Breakup blues fashion powerful comeback album


Jessica Bursztynsky, Iv Leader Associate Editor

The dog days are, indeed, over for Florence + The Machine as they released their third studio album “How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful” (HB,HB,HB).
After taking a four year hiatus, “HB,HB,HB” was released in the U.S. on June 2. The anticipation building up to the new release may have just been what Florence + The Machine needed to gain some recent spotlight. “HB,HB,HB” debuted as the No. 1 album on the Billboard top 200 chart, a first for the English band. The last two albums by Florence + The Machine, “Lungs” and “Ceremonials,” peaked at No. 14 and No. 6.
After the release of the album’s first single, “What Kind of Man,” it was pretty clear that “HB,HB,HB” was going to be categorized as a classic Indie breakup album. With just one preview of the album, it was also clear that it will not fail to appeal to Florence + The Machine fans.
“What Kind of Man” starts melodic, with lead singer Florence Welch quietly giving us a glimpse into the type of relationship that had ended. After the short intro, the piano melody quickly switches gears as drums start beating, the guitar strikes a sharp chord and Welch’s vocals become louder, almost as if she personally needs to be more present. She quickly calls the man out, wanting to know how he could live with himself. “What Kind of Man” shows Welch as a newly strong woman demanding some answers, which makes her even more likable to listeners.
The next single released on “HB,HB,HB” was “Ship to Wreck.” With the main chorus including lyrics such as, “And oh my love remind me, what was it that I said?/ Did I drink too much?/ Am I losing touch?/ Did I build this ship to wreck?” this song is focused on Welch asking herself if the failed relationship was solely her fault. “Ship to Wreck” is much more similar to the band’s past songs, being packed with strong metaphors from beginning to end. It also keeps a constant, fast-paced beat making it a perfect compromise for those who prefer radio-style pop music over the alternative genre.
My favorite song on the album, “Caught,” is simple in describing the conflict of getting over her relationship. Welch is able to combine Biblical analogies and Greek mythology with her powerful vocals and musical accompaniment to make it as strong a song as possible. Not knowing how–or even wanting–to move on, she falls into inner conflict. There are the moments where she forgets him, and it’s those moments where she’s more confused than comforted by the thought of starting new, “And I’m caught/ I forget all that I’ve been taught.”
Having been a fan of Florence + The Machine’s past works, I’m not at all disappointed with how “HB,HB,HB” turned out. Even though it’s a break-up album, Florence + The Machine has managed to craft the pieces with such detail and style that it doesn’t follow the typical lyrics created out of cheesy sadness. Welch personalizes the issues that follow her failed rela tionship, and all the self-blame, heartbreak and confusion is brought up.
The band, currently appearing on the U.K. branch of their album tour, has played shows all over the U.S. and has a handful of added shows for October in the States.
You may have even had the privilege to catch their Chicagoland appearance at Lollapalooza this year.
With this new masterpiece I’m hoping that Florence + The Machine continues to emerge into the public eye and avoids another long break, coming back stronger than ever.