I was recently asked to write about the “new golden age of alternative female artists” and although I think I probably missed the true era of unapologetic female rockers like Blondie, Stevie Nicks, and Joan Jett I will say that there is one female artist of the 2000’s (and last month) that I am unconditionally in love with, and that is Florence Welch of Florence + The Machine. A band that transcends what it means to be alternative, and crosses into pop as well as house beats, placing itself at the top of my ‘Greatest Bands of All Time’ list.
It’s true, I’ve missed a lot of the greatest eras of music. As a self-proclaimed 90’s alternative junkie, it pains me that I will never see a rugged MTV Unplugged or prime-time R.E.M. in concert. However, what I have been able to see is a modern feminist movement that has fostered a beautiful evolution of female artists in the world of alternative music. I started listening to Florence + The Machine way back in 2009 when their debut album Lungs was released, and I’ve had my finger on the pulse of their tunes ever since. A young teen at the time, I was awestruck by the eloquence and beauty of Florence Welch; her fire red hair and whimsical performances were tantalizing. The band’s second album, Ceremonials thrust Florence further into stardom, yet they were still playing mid-sized venues. I saw them at the Palladium Ballroom (now called South Side Ballroom) in Dallas in 2012, and to say it altered my musical mind wouldn’t be doing the show justice. She created a perfectly curated cocktail of theatrical choreography and true vocal euphoria. After Ceremonials came How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful in 2015 (another banger), and we are soon to see High as Hope releasing on June 29th of this year. But let’s take some time to talk about what we have been graced with recently, and that’s her new single “Hunger”.
The song was released on May 3rd and I have no-joke had it on repeat since that day. It’s a powerful full-bodied song, that magically marries a return to form with a message that resonates today, what are we willing to go through to feel love…I don’t think the listener gets the full imagery of the song until they watch the music video. The video closes with a black screen with white script reading “How many have to die so that you can feel loved.” With aesthetics so prominent in all of our lives, I think this song is an effort to bring to light the harm caused by the efforts of humanity to be something that we intrinsically are not. Though the song does have some political fire beneath it and that can be off-putting for some of us that are just trying to escape the constant political stimuli pounding at our brains every day, you also have to take a moment and remember that music is artistry, and artistry is expressive…But if you can’t get past the power of the lyrics, you can, if nothing else, enjoy the instrumentals. It follows a strong beat, danceable, yet emotional. In my opinion, all around beautiful.
Florence is an ingenious artist in her truest form. We are blessed with her, let’s bask in that until the full album releases on June 28th….Peace, Love, Florence??
Editorial By Brookley Schroeder