Music has the power to influence and evoke emotions. There are artists who seem to manage to delve into your darkest inner thoughts. In 2009 Florence & The Machine, later changing to Florence + The Machine broke onto the airwaves. Here was an artist who felt as intensely as I do.
With the layers of harmonies, use of orchestral instruments like the harp and enhancement of drums, Florence + The Machine really know how to give you all the feels. I’ve gone through their back catalogue and picked out a song from each album that really resonated with me at the time.
Blinding from Lungs (2009)
And all my bones began to shake. My eyes flew open. No more dreaming like a girl so in love with the wrong world.
I spent most of my late teens and early 20s in a state of lust. I’d grown up influenced by rom coms, and whilst I didn’t believe in fairy tales, I hadn’t quite realised that rom coms were a different kind of fantasy. In Blinding, Florence sings about waking up from the spell that love had put her under. I remember this really resonating with me as I had a tendency for fall for people that were emotionally unavailable. Blinding would help to snap me out of the dream like state and push me back into reality… for a while, at least.
Shake It Out from Ceremonials (2011)
Regrets collect like old friends. Here to relive your darkest moments.
Sometimes there are songs that feel like they have been written just for you. Shake It Out was the first time I felt like someone was saying we all make mistakes, we are all at times reckless, but we survive it. At the time I was at the beginning of what would be a long period of self-sabotaging, self-destructive behaviour, and having Shake It Out on a repeat was a small comfort through the darkness I had formed around myself.
I still remember where I was the first time I heard Shake It Out; in my parents kitchen listening to Zane Lowe on Radio One. It was his hottest record in the world right now, meaning it got played twice. By the second play Shake It Out had become my survival anthem.
Queen Of Peace from How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful (2015)
Now you have me on the run. The damage is already done. Come on, is this what you want? Cause you’re driving me away.
In 2015 I started seeing someone 10 years my senior. I naively thought that this would make them more mature than my peers. They were conflicted, kept on ghosting, then coming back and confusing me by opening up to me, only to then disappear again. I’m so proud that it didn’t take me too much time to realise that I deserved better. It was better to leave them to sort out their own demons than allow myself to be engulfed by them. Queen Of Peace was the reminder I needed that it’s not on me to solve someone’s problems and made it a lot easier to walk away.
Sky Full Of Song from High As Hope (2018)
I thought I was flying. But maybe I’m dying tonight.
2018 was the year I finally accepted that my mental illness would always be there. I handed in my notice at a job that no longer fulfilled me. That I had come to realise had no future. A little while after I became filled with the panic of taking a massive step into the unknown. Sky Full of Song was a reflection of how tired I was of the cycle of anxiety, the uncertainties and overwhelming possibilities – “I couldn’t hide from the thunder in the sky full of song“.