I think, at a time when everyone feels distant physically and mentally, music is one of the only things that can bring people together. Before I played the Light of Love, a new and timely offering from Florence and the Machine, I wanted to see what inspired Florence to release the track, whether it was something new she’d written recently or something she hadn’t released for a particular reason. I read that this track was to be released on her High as Hope album and listening to the track, I can see why. The track feels so personal to Florence but also to me, as does several tracks on High as Hope. I can adapt this track to whatever situation I am in and feel that Florence had written this for me, a battle song.
Having studied song lyrics for my English degree dissertation, I could bore you by the importance of context in lyrics. It’s good to know where the writer was coming from when they wrote these lyrics but it’s even more fascinating to know why the writer released these lyrics at a particular time in their career. Reading that Florence released this track to raise money for the United Kingdom Intensive Care Society puts an emphasis on the meaning of this song. Before I play the track, I think that this song is going to be upbeat, joyful, a modern Kiss With a Fist sort of beat.
It’s 7am when I first play the track. The sun slowly rises over a dusty, sleeping North Manchester and there’s an eerie silence littering the streets. I am alone with music being my only companion. What’s clear from listening to this track the first time around is that I, the listener, am on a journey with Florence. The track begins with Florence’s isolated voice as she sings to me about her struggles. Progressively Florence is joined by harmonious voices who support and strengthen her. If you can listen to a track without heavily analysing the lyrics and allow yourself to become absorbed by the sound, you can be taken on a beautiful journey that allows you to fully get what the artist is intending. Over the four minutes, Florence wants us to feel that we can conquer more when we are together. You start off by listening to this track alone in last nights makeup you wore for the zoom pub quiz and leave the track refreshed with the sense that you’re not going through this alone.
Listening to the track on repeat allows you to fully understand, from your own perspective, what this song means to you. For me, it means that if something big is happening to me in my life that might seem daunting, if I have people showing love then it’s all I need. The repetitive ‘I want to look away, I must not look away’ celebrates the 8pm clapping, the rainbow in your window, the 5K for £5 run. The lyrics are heartbreaking but they’re real. This isn’t the track I thought it would be, rather the track I needed. “In some ways that was simpler, being too fucked up to see”. It’s hard, I want to give up and hide but I know someone needs me and I can’t give up the fight now.
This track just strengthens my love for Florence and everything she does to support people who far too often have their voices silenced or stereotyped. We struggle but we can get through this, thank you Flo.