Florence & The Machine - Ceremonials

So, it took me many attempts on how to write this. I realised that I wasn't being myself and I was trying to be all big & fancy with words, so now I'm just saying it how it is. For me, Ceremonials has had such a huge impact on my life personally, to which comes the reason for me reviewing it as such.

Each song has it's own individual message and/or theme to every single person out there. Maybe one person recalls past trauma, or heartache, or...I don't know..something deeply personal anyway whilst another could recall a memory of joy, happiness and comfortness. Not every person is the same, so every song has a variety of meanings and interpretations. In my eyes, this is why Ceremonials has strength, Welch herself has stated that the album is far more personal than her 2008 debut 'Lungs'. For example; when I first listened to 'What The Water Gave Me' I wasn't impressed. But as time grew...I don't know...I began to feel the song. I felt the waves across my body, heard the crashes of the sea in my ears, water trickling beneath my feet. This is the sheer beauty of Welch's vocals and her fabulous Machine, packed with harps, drums, pianos galore. Also; going back to the personal roots...it took me back to a place that was very dark in my life...I could literally recall it scene for scene...and if that's what one song's power could do? Boy, I knew the album was going to be unstoppable.

And so 'Ceremonials' was released. Did it live up to my expectations? Was I impressed? Short answer; yes. I was blown away by the sheer epic nature of the album, it's lyrics, production, I could go on. 'Only if for A Night's opening piano cords still to this day send a shiver down my spine, as does 'Shake it Out's organ procession and please, let's not forget the unforgettable 15 second elongated note in 'No Light No Light'. A particular friend of mine said and I quote
"It's amazing how one 15 second note is better than any Rihanna album."

 Clearly, this could be taken any way, and some people got angry with this. True, my friend could have worded it better, but I understood his point. His point was that one elongated note shows how powerful a vocalist Florence Welch is, and that she does not have to rely on gimmicks such as huge stage presence, pyrotechnics, auto-tune etc to show her stance as an artist in the music industry. And, to be honest, that's what 'Ceremonials' does best. It doesn't let the production mask it's true beauty and power of a record. Yes okay, sometimes it does go on a little, an example being 'Seven Devils'. A corker of a song, with it's haunting howls and chilling production but at 5 minutes long...it does get a tad tedious. But aside from that tiny flaw, I can't stress the beauty of the record. 'Never Let Me Go' to this day brings tears to my eyes, not for the fact it's the only ballad Welch has ever produced (a heart-wretchedly good one at that) but to me, it has so much personal meaning behind it. I'll blog more about it after I get my tattoo next week but for now all I'll say is that it regards my first love. They promised never to let me go...and what do you think happened? But...I'll leave that story for another time. Going back to the personal meanings, again Welch has succeeded, recalling me to think back to my first love and envision it scene-by-scene. Never has an album had that effect on me, and to be honest, I don't think another album will. Now, onto some more individual track reviews.  I guarantee if you listen to 'Spectrum' your arms will be in the air and your dancing around the room as if you could be high on drugs. But, again that's the beauty of it all, no-one cares, because all Florence fans could unite tomorrow and dance around like lunatics but no-one cares because they're all celebratory in their love for Florence. NOT that I'm encouraging drugs. Drugs are bad m'kay.

Lover to Lover (Official Music Video)

'Lover To Lover' has a gospel/blues influence behind it's optimistic tune and on first listen, I felt like I was ready to take on the day in it's full. I felt...brave...like nothing could phase me or get me down. Which is an irony within itself as most of Welch's songs speak of a dreary pessimistic topic (death, drowning, depression) but to a cherry, uplifting production (notable example being 'Breaking Down'). This I could laugh at...and it helped me get through my exams by a long shot. So, for that I will be grateful. By the time 'All This & Heaven To' is reached, I pictured myself at the top of a hill, or in America on top of The Golden Gate bridge, singing at the top of my lungs. Because I was happy, uplifted and saw life in a new lease. Briefly, speaking of the bonus tracks, learn the clap-a-long to 'Strangness & Charm' & 'Bedroom Hymns'. It will be the best thing you ever do and accomplish. Furthermore, listen to 'Remain Nameless' with the highest bass setting possible. You'll feel like a DJ and feel the best feeling there is out there. You're welcome!

So, in a nutshell, 'Ceremonials' is an album with spirit. If you ever have a bad day at work, if your heart is broken or even if you just need time out, 'Ceremonials' is the best remedy out there. Some people have diaries to vent their emotion; I have 'Ceremonials'.

Kieran x


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