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.

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The art of growing up….is a pain.

16 11 2011

In 9 days I’m moving back home. I call it home, although it never feels like it. I’ve never felt at home anywhere. I hope that when I leave there after a month or so, I can find a place called home and stop feeling on edge or whatever. I was alright with leaving here, until this evening. I know some truly beautiful and wonderful people. I’ve had a bit of a cry, I suppose I’ll blame the wine for that. Or the fact that I am way too sensitive and sentimental for my own good. Orignally I wanted to make this mixtape post about the songs that helped me grow up and saved my life. I’ve decided to change it, and just put a bunch of songs that remind me of certain people and certain events that have happened. I guess you can call it a thank you or whatever for the people I care about more than I probably show. I’m utterly toss with saying how I feel, so I guess using a song is the best way to do it. Besides, like most I fear rejection so this is my best bet.

I like to think that certain songs are obvious as to who and what they are about. I don’t want to explain because it will take away the meaning and I suppose the sentimental value. This year has been a bit shit, but it’s also been alright. Certain people have made it easier. Again, they should know who they are.

I could honestly ramble on, but I’d just bore you to death.

 





Ceremonials-track by track.

30 10 2011

I have no idea why I’m doing this. I think it’s because I’m bored and a bit ill. So, I’ll write it then probably delete it straight away because I’ll have written something more shite than usual. I probably shouldn’t be allowed access to anything I can write on because shit just pours out. on’t worry, I’ll quit soon. I think my days of wanting to be a Music Writer are slowly disppearing. Maybe. I don’t know.

It’s obvious Ceremonials is the best album of this year. Disagree and you probably wath X-Factor or some shit. It’s usually the case isn’t it. They have no talent. Florence does. A hell of a lot. Ceremonials is creepy and ghoulish (if that isn’t a word, I’ve now decided it is.) It’s darker than Lungs, a lot darker. Is it better? I cannot answer that. If I tried to, I’d probably have some kind of break-down and cry down the phone to my mum. She’d tell me to go for a walk. However I’m in no fit state to go for a walk because I am ill. It’s the flu or something, I’ll go out tomorrow and infect people with germs. Potter around a supermarket and cough over some soup tins. Stay classy.

Only If For A Night: FUCK ME WHAT AN AMAZING OPENER TO AN ALBUM. I think I cried when I heard it for the first time. It’s just this outrageously brilliant song that, when you read the lyrics you see just how awfully sad it is. If I’m not mistake (which I probably could be) it seems to be about her dead Grandma. When you look at the lyrics, you really do see just how much of a poet Florence really is. It’s all well and good when a singer can make you leap up in the air with joy from a song, but for them to paint images in your mind the way Florence does- it’s a massive talent to have. The imagery she creates on this song (and on the record in general) is much more grander and mysterious than on Lungs. It’s just a beautiful and heartfelt tribute to a loved one, and shows the comfort you can have in death knowing that the person is okay on the other side.

Shake It Out: I’m still unsure about how I feel about this song. I feel I should love it, but I don’t know. I mean, I love every track but I guess if I had to pick one I wasn’t a huge fan of- I’d pick this one. However, I love the lyrics. Maybe it feels to anthemic to me. I don’t hate it or anything, but you know what I mean, right? No? Oh….okay then. I love that she does write bloody good songs when hung-over. I’ve only been hung-over once and I just wanted to sit in a dark room and cry. I adore the line, “And I am done with my graceless heart.” YES! Just fucking YES to that bloody wonderful line. It’s so bollocking (real word, shush) true. It’s unreal.

What The Water Gave Me: I love how the guitar sounds creeky throughout the voices and the HARP!!! Always the harp. I want to be able to play the harp, and do it by candle-light. Just because really. I have no reasons why. Anyway. This song is so motherfriggin’ euphoric. It makes you want to slap someone around out of utter joy. It just makes you want to stand in a lot of water..maybe a bath? A bath would be the safest option, I can’t swim so a bath would be my best bet. It makes you want to frolick about in some water and sing this song so loudly you turn blue and fall over. Or, you could be sensible and play it loudly in your home with no water around and just scream a lot. You can turn blue if you want to, that’s your decision. Spin yourself around a few times and sing “SO LAY ME DOWWWWWWWWN!” It’s just a bloody good song that makes your soul feel like all the bad vibes have gone away. Although, it’s about drowning isn’t it? I can’t swim and this song should give me the fear. Instead, it just makes me so happy. It does something to my head and heart. Like, I want to grab someone and shake them and sing this right in their face. I think this is why I don’t have many friends….

