After a four year hiatus, Florence + the Machine has finally returned, this time with her new album How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful. The 29-year-old redhead's latest record sports tracks that differ greatly from the haunting hymns in Ceremonials and the mystical sounds prominent in Lungs. However, this new album provides us with a brand new sound that we've never heard before; it is among the greatest, if not the best, of her three albums.
HBHBHB features tracks that feature a side of Florence never before seen. It is a wild, rebellious record where each track shouts out speaks powerful volumes while keeping hold on empowering, metaphorical lyrics present in each of her albums. We here at PopWrapped decided to rank each track off the new record in order of which songs are the best. Of course, none of them are the "worst" songs on the album because... which Florence and the Machine songs have ever disappointed? For this list, we are taking all of the tracks from the standard album and featuring the deluxe tracks as well, and we'll make the list from "Good" to "Outstanding."
"Caught" is probably my least favorite track on the record. Though it provides an outstanding sound, along with a beautiful ensemble of guitar and drums, I just wasn't captivated by its tones or melodies. It was a bit too quiet for me, and the lyrics didn't hit with me. However, due to the outstanding vocals, outstanding chorus and the catchy beat, "Caught" still holds a place in my heart.
13. "St. Jude"
"St. Jude" is a beautiful ballad in Florence's album. The lyrics, especially the line "Maybe I've always been more comfortable in chaos" capture my attention, and it helps me convey the pain and anger felt in everyday situations, while it also connects to my life in a way. It's an amazing song and provides similar sounds to "Various Storms and Saints" as well as "Long and Lost".https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xEMSJf723BI
12. "Various Storms and Saints"
"Various Storms and Saints" doesn't hit home with me too much, but it is a track that helps you comprehend Florence's anger and emotion. The guitar is outstanding, but the song is a bit too slow for me. With the fast pace of the album, it is nice to revisit Florence's pace demonstrated in her past records, but it doesn't work as the odd man out in this album. There is no "drop" that should be there. It is a great song, with outstandingly loud vocals and lyrics that show why Florence wrote the songs on this album, but it lacks the pace that the rest of the album has.
"Mother" hits home with a lot of "Flo" fans, and to be honest, it took me a couple of listens in order to truly appreciate the song. I enjoy the outstanding lyrics, and the meaning of the song is incredibly beautiful. And when the beat drops, it is outstanding, especially because Florence, who has never really demonstrated that kind of sound since Lungs. However, it is not Florence's true nature, and the rock n roll beat just doesn't reel me in. I am not sure what it is. Again, the meaning and song widens my imagination and inspires me somewhat, however, the rock n' roll aspect is not what I look for in a Florence and the Machine song. However, I could pretend I was a cowboy of sorts, or you know, just a badass.
To be honest, it is incredibly hard to rank these songs. However, this one makes the top ten. "Hiding" is one of my favorite tracks on the record, though, I would rank others ahead of it. I love the beat in the background, especially the drums in the song. Florence's rhythm and vocals are also impressive, however, I am not taken aback by the lyrics. "I know I seem shaky/these hands not fit from holding" are truly some of the only lyrics from the song that strike a chord with me. However, the interesting background sounds and drummer Christopher Hayden's drums keep the song alive.
9. "Long and Lost"
I love this song. "Long and Lost" is one that hits and makes its listeners recall a certain feeling of nostalgia in their lives. "Is it too late/to come on home" are ones that give us the sense of longing for return, but knowing that the damage is already done. What the track lacks, however, is the right melody. The slow beats don't make the song as good as it should be. However, melancholy tracks that are somewhat depressing are songs that an album such as this one needs, so it ultimately finds balance on the record. It is something that I did indeed listen to after I just left for college. Even though... you know, that's not what the songs about at all.
