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Music Review: Florence + the Machine
By Cheyenne Glenn
Picture this: It's the dead cold; maybe a frigid 20 degrees outside. The car is warm, it’s safe, and the radio is on. This is supposed to be comforting, but given popularity these days, you're likely to hear a ton of top 40 songs beaten to death by synthesizers and auto tune. I'm not exactly sure where this electronica fad came from or why it's topping charts left and right, but something must be done. I blame Jersey Shore, which seems to be an adequate scapegoat for a lot of things these days...tans, bump its, Snookie...I digress.
The point is we seem to be leaving behind the music essentials as we try to forge a new musical frontier with electronics like synthesizers (whose weight as an actual instrument is questionable at best).
This isn't to say that all electronic driven music is terrible, but let's just say that it's a good thing all artists haven't followed suit. You still have the Black Keys, Paramore, Florence + The Machine...they stay true to their sound despite current fads, an admirable quality.
Florence in particular draws from everything from folklore to classic literature. Her song Howl, while melodic and mysterious in sound uses werewolf folklore (rather poetically I might add) to describe the rage of a lover scorned and their desperation to be back with the one who cast them aside.
"If you could only see the beast you've made of me / I held it in but now it seems you've set it running free / Screaming in the dark, I howl when we're apart / drag my teeth across your chest to taste your beating heart"
She manages to use and mold old stories like The Looking Glass and King Midas to beautiful harmonies and powerful rhythms, while not losing the basic point of the song's lyrics.
She even manages to weave tales of her own. Forsaking the basic "baby I love you, please don't leave me" format, she takes the listener on a journey. Take Bird Song for instance. She uses it as an opportunity to not only write a song, but tell a story of a supernatural occurrence of how she got her voice.
"I opened my mouth to scream and shout / waved my arms and flapped about / But I couldn't scream I couldn't shout, / The song was coming from my mouth."
Her debut CD, Lungs, melodic and vengeful, seems to offer a little bit of something for everyone. It has heavy drums, sweet melodies, up tempo ballads, and even the Indie status for those too cool for the mainstream, though that is quickly fleeting as she has been named one of the top artists of 2010 by Spin Magazine.
The combination for those Lungs & lyrics are enough to make anyone eager to hear what she has in store for us next.
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