Never Let Me Go: For some reason, the chorus to this just makes me cry. A lot. It could be because I am ill and I want a hug. But this is so beautiful. Her voice is so powerful on this one, as usual. I adore this so much. “I’m not giving up, I’m just giving in.” Hello story of my life! This is quite an emotionallystrong song. You know, a lot of people assume giving up and/or giving in is a sign of weakness. I personally don’t think it is. It takes a hell of a lot of strength to give yourself over to something or even someone. If anything, it’s a quality that should be admired and not frowned upon. I think I’ll reserve a bit of emotional attachment for this song.

Breaking Down: I love how Florence sings on this one. It’s like a gentle whisper in your ear, like providing comfort to you if you feel like you are breaking down. I love how this song can really make you feel so creeped out, that you can sense some demon approaching you- causing you to feel like you are about to lose your shit. It makes you feel like you are in a whirlwind of torment with Florence. You can sense yourself just falling deeper and deeper. It’s such a beautiful song, and because it’s so beautiful; it will touch you in so many ways. You feel like she has made this song for YOU, so you feel less alone when you’re about to fall apart. If this was on Lungs I probably would’ve had a mild seizure!

Lover To Lover: Anytime I have spoken about this song, I have said how it has such a Motown feel to it. Mainly reference to I Heard It Through The Grapevine by Marvin Gaye. There is something so wonderfully soulful about this record. It just oozes despair and fury- but there is so much romanticism in the pain of all of this. If you can make feeling like this feel quite romantic, then well, that’s what you want. It takes the fear out of being alone or being a nervous wreck. I love how big her voice sounds. I love the quiet followed by the massive notes she holds. It feels like a massive euphoric moment- similar to the one in What The Water Gave Me. This is the song that you can lose all sensibilty in, you just have. Totally emerse yourself in this record. You don’t need to be saved, just lose yourself. It’s the only way.

No Light, No Light: Menacing, dark frightening- a stroke of utter genius. One of my many favourites on the records. The verses are absolutely incredible. If you’ve never had your heart broken, then you’re a lucky sod. If you’d like to experience that overwhelming and painful feeling- then listen to this song. This song will make you feel as if you have hurt the person that you loved with all that you possible had. You feel like you have to get to them somehow to make it all right, but then you see them- they look at you. They give you this look that just reeks of disgust; you’re dead to them. Nothing you do or say can salvage what you once had. Then you have to carry on without them. It kills you, or so you think. Everything is dark and bleak; no point in anything. It’s a horrible feeling to experience, however when you get through it- you become a cautious and careful person. You’re more aware and thoughtful with what you say and do. “Would you leave me, if I told you what I’ve done? Would you leave me, if I told you what I’ve become?” It’s hard to accept you can be loved when you feel so terrible inside, but it goes. Eventually. This song is so big, and it feels so personal- you feel like you are intruding as you listen to it. It’s such a beautiful song that will break your wee heart.

Seven Devils: THIS IS THE ONE!!!! This is my favourite off the record, seriously. It’s out of the world. I remember when I heard Blinding and it just left me feeling like, I was possessed by something. I don’t know. This is like the darker version of it. I love how it sounds like Florence is staring at you singing this through gritted teeth in the chorus to try and freak you out. This song is extremely dark, twisted and scary. It has a wonderful haunting and corrupting vibe to it. It makes you think of all the bad you have done, and devils are fast approaching you- take you away or to take you on. Who knows. It has such a big sound to it, but it doesn’t have that positive feel to it. It is so heavy. The whole album is very heay but this song is in a completely different level. It makes you feel all the good has been drained out of you, and what is now left of you are devilish qualities that you cannot control. You cannot do anything about it. The lyrics are so morbid. It feels like an Edgar Allan Poe tale;“I’ll be dead before the day is done.” So dark, and the way she sings it is so menacing and eerie. All these reasons and more are why it’s such a strong song.

