the bastards rob you of your soul. Just don’t. If it should happen (and I hope it doesn’t) play a Florence song. It will cause you to let go. I attract bad things most of the time, I don’t know why, it just happens. Florence’s music just allows me to let everything go and not care anymore. When you can allow yourself to embrace freedom and not caring- it’s such a good feeling. You know nothing can touch you because you’ve hit rock bottom and no fucker is going to take you there again.

I get this when I listen to Swimming and Hurricane Drunk. Just let yourself go, you don’t need to be caught all the time. Fall freely, who cares where you land. “I brace myself, ‘cause I know it’s going to hurt. But I like to think; at least things can’t get any worse.” It’s like shrugging it all off, you can’t feel much worse than this; and you know it. Fuck it.

Blinding owns a part of me. It wakes something up inside that I cannot describe. It’s so menacing and brilliant. A lot of songs around do not expose any dark feelings. Florence does. She said in an interview recently that music should be frightening. I wholeheartedly agree. Music should take you places that you are terrified to visit. It should make you feel things that you are shit scared to feel. When a piece of music does it, it’s less daunting than when a person does it. Her music is so haunting and delightfully captivating. You feel like you are floating, watching everything pass you by. It provides such a glorious sense of freedom. I write such nonsense after 11pm, but it’s okay- no one will read this, so I don’t have to worry about making sense, or not in this case.

“No more dreaming of the dead as if death itself was undone.” Why keep thinking about things that cannot be undone? People constantly mull over the bad and cannot seem to let it go. Stop thinking about that so-called friend that fucked you over, they don’t care about you. Stop thinking about your ex, they do not want you. Stop living in the past, you slowly kill yourself when you do that. You’re not living at all when you torture yourself with past events trying to work out what you would do differently and what you didn’t do. I mean fuck….life is hard enough at times; you don’t need to damage yourself more than you already. Come on now. Florence’s music is this exquisite wave of bliss with darkness that just captures your heart and shakes your bones. It’s everything and more. Those that love her, know exactly what I mean. I hope they do, because I don’t. I’m tired.

I remember listening to Howl, and realising- this is what love is. Love starts out to be the best thing in the world (or so you are led to believe) but in the end, it destroys you. Then you get over it, and start over again. Or you don’t- you don’t allow yourself to fall for anything or anyone- because no one has done it over you. “Be careful of the curse that falls on young lovers. It starts so soft and sweet, and turns them to hunters.” It’s like a piece of advice that you should keep chained around your heart, but one day- you’ll find the right time to let it go. Don’t be quick and don’t be foolish, young lovers. Don’t ruin your poor heart so quickly.

Her bruised knees and earthly presence makes her so easy to relate to and love. She has this warm personality, you just know that if she saw an insect struggling on a path she’d stop whatever she was doing to rescue it. If kids want someone to look up to, I’d say use your parents first- if not, go with Florence. Don’t worship her; no one deserves to be worshipped. But look at her and think, “I can do anything.” Because you can. The only person, who stops you, is you. Her music is a safety net and can also make you feel things you don’t want to feel. There was once a time, long time ago where I just couldn’t listen to Cosmic Love. Everything about it just broke my heart. That phase lasted not even a week. It’s one of the most beautiful and purest songs ever written. Imagine being in the same room as her recording this. Same with Blinding and Between Two Lungs. You know how everyone says, “I hate hangovers.” Well, Florence has created masterpieces whilst hung-over. Most just stay in bed and waste the day away. She writes songs that pierce through your heart. I’ve only been hung-over once, I wanted my mum and my head hurt.

She even makes cover versions sound a billion times better than the original. Covers such as Addicted To Love, Postcards From Italy- she has this way of being so brilliant, I wonder if she knows it? You know when someone is so amazing, and they don’t know it? It’s what draws you into them? That’s what it’s like with Florence. She has the voice of an Angel and is so bloody humble about it. I rarely get drunk, but I bet she’d be amazing to drink a bottle of Rum with. You’d probably end up running round a park and smuggling a squirrel home.

I’m not someone who strives to find total happiness. Being sad doesn’t bother me, and being totally happy isn’t something that makes me feel warm inside. Florence’s music make those unspoken feelings okay to feel. Everyone knows growing up is a bloody pain. They know it’s such a chore. You’re supposed to do this, that, feel like this, dress like that, behave like this- NO! Don’t do it. Do what you want. Not knowing what you want should keep you going.

Her voice is so soothing and powerful at the same time. Her voice has so much soul in it, how can someone so young have this much power? Truly, truly gifted- you can’t deny it.

What The Water Gave Me and Shake It Out have a more soulful and gospel feel to them compared to the old demos and Lungs. Shake It Out is so bloody empowering, most of her songs are. Anything you go through in life; good or bad, you can probably associate a Florence song to it. But be careful, you don’t want anyone ruining her music for you.

There’s a song she covered that, when I heard it, it just gave the song much more pain and despair to it than the original. Her take on Marvin Gaye’s Heard It Through The Grapevine evokes much more torment than the original. Musically, it is much more basic- but the way she sings it just breaks you. Marvin’s version is obviously a work of art, but Florence takes it to a different place. You can imagine her being stood there looking at this person and singing this through gritted teeth as her heart slowly breaks into tiny pieces- your heart breaks with hers. It is that powerful, you can’t deny that.

One thing that I love about her music is how dominating the drums are in her music. From Drumming Song to Strangeness And Charm- the drums just hit you in the gut. As the drums are so powerful, it causes you to lose your mind when you listen to the songs. And live? Oh bloody hell. Live, you just lose it. Everything goes, you are free. Her live shows are truly wonderful. You sing every song as if your life depends on it. You gaze at her on the stage as she controls everything you think and feel- you don’t mind losing your self control here. Everyone goes mental to Dog Days Are Over. It is such a beautiful thing to see everyone full of joy during that sing, screaming along with her. How one person can control a crowd like that is beyond comprehension. It is most overwhelming. It is honestly like a religious experience.

October 31st cannot come quick enough. Her second album has been highly anticipated and is easily going to be THE album of 2011. Will it be better than Lungs? Well, no. It’ll be different won’t it, and if something is different you really cannot compare it. If she can create such a wonderful work of art for her debut album, it is obvious that Ceremonials will be just as stunning- and so will her albums after that. I have no idea how I’ve managed to write over 2000 in under an hour. I’ve probably made no sense but I’ve wanted to write something like this for some time, I guess with a second album about to be released- now is as good a time as any.