Wednesday, 4 July 2018

Florence + The Machine - How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful (2015)


How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigationJump to search
How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful
Florence and the Machine - How Big How Blue How Beautiful (Official Album Cover).png
CD and LP cover; the digital download album cover only includes the grayscale photograph of Florence Welch.
Studio album by Florence and the Machine
Released29 May 2015
RecordedFebruary 2014 – 2015
Studio
Genre
Length48:46
LabelIsland
Producer
Florence and the Machine chronology
MTV Unplugged
(2012)
How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful
(2015)
High as Hope
(2018)
Alternative cover
Urban Outfitters exclusive LP cover
Urban Outfitters exclusive LP cover
Singles from How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful
  1. "What Kind of Man"
    Released: 12 February 2015
  2. "Ship to Wreck"
    Released: 9 April 2015
  3. "Queen of Peace"
    Released: 21 August 2015
  4. "Delilah"
    Released: 20 November 2015
How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful is the third studio album by the English indie rock band Florence and the Machine. It was released on 29 May 2015 by Island Records. After returning from her year-long hiatus from music, frontwoman Florence Welch returned to configure How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful, recording material that dealt with personal conflicts and struggles. In comparison to their last two efforts, the album is much more refined and stripped-down instrumentally, and incorporates a mixture of musical influences such as folkblues and gospel.
How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful was met with positive reviews from music critics, who commended the album for its cohesion, production and Welch's vocal delivery. Additionally, it appeared on several year-end critics' lists in late 2015. The album debuted at number one on the UK Albums Chart with 68,788 copies sold in its first week, becoming the band's third consecutive number-one album, while topping the charts in several other markets. Four singles were released from the album—"What Kind of Man", "Ship to Wreck", "Queen of Peace" and "Delilah". How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful has earned the band five Grammy Award nominations, in addition to being shortlisted for the 2015 Mercury Prize.

Contents

  [show

Background[edit]

In 2011, Florence and the Machine released their second studio album, Ceremonials, which became their second consecutive effort to peak at number one on the UK Albums Chart, as well as their first to reach the top 10 of the US Billboard 200, peaking at number six.[3][4] The album included the song "Spectrum (Say My Name)", which was remixed by Scottish musician Calvin Harris and became the group's first number-one single on the UK Singles Chart in July 2012.[5] In late August 2012, the band's lead vocalist Florence Welch revealed to Style.com that she would take a year-long hiatus from music, explaining, "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] During her break, Welch made a guest appearance on Calvin Harris's album 18 Months, providing vocals on the song "Sweet Nothing", which topped the UK chart.[7][8]

Conception and recording[edit]

In an interview with Zane Lowe on 16 February 2015, Welch said that during the year off she had "a bit of a nervous breakdown", and that time was chaotic. The hiatus was somewhat new for the singer, who was almost constantly at work during the making of the band's first two albums. Welch explained further, saying, "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."[9] It allowed Welch to reassess her musical approach to reflect her own life experiences, a change she credits to consulting with Taylor Swift.[10] Overall, the recording sessions for How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful were conducted during a vulnerable period in Welch's life, making the album her most personal work thus far.[9]
Welch began composing the material for How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful upon concluding the band's touring in support of Ceremonials, in 2014.[11] Regarding the album's themes, she 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."[12][13] Welch also told Lowe that producer Markus Dravs was instrumental in exploring her lyrical versatility, as he disallowed her to write any more songs about water, a main theme in Welch's past compositions. Still, she managed to pen "Ship to Wreck", a song Welch jokingly commented was "not too explicit" in comparison to her past works.[9]
On 4 June 2014, Welch told the NME that the band's third studio album was in the works.[14] There was an emphasized effort to avoid heavily orchestrating the instrumental arrangements, or as Welch described it, "make Ceremonials Part Two", as she believed the predecessor had reached its creative peak.[11] Welch said that she wanted to work with 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.[15] "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.[16] The final track on the album, "Mother", was co-produced by Dravs and Paul Epworth.[15][16]

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,[16] was directed by Tabitha Denholm and Vincent Haycock, and served as an album teaser.[17][18]
Florence and the Machine performed "What Kind of Man" and "Ship to Wreck" on Later... with Jools Holland on 28 April 2015.[19] On 9 May, the band performed both songs on Saturday Night Live.[20] The group performed "Ship to Wreck" on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon on June 2.[21]
The band performed at numerous European festivals in summer 2015, including Way Out West in Sweden, headlining Glastonbury festivalSuper Bock Super Rock in Portugal and Rock Werchter in Belgium, among others.[22] On 9 September 2015, the group's tour in support of the album kicked off in Belfast, Northern Ireland.[23][24]