Heartlines: What I adore about Heartlines is that it feels like a ritualistic chant all the way through. The drums in the intro and throughout just have this amazing tribal feel. Most of the tracks on Ceremonials feel very Church-like. Very grand, very delicate. Heartlines feels so so different. It is such a positive song, it’s like the Ceremonials version of Dog Days- that massive build up that makes you believe that you’re going to be alright. Heartlines is a lifeline. Seriously. It’s like a reassurance that everything is going to be alright. If you feel like shit, play this motherfriggin’ song. It will make you feel like you can take anything and anyone on. You feel like Florence is right next to you guiding you through all your troubles making sure you get to the place you need to be. It makes you want to throw your limbs about in a mental fashion. It makes you want to do some kind of tribal/stomping dance routine around a camp fire. It is such a big song that oozes positive vibes. I just love it so much. You just want to yell “JUST KEEP FOLLOWING THE HEARTLINES ON YOUR HAND!!!!” with Flo all the way through. Just have that line echoe in your head every time you face something challenging, and you’ll be okay.

Spectrum: There are so many things that I love about Florence. One being she can make a loving subject seem really dark and demonic. I adore the way she sings, “Say my name” on this track. It is so spooky in a way. It also feels like she is trying to possess you. Is that a bad thing? Oh hell no it isn’t. It’s like, she’s showing you that side of love and relationships that’s very rarely expressed in songs. Like, you’ll take each other over in a way that nothing has done before. Dragging up bodies? Awesome. I don’t know, maybe I’ve got it all wrong. I probably have- but it’s just my take on it. There’s a lot of possession creeping around in this track and it’s just brilliant.

All This And Heaven Too: This track, lyrically shows how amazing Flo is. She’s a poet, I will keep saying it until someone actually listens to me. SHE’S A POET. The lyrics to this song are beautiful. It’s just a gorgeous song that makes you feel less alone with not understanding things around you. Life, as a rule, can be quite a confusing thing and daunting at times. I guess that is why so many of us use music to get through- or why so many of use various forms of art to help others understand. The most interesting people are those who are creative with their minds- film makers, musicians, writers. Creative people make the world a better place. We all play a part. All This And Heaven Too is just a magnificent song. My favourite part is this:“Words, poor language. Doesn’t deserve such treatment. And all my stumbling phases never amounted, to anything worth this feeling.” Sometimes words aren’t enough, sometimes they cannot explain anything at all.

Leave My Body: THIS ONE!!! Holy hell. This is THE ONE. I’ve said that already but shush. I like to declare my love a lot, but only if I mean it. Leave My Body gives me the same feeling as Seven Devils. It has that exquisite deviant vibe surrounding it. It’s so harsh and cruel- I love how she makes going mental within to be extremely romantic. It’s such a gripping song. You don’t want it to let you go, you can’t let it happen. As it drags you down, whatever it is- you’ll have this song ringing in your ears. The drums- OH MY LORD! The drums are amazing. It’s amazing how such a dark song can have such a magical and almost religious feel to it. By religious, I mean it has that wonderful Gospel feel to it. You could imagine it being sung in a Church, if it was religious of course. It’s just such a stunning song. If this doesn’t make you lose your mind, then you’ve gone about listening to this record the wrong way. It again, feels like a outer body experience. When you listen to it- you really do feel like you are leaving your body. But where are you going? Are you still there? Don’t let it end. “And I don’t want your heart it leaves me cold.” Why take another’s heart when it will more than likely harm you? This is the perfect end to the album, but it leaves you wanting more. Is album number 3 ready? 😉

So there you have it. Me stupidly pouring out well over 2000 words about this year’s best album and one of the most highly anticipated releases. If you don’t buy it, you are well and truly missing out on a record that will probably change a lot of things for you. If you want your soul to be saved ,i you want to just feel something, if you want to be in some kind of euphoric state and constantly feeling like you are in a trance because you have been possessed in a pleasurable way by a piece of music; then trust me, you need Ceremonials. Thing is, you probably know this and me writing this article is probably the daftest thing I’ve done.





