After four years of waiting, Florence + The Machine’s new album is finally here! I first heard about Florence + The Machine’s third album was when Florence confirmed her ongoing work of the new album last year. The instance they released “What Kind of Man” as the lead single and made the new album, How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful, available for pre-order on iTunes, I was wonderstruck and left wordless about the highly anticipated album. The first thing that came to mind when I read the album title was: Sky, for it is endlessly big, very blue, and undoubtedly beautiful. Or, it could also be about Earth. And Florence said it indeed was inspired by the Los Angeles sky.
From the release of the lead single, I have always felt that this album gives an entirely different aura than the epic sophomore, Ceremonials. In Ceremonials (2011), it was all about the obsession of death and of drowning and about feeling sad. The sophomore album was epic in the way that it holds power to be able to move someone from inside. It was overwhelming and almost divine. But, the third album, even though is still inspired by a failed relationship, gives away something different to the sound: hope. We could basically call every track in the album a sad song, but inside those songs hold calming and hopeful feeling at the the end.
Musically, Florence + The Machine made a big gesture by minimally using harp in the production of this album. I feel that it is such a big change but I already get used to the sound of harp majorly played in tracks like “Dog Days are Over”, “Between Two Lungs”, “Cosmic Love”, “Spectrum”, or “What the Water Gave Me”. Instead of harp, the band experimented with trumpets and several other wind instruments. And of course, they nailed it.
In the production side, Markus Dravs took the role as producer and I think it is one factor that adds the awesomeness of How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful. Markus Dravs known with his notable works producing Bjork’s genre-shifting album Homogenic (1997), Coldplay’s Viva La Vida or Death and All His Friends (2008), also the Grammy’s Album of the Year winners Mumford and Sons’ Babel (2012) and Arcade Fire’s The Suburbs (2010). The first and the latter are two of my favorite albums of all time! Dravs himself co-wrote the fourth track “Queen of Peace” and the fifth track “Various Storms and Saints” from How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful, which I think are both very deep and powerful.
The album itself has received many positive reviews. Metacritics gave the album score of 76 out of 100, indicating generally favourable receptions. Rolling Stone Magazine gave 3.5 out 5 stars. And Helen Brown of The Daily Telegraph gave 4 out of 5 stars, praising it as “thunderous,” and added, “the 28-year-old art history professor’s daughter has turned her turmoil into a powerful record, adding a new spiritual depth and mature awareness to the thrill of the wild emotions she has always been able to pump so fearlessly out of her mighty heart and lungs.”
With all that being said, there is no reason not to like this album. It is worth your every penny. I, myself, worship Florence + The Machine. This band is my favourite of all time. There’s nothing out there that is as magical and overwhelming as Florence + The Machine.
How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful (Deluxe)
Release date: June 1st 2015 (UK), June 2nd 2015 (US)
Buy here: iTunes US Store
Tracklist (of iTunes Deluxe Version):
- Ship to Wreck
- What Kind of Man
- How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful
- Queen of Peace
- Various Saints and Storms
- Long and Lost
- Third Eye
- St. Jude
- Make Up Your Mind
- Which Witch (Demo)
- Third Eye (Demo)
- How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful (Demo)