Tag Archives: Florence + the Machine

There’s a Drumming Noise Inside My Head That Starts When You’re Around – Florence & the Machine for Throwback Thursday

Next up in the old Listening to Music Without Understanding It series is this post, on Florence & the Machine. Unlike some of the others, this one deserves at least one update: their album How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful had not yet come out, and would be a great introduction to this band. That album is just fantastic, making it 3/3 great albums from this band. Also worth noting, the Deluxe and B-Sides sorts of albums for them are great too; basically, they just make good music.


I’ve recommended a few other bands so far in my series on music, like The Lumineers and The Black Keys. Both of those bands have a simpler sort of sound, from a folk origin like with the former, or from just being two musicians with the latter. So how about a different sort of band?

Florence & the Machine. It sounds even from the name like it’s a large thing. The sort of band where you might expect a song called Cosmic LoveTheirs can be both a large sound, and can focus in and be all about the haunting vocals of the lead singer, Florence Welch. Also, they have a harp.

Florence & the Machine

I thought I would share a bit of the fun of this band, and a few of their songs. The recent news is that they are working on a third studio album, but along with the first two, there are also deluxe editions and B-sides and live albums galore to choose from while you wait – plenty to check out!

Great Lyrics and Intensity

What the songs are about, the lyrics and images and ideas, are part of what is so great. Some songs are full of images, full of ideas and things we would understand. Full of love and emotion and feeling.

Florence_JohnSimm

Okay, and not Doctor Who references. Well, maybe… They are British…

I found that image a while ago on Tumblr, and lost the original provenance from where I found it, but it stuck with me. I love her intensity in the image used – it combines well with the lyrics and the song. I think intensity is a good word – thinking of songs like Kiss With a Fist or Girl With One Eye.

Along with strong images and intense songs, however, they also work with a lot of metaphorical and poetical language. I love it. And, as is fitting with the name of my series, I don’t understand it much at all.

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Did I Build This Ship to Wreck? Part 2

Source [Image of Oscar the Grouch holding a sign that says

Source [Image of Oscar the Grouch holding a sign that says “I heart Trash”]

Or, “Why is Florence + the Machine’s How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful the soundtrack to my trash ship?” a guest post in two parts by fandom correspondent LM, author of The Lobster Dance, a blog about geekery, Japan, and gender, and of I’ll Make It Myself!, a blog with a lot of fandom cakes and gender analysis of food marketing. Find her work on Comparative Geeks here.

Part 1 here.

Read about Hannibal (TV series) here. Major spoilers for Hannibal, seasons 1, 2, and the first half of 3. Content warning: Some images contain blood but I’ve tried to keep the gore level to a minimum. There are descriptions of violence, murder, and abusive relationships. This is the worst ship ever. The worst.

The relationship between Hannibal Lecter and Will Graham (“Hannigram”) is objectively one of the the trashiest trash-ships to have ever sailed, but it’s so compelling, dear readers. Here we have two extremely intelligent people manipulating each other, possibly to death, and enjoying it; since several of the How Blue songs discuss emotional abuse, destructive behavior, and even, well, murder, it’s a good fit. And hey, Bryan Fuller ships it, too.

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Did I Build This Ship to Wreck? Part 1

Source [Image of Oscar the Grouch holding a sign that says

Source [Image of Oscar the Grouch holding a sign that says “I heart trash.”]

Or, “Why is Florence + the Machine’s How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful the soundtrack to my trash ship?” a guest post by fandom correspondent LM, author of The Lobster Dance, a blog about about geekery, Japan, and gender, and I’ll Make It Myself!, a blog with a lot of fandom cakes and gender analysis of food marketing. Find her work on Comparative Geeks here.

Spoilers for X-Men First Class (major), X-Men Days of Future Past (moderate), NBC Hannibal (mild), and Battlestar Galactica (mild). Contains gifs; discussions of music and films featuring abusive relationships, alcohol abuse, and moderate violence; links to music videos with disturbing imagery of the same nature. I’m sure that Florence Welch actually wrote her music about her experiences and not about fandom, but seriously, have you seen the X-Men prequels? Or NBC Hannibal? Do you see?

There appears to be no one definition of a trash ship*, so my definition is a ‘ship that you know is objectively bad, either because the characters bring out the worst in each other or because one of the characters is literally a cannibal serial killer (or somesuch). Cherik (Charles Xavier/Erik Lensherr)? Trash ship. Starbuck/Apollo? Trash Battlestar. Hannigram (Hannibal Lecter/Will Graham)? Trash spiral-galaxy.

And yet, they’re strangely compelling: in the case of both Cherik and Hannigram, you have two gifted but flawed (some more than others) people drawn together because of outsider statuses and who bounce between love and hate, collaboration and war, admiration and loathing. That kind of relationship is what How Big depicts: it’s a literary, intellectual break-up album about being in relationship where the narrator and the narrator’s partner both hurt and abuse each other–and sometimes kind of like it. These are songs of revenge, angst, lost chances, doomed love, blinding hatred, and obsession.

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