Albums Of 2011-Part 5.

30 10 2011

I have no idea if this is even part 5. Probably my last one about albums of this year. Unless I wake up in the middle of the night and think of more albums and this just takes over my life- and ruins it. I clearly have too much free time. I need to start my job ASAP so I can save whatever is left of my sanity. I think months of a shit sleep pattern has destroyed any ounce of sanity I had left. It’s fine. Makes life more interesting, I’m a boring soul you see. I’ve not written this in any order, I basically just threw a list of albums down on a bit of paper in my lyric book because I’ve lost my other notebooks. There’s no structure to this- or to anything I do. It’s okay, because nobody knows that this is exists. Probably the safest option. I’ve wasted words on this toss introduction.

Dum Dum Girls-Only In Dreams: It’s no surprise that I have big love for Dum Dum Girls. They mix my favourite styles of music and create this indescribable sound that owns a large fraction of my ears and heart. They merge lo-fi, garage rock and 60s girl groups sound to make this euphoric feel. I love Dum Dum Girls for so many reasons, I can’t possibly list them all. I’d be here all day and night- for weeks, months. I wouldn’t shut up, and I rant too much anyway. I Will Be was a fantastic debut album, it justshook me to the very core. It was simply divine and is still one of my favourite records. What I love about their second record is that it still maintains that raw and unpolished sound that makes you want to just close your eyes and listen over and over again. I’m probably not the only one who adores Coming Down. It’s over 6 minutes long and it is the most enthralling song that Dum Dum Girls have done (so far) when Dee Dee hits that note, you know the one I mean, buggering hell…it just goes through you. You shiver and your body becomes entirely covered in goose bumps. Coming Down moves you in a way no other song this year will. It’s just so beautiful, it means so much to me. I honestly wish I could put it into words how much Dum Dum Girls mean to me, I really really do. I’ve not felt like this over a record in a long time, it fucking hit me like a truck when I played this album. It just catapulted me into something I have yet to come back from. I’ve realised I won’t be coming back from it any time soon. I’m okay with that, I really am. Basically, this band mean the world to me and this record is easily one of the most important records in my life. I honestly have no idea what I’d do without it. I don’t care if it makes me sound soppy, it’s really changed a lot of things for me personally.

Cat’s Eyes-Cat’s Eyes: Sticking with my love for 60s girl groups, Cat’s Eyes are another duo that warmed my wee heart this year. Those who thought that The Horrors were just 5 rowdy lads who made a lot of noise were proven wrong with Skying this year. Before that, Faris teamed up with the everso talented Rachel Zeffira and formed Cat’s Eyes. Gonna blow your mind- they performed I Know It’s Over at the Vatican. You need to watch the video to it, it’ll move you in a weird way. It’s quite eerie, I loved it. Then again, I love anything a bit creepy. Faris is a huge fan of 60s girl groups, and this is so evident in this record. They’ve captured that fascinating Wall Of Sound feel on this record. Rachel’s Soprano tone goes so well with this sound. It’s just such a bloody glorious record. I also think, even though awards aren’t important, it should’ve been nominated for a Mercury Prize- and won too, but hey. Whatever. If you’re expecting it to sound like a record by The Horrors, then you will be surprised. I was going to say it sounds vintage, but I fucking hate the concept of vintage. Why do you want to wear the cardigan of someone who probably spilt soup on it and died in it? I don’t get it. Anyway, the record has so much going on- but not in a way that just makes your brain turn to mush. It’s soulful in a way, you really feel this music. It’s an underrated album, and it shows that Faris isn’t this screaming fellow that many make him out to be. If anything, it shows how much of a genius the guy is. Rachel’s voice is so angelic and pure, it really delves deep into your soul as you listen to it. A flawless record. There are songs on it that will break your heart. Tracks like I’m Not Stupid and the track dedicated to Charles HaddoN (Ou Est Le Swimming Pool) The Lull will break you. I still can’t listen to The Lull at all. Also, check out their EP Broken Glass which was released a few months before their full length record.

