Sunday, 7 June 2015

FLORENCE AND THE MACHINE - HOW BIG, HOW BLUE, HOW BEAUTIFUL


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How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful
Physical standard edition artwork
Studio album by Florence and the Machine
Released29 May 2015
Recorded2014
Genre
Length48:46
LabelIsland
Florence and the Machine chronology
  • How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful
  • (2015)
Singles from How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful
  1. "What Kind of Man"
    Released: 12 February 2015
  2. "Ship to Wreck"
    Released: 8 April 2015
How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful is the third studio album by the English indie rock band Florence and the Machine, released on 29 May 2015 in Germany and on 1 June 2015 in the UK through Island Records.[1] It is the band's first studio album in three and a half years and was produced by Markus DravsPaul Epworth produced the album closing track "Mother".[2]

Contents

  [show

Background[edit]

In 2011, the band released their second album, Ceremonials, which reached number one on the UK Albums Chart and number six on the US Billboard 200.[3][4] The album included the song "Spectrum (Say My Name)" which was remixed by Scottish musicianCalvin Harris and became the band's first UK number-one hit.[5]
In mid-2012, it was announced that Universal Republic Records was going defunct, moving all artists including Florence and the Machine to Republic Records making the label itself revived. In late August 2012, lead singer Florence Welch told Style magazine that she plans to take a twelve-month hiatus before starting to work on the band's next studio album, stating, "There's a big 'take a year off' plan. The record company have put no pressure on me for the next album. They've said I can have as long as I want."[6]
In an interview with Zane Lowe, Welch said that during the year off she had "a bit of a nervous breakdown," and that time was a little chaotic. "I was still going out and going to events but something wasn't quite right, I was spiraling a bit. I wasn't making myself happy. I wasn't stable." She added, "It was a really vulnerable time for me when we first started making the record and because of that it's the most personal record I've ever made."[7]

Composition[edit]

Regarding the album themes, Welch said in a press statement, "I guess although I've always dealt in fantasy and metaphor when I came to writing, that meant the songs this time were dealing much more in reality. Ceremonials was so fixated on death and water, and the idea of escape or transcendence through death, but the new album became about trying to learn how to live, and how to love in the world rather than trying to escape from it. Which is frightening because I'm not hiding behind anything but it felt like something I had to do."[8][9] Welch also told Zane Lowe that producer Marcus Dravs disallowed her to write any more songs about water; however, she managed to get "Ship to Wreck" onto the record.[7]

Recording[edit]

On 4 June 2014, Welch told NME that the band's third studio album was in the works.[10] The material for the album was written and recorded throughout 2014. Welch said that she wanted to work with Markus Dravs on the album, as he produced Björk's Homogenic (1997), an important album to Welch. "I felt he had that balance of organic and electronic capabilities, managing those two worlds. And, you know, he's good with big sounds. And I like big sounds. And he's good with trumpets, and I knew I wanted a brass section on this record," she said in the press release.[11] "With Markus, I wanted to make something that was big but that had a gentleness to it, that had a warmth, that was rooted. I think that's why we went back more to the live instruments. Something that was band-led almost," she added.[12] The final track on the album, "Mother", was co-produced by Dravs and Paul Epworth.[11][12]
The brass arrangements on the album were done by Will Gregory of the English electronic music duo Goldfrapp.[11] They are highlighted in the title track, "How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful". "The trumpets at the end of that song —that's what love feels like to me: an endless brass section that goes off into space. And it takes you with it. You're so up there. And that's what music feels like to me. You want it just to pour out endlessly, and it's the most amazing feeling," said Welch.[12]

Promotion[edit]

On 10 February 2015, Florence and the Machine released a music video featuring a snippet of the album's title track, "How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful". The video, which showed Welch dancing with her look-alike,[12] was directed by Tabitha Denholm and Vincent Haycock and served as an album teaser.[13][14]
On 9 May 2015, Florence and the Machine was the musical guest on Saturday Night Live.[15]
The band has been confirmed for numerous European festivals in summer 2015, including Way Out West in Sweden, Super Bock Super Rock in Portugal and Rock Werchterin Belgium, among others.[16]

Singles[edit]

"What Kind of Man" was released as the lead single off the album two days later.[14] The song was premiered on BBC Radio 1 on 12 February 2015 at 7:30 p.m. local time along with an announcement of the album's release date, title, and track listing.[8] The music video, directed by Vincent Haycock and choreographed by Ryan Heffington,[9]premiered online shortly afterwards, along with the album's pre-order.[1] On 18 April 2015, the song was issued on a limited 12" Record Store Day vinyl, with "As Far as I Could Get" released as a B-side.[17]
"St. Jude" was released as a promotional single on 23 March 2015. A music video accompanying the song was released the same day.[18] Considered to be a continuation of the video for "What Kind of Man", it was also directed by Haycock and choreographed by Heffington and sees Florence Welch "traveling through their version of the Divine Comedy."[19][20]
"Ship to Wreck" was released as the second single on 8 April 2015.[21] The music video for the song, also shot by Haycock, choreographed by Heffington and filmed in Welch's own house, was released on 13 April.[22]
"Delilah" was released as another promotional single on 19 May 2015. The song debuted as the Hottest Record on Annie Mac's BBC Radio 1 show.[23][24]

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
SourceRating
Metacritic76/100[25]
Review scores
SourceRating
AllMusic3/5 stars[26]
Billboard4/5 stars[27]
The Daily Telegraph4/5 stars[28]
Digital Spy4/5 stars[29]
The Guardian3/5 stars[30]
New York Daily News4/5 stars[31]
NME8/10[32]
Pitchfork Media7.6/10[33]
Q4/5 stars[25]
Rolling Stone3.5/5 stars[34]
Critical reaction towards How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful has been generally positive. On Metacritic, the album has a weighted average score of 76 out of 100, based on 24 reviews, indicating "generally favourable" reception.[25]
Helen Brown of The Daily Telegraph praised the album calling it "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."[28] George Seabrook of The Edge gave 5 stars out of 5, and stated "Because Florence Welch, along with her band (The Machine) and everyone involved in the writing and producing, is really good. So good that with their latest album How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful, she will become the new “Kate Bush”. There isn’t any artist like her on the same mainstream level. Male, female, solo, band, full scale orchestra".

Track listing[edit]

No.TitleWriter(s)Length
1."Ship to Wreck"   3:54
2."What Kind of Man"  
3:36
3."How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful"   5:34
4."Queen of Peace"  
5:07
5."Various Storms & Saints"  
  • Welch
  • Dravs
4:09
6."Delilah"  
  • Welch
  • Summers
4:53
7."Long & Lost"  
3:15
8."Caught"  
4:24
9."Third Eye"  
  • Welch
4:20
10."St. Jude"  
  • Welch
  • Ford
3:45
11."Mother"  
5:49

Personnel[edit]

Adapted from How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful liner notes.[36]

Charts[edit]

Chart (2015)Peak
position
Australian Albums (ARIA)[37]1
Dutch Albums (MegaCharts)[38]3
German Albums (Official Top 100)[39]3
Irish Albums (IRMA)[40]1
New Zealand Albums (Recorded Music NZ)[41]1

Release history[edit]

RegionDateFormatsEdition(s)Label
Germany[42]29 May 2015
  • Standard
  • deluxe
Universal Music
United Kingdom[43]1 June 2015Island
United States[44]2 June 2015

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