This is probably rather unkind of me

It might well be wrong too – after all, my musical experience got me to Grade 8, which I failed twice, then gave up. And yet:

As the other half of Florence + the Machine, Isabella Summers plays stadiums and works with the likes of Beyoncé and Jennifer Hudson. Now the film world can’t get enough of the musical sensation

The Florence bit, hell of a pair of lungs there and who doesn’t like a redhead? But I’ve always thought the songs themselves were the weak bit.

Perhaps this is just personal taste but they annoy me in the same way that jazz noodling does (say, from sorta the Dudley Moore Trio-style stuff onwards, although there’s some part of their stuff I do like). Might be musically very accomplished, in fact is, but there’s no “there” there. Possibly great atmospherics but no structure to them.

I tend to think that a song should be, well, a song. Bit like a story – we want a beginning, middle, end, a structure. Possibly this is also why I dislike so much “literary” writing because so much of that is done for the effect of the words themselves and so little on that being a story bit.

OK, fair play, this is just a grumpy old man view but it is mine. I have indeed heard Florence and the Machine on radio and so on. And my reaction has long been great lungs there, could do better with the songs. Shrug.

11 thoughts on “This is probably rather unkind of me”

  1. Ottokring, pop pickers.

    I have to agree with you there.

    Florence is great live, has a smashing voice and is very pretty without resorting to twerking or strange outfits. She is very much at the front just as Dolores ORiordan was for her rather workaday band. Their singles are catchy and witty.

    On that basi I bought their album “Lungs”. It was awful, I found it intensely depressing, even their hits seemed to disappear into the swamp. I gave the CD to my niece who is a bit of a Goth in her spare time and she loved it.

    I started buying Yeah Yeah Yeahs albums instead. Karen O is a similar animal to Florence , but their songs are better crafted with more effects.

    Siouxsie could be a bit like that, but I always found her exciting. F & the M, I did not.

  2. “Possibly this is also why I dislike so much “literary” writing because so much of that is done for the effect of the words themselves and so little on that being a story bit.”

    I remember watching the film of Atonement, which I think won the Booker, getting to the end of it and being all “that’s it”? Any fool could have written that screenplay. Same with reading Wolf Hall. Won prizes but at the end of it, I wasn’t surprised, it didn’t have a twist ending, or a clever ending, or any sort of subtext or deep understanding of the human condition.

  3. BoM4, are you aware that Thomas Cromwell was a real person? Expecting a twist ending to a fictionalised account of his life seems beyond bizarre to me

  4. With one bound Cromwell was free. He expertly kicked the executioner to the head using his Tae Kwon Do skills, cut his bonds on the blade and used the long handle of the axe to pole vault over the Tower walls.

  5. Shake It Out is a great track, as is Cosmic Love (the live, accoustic version is better than the single).

    I hope Florence gets back with Zebedee.

  6. “Possibly this is also why I dislike so much “literary” writing because so much of that is done for the effect of the words themselves and so little on that being a story bit.”

    My niece has gone through vocal music lessons quite far and as a result I’ve seen a lot of recitals. One of the higher level people being examined chose to sing the descriptions of several items from a fancy restaurant menu for her exams.

    It was a total “form over function” idea – not what you were singing but how. I imagine she also got points (metaphorically) for making you even a little interested to follow along.

  7. Ditto the story thing. From such diverse examples as Matchstick Men, Stop the Cavalry, Two Little Boys… A song needs a narrative.

  8. “I don’t have to sell my soul
    He’s already in me
    I wanna be adored”

    Story done and dusted and understood in 15 words…

  9. “Possibly this is also why I dislike so much “literary” writing because so much of that is done for the effect of the words themselves and so little on that being a story bit.”

    Tim’s statement here reminds me of the intro to Cold comfort farm, Stella Gibbons, writes to Anthony Pookworthy, Esq, A.B.S, L.L.R.

    “The life of the journalist is poor, nasty, brutish and short. So is his style. You, who are adept at the lovely polishing of every grave and lucent phrase, will realize, the magnitude of the task which confronted me when I found, after spending ten years as a journalist, learning to say exactly what I meant in short sentences, that I must learn, if I was to achieve literature and favourable reviews, to write as though I were not quite sure about what I meant but was jolly well going to say something all the same in sentences as long as possible.”

    Bloody Good and Funny Book.

  10. Dear Mr Worstall

    My introduction to Florence + the Machine (said Florence plus the Machine apparently) was via this song which I thought rather grand:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dsWDUvuF0Xc

    It plays over the credits to Mr Burton’s most excellent film, made more so by the finale in Blackpool Tower circus, to which my brother and I were taken twice by my paternal grandmother when we were lads.

    I was disappointed in their other offerings.

    Mildly off topic, I have just watched Mr Alexander pointlessly present our top 30 Christmas songs. The Pogues with Kirsty MacColl made number 3 with Fairytale of New York. I read that our beloved gayer community objected to the word “faggot” in the song and the craven mejia concurred. I listened out for the word and lo and behold there was a gap where the late Kirsty MacColl sings You scumbag, you maggot, you cheap lousy faggot to rewrite history and eliminate the f-word to placate the poofs, pansies, ponces, faggots, fairies, gayers and Somdomites (for the classicists).

    Mr Orwell’s prophesy seems to be going to plan.

    DP

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