The Drums-Portamento: Alright, here’s the thing- this whole myth that the second album can be a bitch to make needs to seriously be considered because this year, a few second albums have dropped and have been bloody amazing. The Drums are one of the many bands that have released their second album this year. Is it perfect? Ah…go on then, yes it bloody well is. I love that they mix a surfer pop feel to their music. Think Beach Boys meets The Smiths with a touch of Orange Juice (the Scottish band silly!) Jonny has such a delicate voice that just oozes innocence and so much purity in it too. What I adore about their lyrics is that that are so heartbreaking and honest. I don’t want to hear about the joys of seeing a puppy in the street or how brightly the sun is in the sky- I can see that anytime. I want to hear lyrics that make my heart ache or my thoughts to go towards something I’ve not thought about in a long time. Music can make you lose yourself and also discover things about yourself. It can open you up and cause you to sort shit out once and for all. I get that from The rums. They make you feel at ease with how you feel about yourself and others. The lyrical content on this album is much darker than last year’s awesome debut record. They have so much charisma on stage and on record. There’s nothing else around like it. I love the single, Money.I can relate to being broke and wanting to buy someone something. Maybe I should stop being so caring and kind? Anyway, Portamento is again, another brilliant work of art by The Drums. Oh and next time you’re out- make sure you dance like Jonny.

Florence And The Machine-Ceremonials: I simply cannot write about this record without wanting to have a massive fangirl moment. Good job nobody’s about really. Let’s be honest, we all knew Flo was going to create an AMAZING album. But did we expect it to be as big as this? Come on now Flo, stop blowing my mind. My heart cannot take it. Ceremonials is the perfect follow up to 2009’s Lungs. Ceremonials is the album that you will crawl to at 2am when the demons fill your head and you cannot sleep. You will play this record and those demons will slowly escape you as you listen to every song- they creep away as you give yourself over to this record. I’ve been so bloody excited about Ceremonials. Now I’m excited for a tour. I think I need to curb my excitement don’t I. It’s alright, I need something to keep me going. If Ceremonials doesn’t move you, then you clearly don’t have a heart. This record just…I can’t even put it into words. My review of it was over a thousands words and it was all over the place. I lose my mind when I listen to Florence, and I think Ceremonials has blown whatever was left of my mind. Seriously. I honestly cannot deal with how amazing this record is. I love how dark it is, how creepy it is. You feel yourself being possessed by something truly amazing as you listen to it. Tracks like Breaking Down just make you cave in. I won’t lie, I’ve cried listening to this. I’ve cried to it because it is so perfect. I cannot get my head around it. When I heard Seven Devils, I felt this weird sensation go from my heart to…lord only knows where. It just woke up something inside. What I love about this record is how euphorically dark it is- but at the same time it makes you want to just throw your hands up and embrace freedom. Like, all that bad shit in your life- fuck it, just let it go. You don’t need it. You really don’t. Let it go and listen to Ceremonials. There are songs that make you picture a demon trying to crawl into your head, and you just fight it off- because this record makes you feel/believe you can. Oh you can, we all can. I know I’m going to get far too emotionally attached to this record. Lungs was my life for so long, it was my crutch. I think Ceremonials is going to just be the only thing I listen to for a long long time. I’ve got 5 copies of Lungs. Pretty sure I’m going to need 5 copies of Ceremonials too. Songs like Lover To Lover have this amazing soulful feel. I said it befoe, it reminds me of Marvin Gaye’s I Heard It Through The Grapevine and has such an Aretha Franklin feel to it. So Motown, so bloody good. You cannot deny that Florence has such a powerful and soulful voice. If it doesn’t cause your heart to beat double time and skip along the way- where the hell is your heart?! On Monday, go out and buy this album. Then come home and play it so bloody loud. Disturb the peace, cause a friggin’ riot. Make everyone on your street hear this record. Play it over and over until you fall asleep. Just play it so loud. Have some kind of revelation whilst listening to it. Have a damn epiphany to it. You probably will. Album of the year? Oh you know it. You can’t deny it. I love this record like I should probably love a person, I’m not ashamed of my love (it’s more than love, I know) for Florence. I’ve been a fan since 2007 and to see her do all she has, and make records like this- it’s just amazing. So inspiring. Everything about this record is what I want. It’s dark, intense, romantic, eerie, haunting, chilling, devilish, beautiful. Anything anyone says about this record (in a good way) is not enough to describe just how vital this record is and how perfect is. If I end up doing a track by track review of this- I’m saying sorry now. I honestly think Ceremonials is going to take over my life. I AM NOT EVEN SORRY. 🙂

