MUSIC / REVIEW : FLORENCE + THE MACHINE – ‘HIGH AS HOPE’ (2018)

 ,,’Oh you look so free,

The way you move your body,

Come on, baby and work it for me’

Hunger, High As Hope (2018)

This album is just pearls to ears. I think it is the most accomplished, and genuine one from Flo. Very raw, her voice is sublime because of her soulful presence illuminated by cerebral, cinematographic sounds and her etheral aura that emanate from her songs. Nowadays, she is undoubtly one of the rare artists who can sing live and for her case, her live performances are just effortlessly magnificient.

Spontaneous, still herself, with her captivating and evolving – her so well controlled vocals are breathtaking. Her music is like addicting to me, fitting so well with my present life and I am proud to call me a ‘fan’ since her debut album.

She is a kind of a Joan of Arc to me, with a Janis Joplin vibe, Kate Bush foogy haunting backvocals, versus holy mood, religious and devoted soft gospel mood. Her effortless sense of fashion and her vision are still as bittersweet and naturally powerful as her ability to be always down to earth, the girl next door, a vintage pirate-shirted queen with a lionheart and a third eye.

A rate of 9.9999999/10, just to be cheeky!

That’s my review from the album, song by song :

1/ JUNE : The album begins with the perfect melody and atsmosphere to enter into Flo’s new dimension : minimalist, outspoken and raw to the voice. ‘We hold on to her’, yeah. It’s summer, it’s june, it’s hot and my hand holds a french iced-tea lemonade, smelling fresh-cut lillies.

2/ HUNGER : This is the second main single of the album, an unprompted gift from her (which was meant to stay just a simple yet truthful poem), and I understand why. This song means so much to me, and I really find myself into the lyrics. The beats, the powerful and positive, pessimist message illustrated by perfect vocals, dope melody and vivid drums. My morning drug to remind myself that life is beautiful and the aim is to heal that beautiful ‘hunger’. I can watch the music video on repeat.

3/ SOUTH LONDON FOREVER : The intro sets the pace to the song : a daydreaming or nighdreaming one. The crescendy power of the song is subtly produced. To my mind, this is an ode to youth memories, wandering in streets at night, and the brutal comeback to reality. The drums and trumpets are setting alive again that nighty full of joy serenade.

4/ BIG GOD : The first time I listened to this song I was like ‘hum, the lyrics are perfect but the melody and the tempo are so down-beat.’. The day after, I re-listened to it, and it was different, I was connected to the lyrics, the beats, the deep drums, and Flo’s howling exorcism are so potent. That little weird part in the outro is just addictive, beautifully weird, grudgy and still so innocent. The music video directed by Vincent Haycock is pure visual and musical art.

5/ SKY FULL OF SONG : This song is the first ‘skecth’ that Flo gave us from ‘High as Hope’. Choirs (by hearself mainly I think), lyrics and melody are so peaceful. She can be so powerful and in the second sounding landscape, she can be so sweet and truthful. Her voice is literally blessed by something that no one can compare to.

6) GRACE : That’s why this album is the most personal one. This song is dedicated to her lil sister, Grace, who’s always been looking after her even if she was the younger one. That family situation is so familiar to me, and I can feel the redemption and the begged forgiveness (‘I was a fucking mess’) into her voice along the song. Striking.

7) PATRICIA : Probably my favorite one. From the first ten seconds of the song, it was a reminiscence to ‘Ceremonial’ X ‘Lungs’ roots. This is an Ode to the divine, to stars and symbols, she had me from the intro to the outro. ‘It’s such a wonderful thing to live’ she whispering sensually. And I totally agree with her. The song and its production are a true masterpierce.

8) 100 YEARS : As a true ‘Drumming Song’ whistler-all-the-time, this song is so into it. Indie-Folk vibes, striking drums, voodoo ‘ha ha ha’ : that song is so f* good. For the first time, Flo is using explicit lyrics, and it is so animal, brutal, sweating savage beauty with catchy greek mythilogical reference lyrics like ‘Hubris is a bitch’. Fan.

9) THE END OF LOVE : This song is my second crush on the album. The ceremonial and holy strings at the beggining reminds me of Lana Del Rey’s short-film ‘Tropico‘ (I’m happy to see Flo working and doing music with producer Emile Haynie, they’re so good doing stuff together). Just for that, I can easily close my eyes and feel peaceful at heart. Then the piano, Flo’s soft and delicate voice are coming and exploding into a heartbreaking chorus. This is a sad song that I can relate to easily, and I can’t deny tears can come when this song is playing. Saturnally timeless. The lyrics reflect the Florence that I’ve admired and loved so much during several years : truthful, spontaneous, my ‘summer in New-York’.

10) NO CHOIR : This is the perfect way to end the album with a quiet ballad, about enjoying the very present time. The sentence ‘But the loneliness never left me, I always took it with me’ is showing us how she can put solitude into art, into force, into power to show the whole world that no choir are needed if the quiet and complaining voices of million human-beings are gathered into one and only place – a place called love.

Florence+The Machine will be performing on 2019, March, 24th at the AccorHotels Arena, Paris. Check it now before the concert is sold out ! See you there !

 

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