The Odyssey[edit]

Starting on 12 February 2015, the band released a series of Vincent Haycock-directed music videos for several songs from the album, with each video acting as a chapter in a story titled The Odyssey. The complete 47-minute short film premiered via the band's website on 25 April 2016, consisting of all previously released videos, as well as new connecting scenes and a new final chapter, set to "Third Eye". Haycock explained that The Odyssey follows "Florence's personal journey to find herself again after the emotional storm of a heartbreak. Like the layers of Dante's purgatory, each song or chapter represents a battle that Florence traversed and physical landscape that embodied each song or story."[25]
  • Chapter 1: "What Kind of Man"[26]
  • Chapter 2: "How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful" (connecting scene different to teaser video)[27]
  • Chapter 3: "St. Jude"[28]
  • Chapter 4: "Ship to Wreck"[29]
  • Chapter 5: "Queen of Peace"[30]
  • Chapter 6: "Long & Lost"[30]
  • Chapter 7: "Mother" (connecting scene)
  • Chapter 8: "Delilah"[31]
  • Chapter 9: "Third Eye"[32]
  • Credits: "Various Storms & Saints"[33]

Singles[edit]

"What Kind of Man" was released as the lead single from the album two days after the "How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful" teaser.[18] 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.[12] The music video, directed by Vincent Haycock and choreographed by Ryan Heffington,[13] premiered online shortly afterwards, along with the album's pre-order.[34] The single reached number 37 on the UK Singles Chart and number 88 on the US Billboard Hot 100.[35][36] On 18 April 2015, "What Kind of Man" was issued as a limited-edition 12-inch vinyl for Record Store Day, featuring "As Far as I Could Get" as its B-side.[37]
"Ship to Wreck" was released as the second single on 9 April 2015.[38] 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.[39] The track peaked at number 27 on the UK chart.[35]
"Queen of Peace" was released as the third single on 21 August 2015.[40] The music video was issued prior to the single on 27 July 2015 as a 10-minute double-feature, including the song "Long and Lost", and was filmed on the Scottish island of Easdale.[41]
"Delilah" was released as the fourth single from the album on 20 November 2015.[42] The track premiered as a Hottest Record on Annie Mac's BBC Radio 1 show on 19 May 2015,[43][44] and its accompanying music video premiered on 21 October.[45] The song, along with its demo version, was released as a limited-edition 12-inch vinyl for Record Store Day on 16 April 2016, including a cover of Neil Young's "Only Love Can Break Your Heart" as its B-side.[46]

Other songs[edit]

A music video for "St. Jude" premiered on 23 March 2015. 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."[47][48]

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
SourceRating
Metacritic77/100[49]
Review scores
SourceRating
AllMusic3/5 stars[50]
Billboard4/5 stars[51]
Consequence of SoundB+[52]
The Daily Telegraph4/5 stars[53]
Entertainment WeeklyA−[54]
The Guardian3/5 stars[55]
NME8/10[56]
Pitchfork7.6/10[57]
Rolling Stone3.5/5 stars[58]
Spin7/10[59]
How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful received positive reviews from critics. At Metacritic, which assigns a weighted mean rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream critics, the album received an average score of 77, based on 31 reviews.[49] Kyle Anderson of Entertainment Weekly viewed How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful as "Florence + the Machine's most raw and stripped-down album to date", adding that "Welch may have gone slightly smaller with her sound, but her emotional depth and capacity for wonder remain gigantic."[54] Michael Madden of Consequence of Sound hailed it as "the strongest Florence album to date" due to Welch having "reached a new level of eloquence in her writing, making her a more complete artist than ever", concluding that "it's apparent she's among her generation's most deserving superstars, maintaining a stunning balance of technical mastery and sensitive lyricism."[52]Leonie Cooper of the NME wrote, "Overflowing with stately songwriting and lyrical craftsmanship, How Big, How Blue, How Beautifulmakes for a restrained but joyful return, and a collection that will last long after Welch's broken bones are mended."[56] Carl Wilson of Billboard commented, "No matter the mood and tempo, though, the Florence & The Machine heard on How Big How Blue How Beautifulis a newly self-aware one. It shows a different kind of mastery by allowing for a different kind of vulnerability, an especially delicate balancing act for a young woman in pop music."[51]
Helen Brown of The Daily Telegraph praised the album as "thunderous" and stated that Welch "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."[53] Douglas Wolk of Pitchfork described the album as "a huge, sturdy record, built for arenas [...] and it's richly and carefully enough constructed to endure the extensive exposure Welch's heartache is going to get over the course of this summer."[57] Will Hermes of Rolling Stone opined that "Welch isn't the most rhythmic singer; she's more about powerful held notes and dramatic articulation, and her rock moves have sometimes felt fussy in the past. But here, she punches like a prizefighter."[58] James Christopher Monger of AllMusicexpressed that Welch's "Brit-pop soul treacle is still miles better than some of her contemporaries' top-tier offerings, and when the album connects it moves right in and starts to redecorate, but when it falters, it's akin to a chatty party guest failing to realize that everyone else has gone home."[50] In a less enthusiastic review, Andrew Unterberger of Spindubbed the album "an exceedingly coherent listen, both in terms of consistent production and lyrical themes [...] But it's not a great album, and that's because the production and dynamics are so compressed to soupy church-soul consistency that once you get into the thick of the LP, it's virtually impossible to keep your attention rapt throughout."[59] Alexis Petridis of The Guardian felt that the album is "too overblown and daft for the songs to have the desired emotional impact: it's never really intimate enough for the feelings Welch expresses to connect."[55]

