Starting out as teenage formation with her friend, keyboardist, and producer, Isabella “Machine” Summers, it soon evolved into a band with various other members being recruited along the way. After putting out their first record and gaining critical adoration from legions of fans, Florence + The Machine Songs were now on their way to becoming one of the most enduring bands of their generation; seriously, everything about them is hauntingly brilliant, and not only that, but their music extends far and wide across the landscape of rock. And this kind of recognition has also lead to them occupying numerous legendary venues, which includes Glastonbury, Reading, and Leeds.
All of that aside, Florence + The Machine simply can not be overlooked. They put out consistent music, they continue to push their style to new heights, and Florence Welch is one of the most talented and gorgeous singers to ever grace the stage. They’re a band to be excited about if you haven’t heard of them before and are looking for fresh, new modern music to satisfy your contempt for some of the music that’s being force-fed to the masses. But no more talking; time for another one of these top ten lists.
Kicking off our top ten Florence + The Machine songs list is a bonus track off of their latest album, How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful, released last year. It’s got a nice arpeggiated piano progression that really sets the tone for the song; it’s really quite a magical melody. And it’s Florence’s layered vocal descension that really reflects on the angry and lovelorn aspect of the song. The album as a whole is fantastic and their most heterogeneous to date, but even their throwaway songs can fit right into the equation, and Hiding is so great that it could’ve easily made its way onto the finishing product.
9.) Heavy In Your Arms
Heavy In Your Arms was released on the B-side edition of their debut record, Lungs, and was only made available exclusively through digital music retailers. With its surprisingly swinging rhythm in the percussion, the atmospheric dread that towers over Florence’s operatic, soprano range somehow fits the mold effortlessly; it’s the kind of muscle to get the adrenaline pumping. Of course the recurring themes in most of Florence + The Machine songs are that of love, sex, and desperation, and it never gets overly repetitive.
One of the more fascinating intricacies of Florence Welch is her style. When factoring in her look and sound, you not only get that Gothic vibe from her, but also a neo-Renaissance vibe as well; Howl is a fine example of these traits. It’s the kind of song to be heard atop the moorlands on a cold and foggy night when the moon is exposed; just listen to the lyrics. And that’s not even taking into consideration the primitive sensuality laced throughout.
7.) St. Jude
It’s a little hard pulling certain songs off of an artists album and labeling them the “best;” That’s the case with How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful since it’s, front-to-back, a stellar album. But St. Jude is a composition that can’t go unnoticed. It’s devoid of any kind of upbeat tempo, but it’s still affecting even without the garishness. There’s the obvious biblical subtlety within its song title, and one can even hear the allusions of hope and overcoming personal calamities as Florence pours her soul out in quite a self-effacing manner.
6.) Drumming Song
Florence + The Machine’s essence has always been deeply rooted in a sound rich in soul, but deep fried in fantasy, mystique, and Tim Burton-like innocence. One can even hear their sound against the backdrop of Hogwarts or somewhere in the Hunger Games. Drumming Song demonstrates a sparkling gloom and poetic sexuality that keeps building up until it resolves quite theatrically; it’s also worth noting that the band does a great job at incorporating an orchestral reverb in their songs as well.
5.) Leave My Body
There isn’t a single ounce of filler in their second album, Ceremonials. In fact, it may have the most replay value out of the bands three studio albums; that’s not saying it’s their best one, because that sort of opinion is subjective, but it’s certainly one of the more grand albums of the 2010’s. Leave My Body does a fantastic job of closing out the album with one last pop-inflected augmentation that lingers with the aftereffect of contempt and triumph.
4.) Queen of Peace
This is one of many songs from their latest record that highlighted a different direction for the band, with more stringed instruments involved. So many aspects about the song make it an ambitious and sonically stunning experience. It’s instrumentally textured, The lyrics are very Arthurian, and Florence continues to transcend her own talent. It was released as the third single off of the album, and it was the right one.
3.) Only If For A Night
Going back to Ceremonials, since our top five slot was the song to close the album, this is the one that opens up the album. Its one of the best opening songs to an album, because it sets everything up for what to expect, and if you don’t have a song that grabs the listener right off the bat, then the album as a whole could collapse on itself. Only If For A Night is an illustrious illustration of Florence Welchs’ unequivocal range as a vocalist, and it’s mammoth wall of sound makes this knockout performance; you’d be lying if you said it didn’t give you goosebumps.
2.) What Kind of Man
Now here’s a lead single to fully showcase the underbelly of Florence + The Machine’s fiery attitude; most definitely their heaviest song to date, and one to surely get you on your feet. It’s a sheer attack force of distorted guitars, tambourines, brass horns, and an acrimonious Florence criticizing a man who had done her wrong. This is the band showing a raging side of them that should be dealt with more often.
1.) Spectrum (Say My Name)
Maybe it could be a tad bit biased that this is my favorite Florence + The Machine song, but it’s just that amazing of a song that it deserves to be number one. It’s a vast combination of R&B, Kraftwork, Mavis Staples, and Disco, with lyrical themes involving love and desire; nothing new here, but she makes it work with her winsome construction of words and phrases. Plus, the way in which the song unfolds makes it a riveting tour de force. It’s the kind of song that, even after multiple listens, never gets redundant. No further statement could do this song anymore rightful judgement; just listen to it. It’s simply a celestial gust of fine wine in the form of otherworldly euphony.
Photo by Anaïs Chaine (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0) or GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html)], via Wikimedia Commons