If I end up adding more to this list and posting more albums that have blown my mind this year, I am going to throw my laptop out the window so I cant write anymore. Or, I’ll just go to sleep. Maybe both. I’ve mentioned 20 albums. That’s more than enough, right?!

 

 

 





Florence And The Machine-Ceremonials.

27 10 2011

Whatever I write about this record will not do it justice. Whatever I write will NOT make sense. I’ll end up ranting. If I was you, I wouldn’t bother reading this. It honestly is the safest thing for you to do. I know I never make sense and I write a lot of bullshit, but it is going to get worse as I listen to this record. That’s your warning. It’s the only one you are going to get.

So with that, I shall start. I’m not sorry for anything outrageous I may write.

Sometimes the second album can be a pain in the nips to write can’t it, especially when you one of the world’s greatest current female artists. But let’s be honest, anyone who thought Florence couldn’t give us an album that is of the same calibre as Lungs is a bit of a dick. By bit, I mean a lot. Just look at the talent she has. There’s no way in hell that she couldn’t make an album as amazing as Lungs- maybe one better. Lungs has a lot of emotional value to me. It came out when I was at one of the shittiest times of my life, but that album got me through. As did my best friend (HIYARRRRRR!) combine the two- and you now have one stable human being.

I know I said like an hour ago Summer Camp’s album is my favourite record of the year but I have decided that I am allowed to have more than one. Ceremonials is my other favourite record of the year. Why? Oh as if that requires an answer.

Florence Welch isn’t just a singer/song-writer. She’s a poet. Read her lyrics, and you’ll see that the way she words things and the words she uses are so carefully put together and well thought out- just like a true poet. A romantic poet. There is so much darkness and romanticism in her lyrics; that is one of the fundamental reasons as to why I fell in love with her music 4 years ago in my room at University. I remember that day more clearly than most. It was like something clicked in my brain. It’s totally okay to embrace the darker side of things and let it lure you in.

Favourite track so far off the record has to be Breaking Down. I love the way she whispers the verses. I love how vulnerable this song is. Fuck, the whole record is a body of fragility and purity. I’m the same age as Florence, it blows my mind to know this. Actually, I think my favourite could be Lover To Lover.

Lover To Lover has this MASSIVE 60s soul anthem feel to it. Think Aretha Franklin- go with that..do you hear it? It’s so bloody soulful. This is THE ONE. Look, if you want your soul saving or that heart of yours fixing get involved with this record. Actually, Lover To Lover has that euphoric build up in it like Marvin Gaye’s Heard It Through The Grapevine. Seriously, it is passionate and so FUCKING euphoric. The whole record makes you want to pull a mental face out of sheer bliss then hug someone because you are so happy! It doesn’t matter that the lyrics are dark and heartbreaking- it still makes your body feel like it is on fire and that everything is okay in your world.

Going to be slightly personal for a sec. This year has been pretty shite. I don’t need to tell you why, but certain records have done something to me internally and made me feel better about everything. They made it okay for me to allow myself to feel like shit (but not to do it in the eyes of anyone who knows me) and I can safely say that Ceremonials is probably going to go on the list of records that not only improved this year for me; but it’s changed my life a little bit. Her music does that to me. It did it the first time I ever heard her voice and it does it every time I listen to her music. Something takes over all this self-doubt and causes it to fuck off. That’s the power of music. It can make you feel something so ugly and gnarly- but then it just chases it all away. It is the most reliable source of comfort.

