Album Review: Florence and the Machine - Lungs


Florence and the Machine - Lungs
Florence and the Machine - Lungs (Image courtesy of Island Records)

I need to preface this with the admittance that I judge female singer-songwriters more harshly than any other type of musician. This is something I have always done. Most times I find it mildly annoying when a girl is out front and the only thing she can sing about is some dude and his inability to acknowledge her existence and how he would really see how in love they were if he would just have a conversation with her. With that out of the way — I like Florence and the Machine.

As the latest enqenue from the UK, it may be easy to package Florence Welch, the front woman of Florence and the Machine, with a neat bow in a gaggle of soulful brit singers. The recent winner of the Brit Award, with her debut album Lungs, didn't get her break by going to the right vocal school and hiring the right management team. She saw a local DJ in the bathroom at a club and decided to belt out a song.

This is not a girl lacking moxy, case in point: "Kiss with a Fist". With lyrics like "I broke your jaw once before / You broke my leg in return," it's not hard to see how this has become one of the more controversial songs in recent Current playlists. Welch claims that the lyrics are metaphorical for the pain that you feel when you are in love. You can make your own call on the meaning, but when Florence sings, you feel what she's feeling. It's Kate Bush by way of Stevie Nicks by way of PJ Harvey with a dash of Whitney Huston (at least in the vocal inflections in "You've got the Love").

The album on a whole is a bit all over the board. There's the summer-day-invoaking-pop-happiness of "The Dog Days are Over", Imogen Heap electro-dreamyness of "Rabbit Heart(Raise it Up)," the folksy pared down love note of "I'm Not Calling You a Liar" and the straight up pop of "You've Got the Love". What all the songs have in common is suicidal, throw yourself off a cliff, burn you to cinder, all-consuming love. But at the end of the album you are singing your own lungs out with her... or at least I was. Maybe I've become a bit of a rock chick lover.