I was frequenting my favorite local neighbourhood coffee shop when Florence + the Machine’s “Dog Days Are Over” ditty poured from the cafe’s speakers. I’d heard this song before, but for some reason it resonated with me more that Saturday morning. When I returned home I instantly jumped on Google and searched the music video for Dog Days. One word: Gorgeous! Not only was it an ear quenching melody, but the visual eye candy was just as outstanding. Downloading the album was a necessity at this point. Here’s my play on the songs track by track:
1. Dog Days Are Over
One can’t help but dance or head bob to amazing harpist Tom Monger featured in the first 5 seconds of the piece. Florence is truly blessed to have the talented Monger performing on this track. Yes, this was the second single released and blasted from every car stereo for 2 years straight, but the well developed vocals and instrumentals make this song hard to get sick of.
2. Rabbit Heart (Raise It Up)
This was originally one of those tracks that I kept pressing skip to get to the more popular songs I knew on the album. I have actually grown to love this gospel-like choir harmony, to the point where it might be my third favorite on this album.
3. I’m Not Calling You a Liar
I felt this song wasn’t quite as developed as others on the album. For some reason I cannot seem to press repeat on this song, even though I feel the lyrics are quite witty: “I’m not calling you a liar, just don’t lie to me. I’m not calling you a thief, just don’t steal from me.” When it’s over I am ready for the next song to play.
This song makes me think of what Shakira was aiming for with “She Wolf” but failed miserably. It has an incredibly catchy triplet rhythm paired with sensual lyrics “If you could only see the beast you’ve made of me, I held it in but now it seems you’ve set it running free.” It’s easily danceable by any gay with rhythm and hips that don’t lie.
5. Kiss with a Fist
Incredibly short, incredibly fantastic. “You smashed a plate over my head, then I set fire to our bed.” This two minute anthem reminds everyone that sometimes even a shitty relationship is better than nothing, or so we think.
6. Girl with One Eye
Welch did it again. She’s got my interest peaked with the bluesy sounds and lyrics of this song. “She told me not to step on the cracks. I told her not to fuss and relax. Pretty little thing stopped me in her tracks.” Whose perspective is this song from? Does Welch dabble in the bisexual relations? Regardless the answer, the powerhouse vocals of this song make anyone, gay, straight or bisexual want revenge for past “pretty little things”.
7. Drumming Song
With nods of gothic Amy Lee vocals and hip hop rhythms, “Drumming Song” has a sort of mixture between angry teenage emo feelings and dancy drum cadences. I would agree with Welch’s commentary on the song, “To me it’s the most forward-thinking music around. No one else is moving forward at such pace!”
8. Between Two Lungs
“Between Two Lungs” is chock-full of instrumental delights. From the very first note of the Native American flute in the beginning, it’s a mysterious melody with twists and turns that end in a magically satisfying harp harmony.
9. Cosmic Love
This is perhaps the most powerful connection I’ve had with a song in a long time. I am a firm believer that songs find you, not the other way around. “Cosmic Love” found me at a time when I needed a guide for the emotions I was feeling. “No dawn, no day, I’m always in this twilight. In the shadow of your heart.” Fuck. I was feeling it hard. This song was on repeat for several of my night photoshoots. The full fairytale of it all; the harp, the solid drum beats, the belting vocals of Florence, it is by far a five star song that will forever remind me of him.
10. My Boy Builds Coffins
The segway between “Cosmic Love” and “My Boy Builds Coffins” was, I am sure, melodically intentional. It’s lyrics are so true. “My boy builds coffins for the rich and the poor. Kings and queens; they’ve all knocked on his door.” Death knows no riches. In the end everyone is the same.
11. Hurricane Drunk
Florence + the Machine has managed to once again capture an element of lyrically well-written harmonies that match perfectly with the title of the song. Subtle piano undertones bring me back to Key West, listening to “Margaritaville” with a category five on its way.
How very Björk of them. A harp mixed with birds squawkingand a peculiar Welch laugh welcomes this twelfth track. What seems like a song that is going to be something straight out of Volta, Blinding takes a turn for a rather common sounding theme. Not to offend, the lyrics and melody are still just as fabulous as the previous eleven tracks.
13. You’ve Got the Love
I feel like I could turn on any dramatic doctor show via ABC, CBS or whatever and hear this anthem playing in the background as the mediocre actresses pretend that their heart is broken because they just found McSteamy fucking the new intern. “You’ve Got the Love” is well-written, almost too well I would say, that’s why it makes me feel cliché. I much prefer the live version on track 17.
Swimming is the perfect lead up to “Heavy in Your Arms”. The incredibly short violin strokes bring a pace that somehow connects water to your senses. As you’re carried away you realize the lyrics make reference to drowning and soon, as the song makes its final destination, you are flooded with sound as if to drown into the next track.
15. Heavy In Your Arms
There is no doubt that Florence + the Machine has mastered matching lyrics with melody. The choice of instruments mixed with the lead-footed tempo perfectly captures the title in this song.
16. Ghosts (Demo)
Right away you can tell this was a demo version as there is a slightly annoying and slightly constant buzz. Not one of my favorites again, but still not horrible.
17. You’ve Got the Dirtee Love (Live At The Brit Awards 2010)
Who doesn’t like a harp jamming out with an English rapper? Oh, you don’t? Well that’s a shame because the live-recorded version of this song is fantastic! I’ve only heard good things about Florence live and the small bit that was captured on this album just proves Welch has a natural voice for performing.
18. Dog Days Are Over (Yeasayer Remix)
I’m usually not a big fan of remixes unless I’ve heard of the DJ and I really hadn’t heard of Yeasayer. This track was at first on my skip list until, by chance, I was driving around town and forgot to press next. To my surprise, it’s the perfect song to drive around in a busy downtown and people watch to. It’s a soundtrack to a Volkswagen commercial waiting to happen.
A peaceful ballad with a fantastic analysis of falling in love. “Because falling’s not the problem. When I’m falling, I’m in peace. It’s only when I hit the ground, it causes all the grief.” Words so true have never been spoken. The bliss of falling in love isn’t the problem, it’s only the realization of where it’s going, the hitting of the ground, is where it can get ugly.
20. Are You Hurting the One You Love?
It’s pretty apparent what this song is about. The simple piano, cowbell and drum melody is very appropriate as the lyrics are pretty literal on this track.
21. Addicted to Love
This remake offers Welch’s voice like you haven’t heard it before in this track. It is soft and downtempo, but suprisingly addicting. The interpretative spin of taking this song at a slower tempo goes well with its meaning. It’s a kind of somber realization, “you might as well face it, you’re addicted to love.”
22. Bird Song
There Welch goes again and again and again. This song starts with her singing a cappella, which is beautifully done. Soon a guitar joins the dreamy lullaby, leading into a sort of tango of lyrics about how she invites a bird inside her house to stop singing about the taboo events that he has witnessed. It’s extremely hard to avoid the urge to dance and shake your head when the song jumps into a tango trance again and again.
23. Hospital Beds
Our brains are constantly comparing sounds we’ve heard before and every time I hear this song it brings Fiest to the surface. A short number, “Hospital Beds”, is sung with minimal instrumentation but it really doesn’t need them. It’s short enough to take flight with just Welch’s voice, a guitar, tambourine and drums.
24. Hardest of Hearts
When I first heard this song I thought I accidently hit my iPod back to “Howl”. It’s got a similar mysterious riff leading into a toe tapping kick drum beat. Nonetheless, “Hardest of Hearts” wins me over in the last 35 seconds as, once again, those gothic Amy Lee sounding vocals surge from Welch’s throat.