Seven Devils is menacing. Seven Devils should scare the shit out of you. Seven Devils is a nightmare. It is perfect. It is dark. Dark and mean- like a recor by The Jesus And Mary Chain. There’s so much death, despair and darkness surrounding this record. It feels like a healing process. I honestly cannot understand how someone could ignore the talent here. Not just on this record, but on Lungs too.  Seven Devils has that haunting feel that Blinding has. It’s probably going to be utterly mind-blowing live.

The drums on Heartlines has literally covered my body in goose bumps. How can something be so bloody perfect? This is beyond words. “But in order to get to the heart,  think sometimes you have to cut through.”  Live by that kids, and you’ll be fine.

Florence’s lyrics have always amazed  from Bird Song to Donkey Kosh- she’s always had this way of making you see things in a different way and approaching certain things in life in (maybe) a better way.

There is a much bigger sound on this record, much grander than Lungs but obviously as gorgeous. I’m not reluctant to love this record as much as I love Lungs. I thought I would be, but that’s not happening. I probably love this record moreand when I can think of something clever to say and how to say why I do- I will let you know. However, I don’t think I’m in any fit state now to even try. This record has well and truly blown whatever is left of my brain. It’s declared a large part of my heart that a person should claim. It’s moved me in some kind of spiritual way. I have no idea what Florence was aiming to achieve with this record, but I think it’s safe to say she has done it. There is nothing like this around at all. Gaga’s prancing around about being a freak, Adele’s still on about her ex- Florence actually has something for you to  listen to and lose yourself in. If you listen to Ceremonials and your body hasn’t trembled or you feel the need to go for a lie down because it is too much to take in- then you’ve not listened to the record properly.

Without sounding like a massive loser, I honestly have no idea what I would’ve done without Florence’s music. Her music has been there for everything- good and bad. They say you should never meet those you look up to or whatever, well- I have and it was the best time ever. I’m not just proud of the fact that I’ve met her, but I’m also proud to be a fan of hers. I honestly cannot understand how anyone cannot be moved by this record. It should spark that flame in your that has been burning out for some time. It should make you want to do something, anything. Fuck…it doesn’t matter. It is a masterpiece.

Ceremonials is a ritualistic piece of art. It feels like one huge prayer or an outer body experience. It feels like you are leaving yourself and finding another part of you as you listen to this record. Leave My Body is the standout track that makes you feel this way. “I’m gonna be released from behind these lines. And I don’t care whether I live or die. And I’m losing blood, I’m gonna leave my bones. And I don’t want your heart it leaves me cold.”

I hate everything I’ve written down, but the point is- this is one of the best records of the year and on Monday you NEED to go out and buy it. You know, it may not change your life but you need it in your record collection. Just listen to it. Turn your phone off, sit in the dark and listen to this record. Close off the world and just give yourself over to Ceremonials for an hour or so. Maybe have it on repeat for about 5 more listens. Maybe more than 5. I have no idea what to do with myself now I’ve heard this. Will anything mean as much? I guess I’ll just have to wait until album number 3.

“But with all my education, I can’t seem to command it. And the words are all escaping, coming back all damaged. And I would put them back in poetry,if I only knew how. I can’t seem to understand it.”





Shake It Out (Remix.)

27 09 2011

I hate remixes. Okay, maybe hate is a bit harsh. I dislike greatly. Keep the song as it is, do not mess with it. However, if you feel the need to do so- you better make sure it’s bloody good.

This year, one of my favourite artists has EASILY been The Weeknd. He’s taken R&B to a different level. He’s doing something that’s not been done before, and I’m still in awe of his sample of Siouxsie & The Banshees on House Of Balloons.

He’s recently remixed Florence & The Machine’s Shake It Out. If I wasn’t a fan of The Weeknd, I’d probably dislike this. But, I’m a huge fan of him and of course, a massive fan of Florence. It doesn’t have the same hymn/Church feel to it, but that’s okay. The whole pont of a remix is to make it different, and that’s exactly what The Weeknd has done.

Florence And The Machine-Shake It Out (The Weeknd remix.)





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.