Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Shake it Out

Song: Shake it Out
Artist: Florence + the Machine
Album: Ceremonials

Back in April when the Summer was just starting, I was visiting a friend in DC, and just prior to hitting a Blowoff dance party, we stopped at a gay sports bar Nellie's, to have a pre-cocktail.  The place was pretty packed, and we were hanging with some friends at a table, part of a group of them, that was on the first floor of the three-floor complex.  There were TV's everywhere, with the majority playing some sporting event that nobody was watching, but the sound in the bar came from a video channel that played music videos on the TV's that didn't have sports on them, including the large projection screen that was centered in the middle of the room.

Mostly the music was your typical mix of pop music and Euro dance tracks.  Despite the onslaught of visuals both of the sports persuasion, and the much more attention-grabbing videos, the crowd was deep in either conversation, or checking out the other members of the room.  That all changed when Florence + the Machine's "Dog Days are Over" came on.  As the stark white video began, with Florence's voodoo-goddess dance moves and blue-skinned go-go back up girls, the group I was with found itself breaking all conversation and staring at the vision before us.  As entranced I was, despite seeing it before, I soon noticed that our group was not alone, and that all of the guys in the room had stopped their conversation, and began to stare at the screen, and move to the music as well.

It was an amazing moment, one that was broke as soon as the video ended.  But we'd all gotten into the video and danced a bit to the song together.  Moments like this make me marvel at the power of music (and visuals) but it's one that I now permanently associate with the song, and Florence.  Amazing.

I'll be honest and admit that aside from that huge single, I couldn't get into Florence and the Machine's full debut album, "Lungs," despite it being raved about by just about everyone.  But regardless, I was happy that someone so quirky had such a hit, which parlayed itself into performances on MTV and other award shows.  Next month will see the release of the bands sophomore album "Ceremonials," which has been described as a little more beat-heavy, soulful, and a bit about medical studies.  Hmmm.

The first track released from the album, the moody "What the Water Gave Me," had none of the pop and effervescence of "Dog Days," but after a couple listens, the drama of the song fully took me over.  It's quite gorgeous.  I was incorrect in my assumption that it was the official first single... as recently "Shake it Out" was released.  "Shake" is a bombastic, anthemic song, that also takes a couple listens to fully form.  It's got a bit of Peter Gabriel in there, and overall has an 80's bigness to it... without really sounding "80's."  Though, the more I listen to this, the more I see an Annie Lennox connection to Florence... both in voice and presence.  Nice.

I'm looking forward to hearing the entire new record.


Shake it Out
What the Water Gave Me
Dog Days Are Over

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