Accolades[edit]

How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful was shortlisted for the 2015 Mercury Prize.[60] It also received five nominations at the 2016 Grammy Awards, including Best Pop Vocal Album and Best Recording Package for the album, Best Rock Song and Best Rock Performance for "What Kind of Man", and Best Pop Duo/Group Performance for "Ship to Wreck".[61] The Odyssey was nominated for Breakthrough Long Form Video at the 2016 MTV Video Music Awards.[62]
PublicationListRank
ABC News50 Best Albums of 2015[63]17
American SongwriterTop 50 Albums of 2015[64]32
Billboard25 Best Albums of 2015[65]17
Consequence of SoundTop 50 Albums of 2015[66]41
Entertainment WeeklyThe 40 Best Albums of 2015[67]15
GigwiseAlbums of the Year[68]50
The Huffington PostThe Best Albums of 2015[69]6
NMEAlbums of the Year 2015[70]40
PasteThe 50 Best Albums of 2015[71]29
PopMattersThe 80 Best Albums of 2015[72]44
PeopleBest Albums of 2015[73]5
QTop 50 Albums of 2015[74]10
Rolling Stone50 Best Albums of 2015[75]22
20 Best Pop Albums of 2015[76]3
Time Out LondonThe 50 Best Albums of 2015[77]4
Under the RadarTop 100 Albums of 2015[78]36

Commercial performance[edit]

How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful debuted at number one on the UK Albums Chart with first-week sales of 68,788 copies, earning the band their third consecutive number-one album.[79] The album slipped to number two for two weeks in a row,[80][81] before reclaiming the number-one spot in its fourth week on the chart, with 14,419 copies sold.[82] In the United States, the album debuted atop the Billboard 200 with 137,000 album-equivalent units, of which 128,000 were pure album sales. It marked the band's first number-one album on the chart, as well as their largest sales week.[83] As of December 2015, How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful had sold 290,000 copies in the US.[84] The album debuted at number one on the Canadian Albums Chart, selling 19,000 copies in its first week.[85] In Australia, the album debuted at the top of the charts, with sales of 15,706.[86]
Elsewhere, How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful topped the charts in Australia, Ireland, New Zealand, Poland and Switzerland, while reaching the top five in Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Germany, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal and Spain, and the top 10 in Finland, Greece, Italy and Sweden.[87][88][89][90]

Track listing[edit]

How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful – Standard edition
No.TitleWriter(s)Producer(s)Length
1."Ship to Wreck" 3:54
2."What Kind of Man"
  • Dravs
  • Hill[a]
3:36
3."How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful" Dravs5:34
4."Queen of Peace"
  • Welch
  • Dravs
Dravs5:07
5."Various Storms & Saints"
  • Welch
  • Dravs
Dravs4:09
6."Delilah"
  • Welch
  • Summers
Dravs4:53
7."Long & Lost"
Dravs3:15
8."Caught"
Dravs4:24
9."Third Eye"WelchDravs4:20
10."St. Jude"
  • Welch
  • Ford
Dravs3:45
11."Mother"
Epworth5:49
Notes
  • ^[a] signifies a co-producer

Personnel[edit]