8. "Make Up Your Mind"
This makes the number eight spot primarily because it has an aspect that many of the other tracks lack: use of Tom Monger, the band's beloved harpist. He is also my favorite musician. Monger's harp throughout the song is phenomenal, the cords accompany Florence's vocals so well that it makes us feel "Long and Lost" without hearing the harp on each track. The lyrics speak volumes as well; "While you've been saving your neck/I've been breaking mine for you." Through allusions to execution, Florence compares the pain felt in her relationship as similar to the pain of a guillotine and being executed over and over again.
7. "Ship to Wreck"
Yes, this song is the first track on the album. It provides a new sound and a catchy upbeat. However, it is nothing that catches my interest too much. It is too loud, and there are too many instruments going on at the same time for me. "Did a build a ship to wreck" is a beautiful line, as are many of the other lyrics. That is what balances this song out for me. However, as someone who truly enjoyed Lungs and Ceremonials haunting, slower odes, this was not a song that struck home with me. However, it's reference to a "killer whale" reels me in; I love whales.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B9v8jLBrvug
6. "Third Eye"
"Third Eye" sits at number six on my list. I love its empowering lyrics that drive us to love one another. "You are flesh and blood/And you deserve to be loved" are just two of the lyrics through this song that motivate us to realize that we are all human. However, the song is too fast paced for me, and I am not enthralled completely by the beat it has to offer. Still, it is one of the best songs on the track.
5. "Which Witch"
This song may be a bonus track, but it is honestly one of my favorites on the record. It's lyrics bring us back to the wonderful times of Lungs, ones where she'd allude to the mystical fairy-tale like world that she lived in. "Who's a heretic now" is one of the most passionate lines sung throughout the track, and the ensemble of instruments never fails to amaze me. I could listen to this song over and over again, while running through multiple cornfields.
4. "How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful"
Yes, this is the title track. Yes, it is the reason for the entire album. However, there are tracks that hit harder than this one. The track carries a perfect balance between a slower beat and the fast rock pace that Florence offers on the album, creating a great product. "Between a crucifix and the Hollywood sign/We decided to get hurt" serves as an empowering intro. I do enjoy the collaboration and use of different instruments, as well as the powerful lyrics, and it provides an excellent glance at what the new album has to offer. However, I feel like there's something more than this track could offer, especially with the lack of harp.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hr2u2-gCI_g
3. "Queen of Peace"
After a tough debate in my head, "Queen of Peace" will get the number three spot. I love this song, and the use of the horns and the instruments is unbelievable. The lyrics also touch my heart, and it truly shows how torn Florence is throughout her relationship. "Suddenly I'm overcome" and "Like a boat into oblivion/Because you're driving me away" are just some of the lyrics from the song that helps us see her poetic nature and her genius in songwriting. It is a song that shows that she preaches peace during the most tense situations, however, can never reach it. It's beautiful, and it is a tearjerker for some.
2. "What Kind of Man"
This was the first single revealed from Welch's new album. "What Kind of Man" is a powerful rock ode that keeps us wanting more. Florence's screams "To let me dangle/At a cruel angle!" and "What kind of man loves like this?" shouts out the pain she went through in her relationship. You can feel her anger running through your veins, and this song is one of the only tracks that truly makes you want to jump around in your room and scream at your pet dog. It's fantastic.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XgeKHTcufLY
"Delilah" is my overall favorite track on the album. First off, it is a song that, according to Welch, alludes to the biblical tale of Delilah and Samson, as well as the agony that mobile phones cause in relationships. The lyrics speak louder than any of the ones on the track. "Too fast for freedom/Sometimes it all falls down/These chains never leave me/I keep dragging them around" is a poetic verse that we can all relate to. She is imprisoned and suffering. She tells a story of her relationship, and it is through a beautiful song that starts off slow and creatively. Then, the drums perfectly bring in the rock aspect to the song. This takes the cake as the greatest song on the album by far, and yes, I also jump around and jam out to this song.https://youtu.be/zZr5Tid3Qw4
What do you think, Pop Stars? Do you agree with my list? Tell me your rankings in the comments!