Friday, December 14, 2018

"High as Hope": Album or Anthology?

Florence + the Machine's most recent album "High as Hope" is the first album she has created since she took to sobriety. In an interview with The New York Times, she said her new album "created a creative bravery" and in an act of vulnerability, she "made a step away from the metaphoric."

According to Laurence Perrine, author of Sound and Sense: An Introduction to Poetry, a true poet uses language resources and "the materials of life" to create a poem. Throughout Florence Welch's 2018 release, she draws on past experiences to inspire her lyrics. Most notably in her song "The End of Love"

The first experience she reflects on is the telling of a potentially spurious story about her family's history:
We were a family pulled from the flood
You tore the floorboards up
And let the river rush in
Not wash away, wash away
In an interview with Belfast Telegraph, she recalls how her great-great-grandfather, a sailor, saved her family from a flood by pulling up the floorboards in the house so the water would rush through and wouldn't wash the house away. When writing the chorus, she considered the symbolic value of extreme weather and decided the story symbolizes the impact the past has on the future and the weight of cleaning up the past's destruction.

She goes on to write about her grandmother's suicide in the song's second verse:
In a moment of joy and fury I threw myself
From the balcony like my grandmother so many years before me
These lines bank directly on "the materials of life" and employ simile as a language resource. She compares her present condition to that of her grandmother when she fell. Furthermore, Welch illuminates a pattern in the way the women in her family love, each having learned from her mother, a "trickle-down" that is comparable to the succession of the feeling of tragedy following her grandmother's death.

We then see allusion and connotation at play in the song's bridge:
And Joshua came down from the mountain
With a tablet in his hands
Told me that he loved me, yeah
And then ghosted me again
This stanza alludes to a passage in the Old Testament in which Moses receives the Ten Commandments. Then, Welch plays with the 21st-century connotation of the term "ghosted" referring to when a person's love-interest suddenly ceases communication without explanation. With this idea introduced, the tablet she references may have a more modern implication as an electronic device.

Despite making reference to specific events and stories, Florence Welch's song is still accessible to her audience. She creates a foundation that is personally significant but also encourages the listener to contribute their own experiences to the text, thus through the application of their imagination, senses, and emotions the song "enlighten[s] and move[s]" the listener.

1 comment:

  1. I agree, I think it is powerful that she creates music that exemplifies her story while creating a platform for her listeners which helps them connect to the song and lyrics.