Credits adapted from the liner notes of the deluxe edition of How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful.[92]
Florence and the Machine
  • Florence Welch – lead vocals (all tracks); backing vocals (tracks 1–10, 12, 13)body percussion (track 9); handclaps, stamps (track 14); piano, percussion (track 15)
  • Rob Ackroyd – electric guitar (tracks 1, 2, 4, 7–9); acoustic guitar (tracks 3, 13)ukulele (track 9)
  • Rusty Bradshaw – piano (track 4)
  • Chris Hayden – drums (tracks 1–3, 6–9, 13); percussion (tracks 1, 2, 6, 8, 13)
  • Tom Monger – harp (track 13)
  • Mark Saunders – bass (tracks 2–4, 6–9)
  • Isabella Summers – Rhodes organ (track 3); handclaps, stamps, strings (track 14); bass, drums, keyboards, production, programming, synths (tracks 14, 16); percussion, Rhodes(track 16)
Additional personnel
  • Leo Abrahams – acoustic guitar (track 1); electric guitar (tracks 2, 4–6, 9)
  • Max Baillie – viola (tracks 3, 5)
  • John Barclay – trumpet (tracks 2–4, 9)piccolo trumpet(track 3)
  • Nick Barr – viola (track 4)
  • Mat Bartram – brass recording (tracks 2–4, 9); flute recording (tracks 3, 4); strings recording (tracks 3–5); engineering (track 5)
  • Robin Baynton – engineering (tracks 1–7, 9, 10); Rhodes organ (track 3); piano (tracks 3, 6, 9); brass recording, flute recording, strings recording (track 4); organ (track 6); woodwind recording (track 10)
  • Tom Beard – cover photography, insert photography
  • Alex Beitzke – engineering (tracks 14, 16); guitar (track 16)
  • Ian Belton – violin (tracks 3, 5)
  • Benson – additional keyboards, brass arrangements, flute arrangements, programming, string arrangements (track 4); backing vocals (track 7)
  • Iain Berryman – assistant engineering (tracks 1, 3–10); additional engineering (track 2); acoustic guitar, harmonium, piano (track 8); body percussion, cornet (track 9)
  • Nigel Black – French horn (tracks 2–4, 9)
  • Fiona Bonds – viola (tracks 3, 5)
  • Natalia Bonner – violin (tracks 3, 5)
  • Ian Burdge – cello (tracks 3–5)
  • Gillon Cameron – violin (tracks 3–5)
  • Elise Campbell – French horn (tracks 2–4, 9)
  • John Catlin – mixing assistance (track 14)
  • Philip Cobb – trumpet (tracks 2–4, 9); flugel trumpet (track 3)
  • Nick Cooper – cello (tracks 3, 5)
  • Dan Cox – additional engineering (track 4)
  • Andy Crowley – trumpet (tracks 2–4, 9)
  • Adman Dayes – trombone (track 14)
  • Eduardo de la Paz – mixing assistance (tracks 3–8, 10, 11)
  • Tabitha Denholm – creative direction, insert photography
  • Alison Dods – violin (tracks 3, 5)
  • Will Donbavand – mixing assistance (track 13)
  • Markus Dravs – production (tracks 1–10); glockenspiel (track 1); percussion, synths (track 2); bass synth (track 5); programming (tracks 7, 10); body percussion, electric guitar (track 9); woodwind arrangements (track 10)
  • Pip Eastop – French horn (tracks 2–4, 9)
  • Richard Edwards – tenor trombone (tracks 2–4, 9)
  • Paul Epworth – bass, drums, guitar, organ, percussion, production, synths (track 11)
  • James Ford – woodwind arrangements (track 10); programming (tracks 10, 12); bass, drums, guitar, keyboards, percussion, piano, production, synths (track 12)
  • Wayne Francis – saxophone (track 14)
  • James Hallawell – Hammond organ (tracks 1, 4)Farfisa, organ, piano (track 7)
  • Sophie Harris – cello (tracks 3, 5)
  • Vincent Haycock – insert photography
  • Ali Helnwein – brass arrangements, string arrangements (track 3); strings (track 16)
  • Sally Herbert – conducting (tracks 3–5); orchestration (tracks 3–5, 10); brass arrangements, flute arrangements, string arrangements (track 4); brass conducting, brass orchestration (track 9); woodwind arrangements (track 10)
  • John Hill – brass arrangements, brass writing, co-production, synths (track 2)
  • Charlie Hugall – engineering, percussion, production, programming (track 13); mixing (tracks 13, 14)
  • Ian Humphries – violin (tracks 3, 5)
  • Matt Ingram – drums, percussion (track 4)
  • Sam Jacobs – French horn (tracks 2–4, 9)
  • Ted Jensen – mastering
  • Steve Jones – electric guitar (tracks 3, 7)
  • Joe Kearns – additional engineering (track 2); engineering (track 8)
  • Kid Harpoon – bass, drums, percussion, production, CP70 synth (track 1); electric guitar (tracks 1, 13); brass arrangements, brass writing (track 2); acoustic guitar, co-production, piano (track 13)
  • Patrick Kiernan – violin (tracks 3, 5)
  • Rick Koster – violin (track 4)
  • Oli Langford – violin (track 4)
  • Orlando Leopard – additional arrangement, bass, harmonium, organ, piano (track 13)
  • Eliza Marshall – alto flute, flute (tracks 3, 4)
  • Oren Marshall – tuba (tracks 2–4, 9)
  • Janelle Martin – backing vocals (tracks 1–4, 9)
  • Ciaran McCabe – violin (tracks 3, 5)
  • Nim Miller – backing vocals (tracks 1–4, 9)
  • Ann Morfee – violin (tracks 3, 5)
  • Everton Nelson – violin (track 4)
  • Daniel Newell – flugel, piccolo trumpet, trumpet (track 4)
  • Baby N'Sola – backing vocals (tracks 1–4, 9)
  • Will Owen – brass arrangements (track 3); string arrangements (tracks 3, 5)
  • Ronan Phelan – assistant brass recording (tracks 2–4, 9); assistant flute recording (tracks 3, 4); assistant strings recording (tracks 3–5)
  • Pete Prokopiw – cimbalom, harp (track 3); programming (tracks 6, 7, 10)
  • Richard Pryce – bass (tracks 3, 5)
  • Ian Rathbone – viola (tracks 3, 5)
  • Tom Rees-Roberts – trumpet (tracks 2–4, 9)
  • Jimmy Robertson – engineering (track 12)
  • Rachel Robson – viola (tracks 3, 5)
  • Brian Roettinger – art direction
  • Ben Roulston – engineering (tracks 14, 16)
  • Jonathan Sagis – assistant engineering (tracks 1–10)
  • Brett Shaw – additional percussion, engineering, mixing, production (track 15)
  • Lucy Shaw – bass (tracks 3, 5)
  • Craig Silvey – mixing (tracks 3–8, 10, 11)
  • Emlyn Singleton – violin (tracks 3, 5)
  • Julia Singleton – violin (tracks 3, 5)
  • Sonia Slany – violin (tracks 3, 5)
  • John Smart – violin (tracks 3, 5)
  • Mark 'Spike' Stent – mixing (tracks 1, 2, 9, 12)
  • Ed Tarrant – Euphonium (tracks 2–4, 9)
  • Geoff Swan – mixing assistance (tracks 1, 2, 9, 12)
  • Nick Walters – trumpet (track 14)
  • Bruce White – viola (track 4)
  • Andy Wood – Euphonium (tracks 2–4, 9); trombone (track 4)
  • Rebecca Wood – cor anglais, oboe (track 1)
  • Chris Worsey – cello (tracks 3, 5)

