A harp is not the first instrument one expects to hear in a popular song these days, but Florence + The Machine didn’t seem to mind breaking the musical status quo to add a dreamy quality to the powerful drum pounding of “Cosmic Love” from their 2009 “Lungs” album.
Flash-forward nine years, and the band has just released their fourth album, “High as Hope,” on June 29. Ever since their formation in the early 2000s, the band has consistently delivered on catchy, emotionally relatable music that I never seem to tire of.
Something that I particularly love is that Florence + The Machine creates songs that are enhanced by a visual component. Whenever I listen to their music, I see these little movies playing in my head, inspired by lyrics that are more symbolic than literal and powerful, yet intricate instrumental arrangements.
Florence + The Machine’s music has appeared on many TV shows including “Gossip Girl,” “The Vampire Diaries” and “Grey’s Anatomy.” Singer Florence Welch is also featured on film soundtracks such as “The Great Gatsby,” “Twilight” and “Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children.”
The songs from Florence + The Machine not only pair well with fictional scenes but ones in real life as well. Every day, Americans experience shared milestones that bond them together, like birthdays, getting your driver’s license or getting married. As everyone knows, all big events are best accompanied by a soundtrack.
In honor of Florence + The Machine’s new album, here are seven of their songs that go perfectly with life’s big moments.
1. Prom — “Drumming Song”
Prom is the biggest high school dance. Students spend a lot of time and money to make prom special, so there needs to be a song that goes well with dancing which also captures the youthful spirit of the night. “Drumming Song” is a clear winner.
As the title suggests, the tune is heavy on drums, which is necessary if you want a good tune that gets everyone pumped to bust a move. Together, Welch’s voice and the arrangement of the drumming rhythms give off an energy that can only be described as something that makes you feel alive — what a feeling to experience at prom.
2. Graduation — “Dog Days Are Over”
“Dog Days Are Over” makes the most sense as a graduation song. Graduation, whether it be from high school, college, trade school or some other educational institution, is a large accomplishment within itself, because not everyone makes it across the stage.
The “dog days”— in this case, late night cram sessions and endless papers — “are over,” as Welch sings. Graduates need lyrics imbued with sheer happiness to match the elation felt after completing their education — and “Dog Days Are Over” delivers.
The direct references to family, “Run fast for your mother, fast for your father, run for your children, for your sisters and brothers,” in the lyrics could go along with how important graduation is to the family of graduates.
3. First Day of Work — “Queen of Peace”
Since most people don’t stay at their job for 20 years anymore, you will probably experience many first days at a new job in your lifetime. You’ll need an upbeat song to help motivate you during your adjustment to the daily grind.
Although “Queen of Peace” is not about going to work, there’s something about it — maybe the drums or the percussion — that makes it sound like one of those songs that plays during someone’s morning commute on a TV show. Either way, this song will get you ready to tackle whatever your boss throws your way.
4. Falling in Love — “Cosmic Love”
In an article by The Sunday Times, Welch said that “Cosmic Love” is about falling deeply in love to the point of losing yourself. “A harp, drums and piano spectacular, ‘it’s a beautiful piece of music anyway, but that vocal performance was otherworldly,’” said, Paul Epworth, a producer for the “Lungs” album.
The celestial imagery evoked by lyrics such as “the stars, the moon, they have all been blown out, you left me in the dark” begs for the song to be accompanied by some sort of movie scene, such as a couple’s first kiss under a starry night sky, or played during the trailer of a dramatic romance.
In real life, “Cosmic Love” would probably go well with the honeymoon phase of a new relationship.
5. Anniversary — “Never Let Me Go”
Romantic anniversaries celebrating weddings and relationships deserve a special, moving song that isn’t super cheesy. “Never Let Me Go” brings the sentiment but leaves the mushiness at home.
This time, Welch uses her deeper parts of her voice as she croons to a melancholy beat that moves with the ocean waves. In a perfect world, this song would play while a couple dances on the beach, but since this is real life, this song also works for a slow dance in the living room.
6. Breakup — “What Kind of Man”
“What Kind of Man” was the first song that came to mind when I thought of breakups. The song’s arrangement expresses the anger you might experience after splitting up with a loved one. Welch starts off in a softer, more subdued voice, but when the guitar comes in, the emotions heighten as she belts, “What kind of man loves like this?” and the song takes off from there.
Sometimes you don’t want to cry after your breakup; you just want to scream. Let all of your emotions out with this song and feel the sweet relief that comes when you realize the relationship was supposed to end.
7. Loss of a Loved One — “St. Jude”
People are not usually eager to broach the subject of death, but it remains a constant in everyone’s life. However, knowing that everyone dies at some point doesn’t stop the pain of grief, which is why there needs to be a gentler song to match such an emotional event.
“St. Jude” stirs up feelings in you that you never knew you had. It’s somber, remorseful and absolutely heart-wrenching. Welch skips the belting and howling in this song, instead opting for a smoother, more tender sound. Even though it’s about a failed relationship, the emotions that the song evokes can be felt on a sadder level than a breakup such as death.
While you may not experience every milestone on this list, music, especially by Florence + The Machine, can turn any one of life’s milestone into a moving scene that explodes with emotion.