Music review | Florence + The Machine- How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful

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The queen has returned... and I will cry.

It's been four years since Ceremonials, the last released LP from the British eight-piece and it left us, quite frankly, feeling fanatic. The perfect mixture of soulful, dark and that weird darkish-optimism was all we could have ever wanted; there were the happy and the sad. So, the first thought of any person who listened through the record was: ", when do we get more?"

The time is now.

The band announced the making of the record sometime June last year and the wait was over on the 10th of February when the teaser of the album was released. It was their title track of the album, How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful. And we went crazy; the mixture of the good-old Lungs sounding era to the orchestral accompaniment, it was all kinds of awesome. With time, there were more and more songs released; first, What Kind Of Man, afterwards St. Jude, then Ship To Wreck and finally, Delilah. And now...we have the whole hog. And here's what I think of it.

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The album opens with Ship To Wreck, the second released single from the album. It's one of few songs on the record that discus very personal feelings, such as self-destructive behaviour and it's a weird one, because again, it has that light and bouncy melody that we know from so many of their songs, but the lyrics are so dark and creepy and personal. It seems like an impossible combination, yet they pull it off brilliantly. What Kind Of Man is all about men that have wronged her. It's all about being ridiculously indecisive and not knowing where the relationship is going. Even though everything is wrong and indecisive, there's still a fire of devotion that lasted 20 years. With the big brass and rhythm and vocal section, it sounds completely different to Ship To Wreck; it almost reminds of a mixture of Seven Devils and Drumming Song from their previous albums.

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The third, self-titled track, How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful is all about the orchestra. At the beginning, there are a few verses that Florence sings, but then in the end, it's only the orchestra. The song, obviously being about letting go of the old self, fits incredibly well with the music video, in which Florence Welch dances with her lookalike. Queen Of Peace has been called the calmed down version of What Kind Of Man, with the big choir section and the slight effect of blues; it's about the heartbreak and the belief that it was the worst thing to happen to anyone. Various Storms & Saints is again, one of the songs on the album that touch the topic of relationship, about the destructive kind and their ending. The lyrics to this song are just heartbreakingly beautiful and really haunting and it might be one of my favourites on the album. Delilah, obviously inspired by the legend of Samson and Delilah, is about the end and the feeling of denial and moodiness that comes with it. This sounds a bit like Ship To Wreck, but with some gospel-like influences to it.

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Long & Lost is a song that has a very Bronte-ish feel to it; it's very moody and calm and muffled, sounding an awful lot like St. Jude, which I'll go on in a second. Again, it discusses the feeling of being alone and confused when you're alone, just after the breakup. Caught, on the other side, feels very gospel-ish (I could swear for a moment, it sounds a bit like Let It Be). It's about all the fears and monsters hiding in our brain, coming up in our worst nightmares. Third Eye feels like the highlight of the album and it feels like the most positive of the songs on the record, encouraging someone to learn to love again and live again, only to reveal at the end that maybe, she might be same. St. Jude is the sister to Long & Lost, contemplating the destructive and ending relationship. It also references the big storm that hit Britain in 2013. The thing that I adore the most about the album is how low-key the song is; no belting, no high notes, just the simplicity. The final song, Mother, is perhaps the most gospel-ish of all of them, talking about leaving everything behind and getting over the pain the world has caused her and it ends album with a weird mixture of gospel and 1970's rock and blues.

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I suppose now's the time to share my opinion... well... if it's not that obvious, then let me make it clear, I adore it.

It's very interesting to hear a band evolve throughout their whole career; each album sounded differently. Lungs was all about the art rock, stadium anthems that weren't quite there just yet and the long harp arpeggios. Ceremonials was the soulful sister to lungs, discussing the hidden sides of people and love and all the things that go along. HBHBHB is the cathartic sister to the previous two. Everything feels so personal and releasing and, as I said, cathartic. It's all about facing the fears, learning how to live and learning how to accept the world we live in and trying to love it. With the absolutely heartbreaking lyrics and amazing combination of so many genres (light-headed pop, really dark and keyboard-focused ballads, such gospel, 1970's blues and rock), alongside such feeling of vulnerability, I can't explain my love for the record.

It's so different, but it's still Florence. It's still dark... and stadiums will probably jump around to it. I am sure that this will top so many charts and sell so well. Even though she will not be coming to InMusic festival in Croatia I'm attending due to her foot injury, I'm still looking forward to listening the crap out of this album and loving it to death. A very, very obvious 5/5 from me., when do we get more? 


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