Charts[edit]

Certifications[edit]

RegionCertificationCertified units/Sales
Australia (ARIA)[134]Platinum70,000^
Austria (IFPI Austria)[135]Gold7,500*
New Zealand (RMNZ)[136]Gold7,500^
Poland (ZPAV)[137]3× Platinum60,000*
United Kingdom (BPI)[138]Platinum359,588[139]
United States (RIAA)[140]Gold500,000double-dagger
Summaries
WorldwideNone1,000,000[141]
*sales figures based on certification alone
^shipments figures based on certification alone
double-daggersales+streaming figures based on certification alone

Release history[edit]

RegionDateFormatEditionLabelRef.
Australia29 May 2015
  • Standard
  • deluxe
Universal[142][143]
Germany[144][145][146][147]
LPStandard[148]
Ireland
  • CD
  • digital download
  • Standard
  • deluxe
Island[149][150]
LPStandard[151]
France1 June 2015
  • CD
  • digital download
  • Standard
  • deluxe
Universal[152][153][154][155]
LPStandard[156]
United Kingdom
  • CD
  • digital download
  • Standard
  • deluxe
Island[157][158][159][160]
LPStandard[161]
7" vinyl box setLimited[162]
United States2 June 2015
  • CD
  • digital download
  • Standard
  • deluxe
Republic[163][164][165][166]
LPStandard[167]
Australia19 June 2015Universal[168]

No comments:

Post a Comment

Feel free to comment or plug your own site. Will allow anything as long as it won't get me into trouble.

Blog Index

...