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Florence and the Machine – High As Hope

Discussion in 'Article Discussion' started by Melody Bot, Jul 26, 2018.

  1. Melody Bot

    Your friendly little forum bot. Staff Member

    This article has been imported from for discussion. All of the forum rules still apply.

    On Florence and the Machine’s fourth full-length LP, Florence Welch continues to experiment with expansive backing sounds of string compositions and begins to reflect on her life and relationships leading up to this moment. This album does not have too many up-tempo tracks at its disposal, and for the casual listener, it may come as a surprise that the singles do not stray too far from the rest of the content on this cohesive work of art. Personally, I felt the album would have benefited from an up-tempo rocker or two, to help balance the melancholy sounds found throughout these landscapes.

    On the album opener, “June,” Welch sings, “The show was ending and I started to crack/Woke up in Chicago and the sky turned black/And you’re so high, you had to be an angel/I’m so high, I can see an angel.” As Welch opens up about her past drug use, it’s hard to not pull for her in her fight against addiction. “Hunger,” even finds Welch opening up about an eating disorder and uses relationship metaphors as well to describe her struggles. This track is one of the better and more personal pieces that she has composed at this point in her career.

    Continuing on with the self-reflective themes, “South London Forever” shows Welch telling a story of herself finding a stint of love and longing for a future with this person. She describes this person, when she sings, “With your black cool eyes and your bitten lips/The world is at your fingertips/It doesn’t get better than this.” You can tell that she is wanting more than maybe this person is willing to give her, and thus leading her to think about what more can be done to make them feel the same as her.

    “Big God” is a sonic landscape filled with backing strings and horns, as Welch contemplates her religion as a way of filling a void found in her life. While the first single released from the album, “Sky Full of Song,” finds her reflecting on her past relationships while still looking forward for that love she so dearly wants. On lyrics such as, “Grab be my ankles, I’ve been flying for too long/I couldn’t hide from the thunder in sky full of song/And I want you so badly, but you could be anyone/I couldn’t hide from the thunder in a sky full of song.” This type of reflection can become aa bit tiresome for the average listener, and as I previously mentioned, there is not a ton of variety found on this LP.

    “Patricia,” my personal favorite from the album, is surely a nod to her idol Patti Smith, and she even goes as far as calling her “my North Star.” This track does pick up the tempo that was missing from earlier tracks, and gets closer to the sound found on How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful. While tracks such as, “The End of Love,” find Welch head over heels in love with a person from her past who broke her heart, saying, “With a tablet in his hands/He told me that he loved me, yeah/And then ghosted me again.” Again, it’s easy to pull for Florence Welch as she persists through her troubles and addictions in more area than one.

    This album will likely not be one that I turn to as often as her three other albums that I truly enjoyed, however, I’m glad that Ms. Welch has taken some time to reflect on her life and share this art with her audience. With a bit more variety found on her next album, hopefully Welch will get back on her feet and can continue to wow the crowds on stage as she powers through her cathartic re-awakening.

  2. Spenny


    Nice review and I agree with it definitely. Her weakest album so far - nothing has really stuck with me. Sky Full of Song was enjoyable at first but didn't have much lasting value. The only song I return to frequently is 100 Years.
    paythetab likes this.
  3. paythetab

    Chorus.FM Album Reviewer (Adam Grundy) Supporter

    Thanks for the feedback on the review...yeah, this one just didn't resonate with me as the previous 3 albums.
  4. efp722


    I've tried her before and it just never clicked. I'll skip this since, clearly, I'm not a fan. Glad to see shes still doing her thing.
  5. DooDooBird


    Welp, doesn't sound like a very encouraging review. I'll still give it a listen and hope I enjoy it.
  6. NitrateDawn


    Damn, I'm sorry to see you didn't like it. I'm a big fan of Florence's more reserved side, much more so than her first 2 albums (which I still enjoy). I think this is a great album
    paythetab likes this.
  7. somethingwitty


    The first 3 albums are all fantastic...this one just felt very meh. The lack of a couple uptempo songs really hurts on here.
  8. jpmalone4

    Stay Lucky Supporter

    I love this album, I actually think it might be better than her others, in that it's the most distilled and focused.