Wednesday, April 25th, 2018

Florence + The Machine – Sky Full of Song

We’re gonna give you our [5]…


Ryo Miyauchi: While Florence Welch already shed the cliches of thunderous percussion and skyward vocals that came with Florence + The Machine records in How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful, the vacant drift of “Sky Full of Songs” feels even further removed from her more reliable formula. It’s almost too stately for it to suggest any good, like a calm before a storm, and the bridge singing about going under especially suggests something tragic is afoot.

Katherine St Asaph: Florence Welch, like Lana Del Rey, is a master of illusions, but not in the good way. Her career suggests an illusion of sumptuous, musical worlds, out in the Loreena McKennitt/Dead Can Dance gothic wilderness, but what’s there is diluted and conservative, the industry’s Brit School-bred tendencies toward warbly voices and beige soul dressed up in a Glasto prairie dress. Sometimes it almost works, like parts of Lungs and Ceremonials. Sometimes she gives up: “Sky Full of Song” is the exact midpoint of Emiliana Torrini’s “Sunny Road” (good, but tiny) and Emeli Sandé’s “Next to Me” (stuffy, and h/t Zach Lyon, “Colours of the Wind”), yet more pat than either.

Alfred Soto: For a while I preferred Florence Welch’s evocations of faded pop culture glamor over Lana Del Rey’s. After 2015’s excellent How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful, I appreciate her commitment to a finely honed histrionic pop music. “Sky Full of Song” moves too close to Adele’s turf for my taste; the arrangement could use more tension. 

Alex Clifton: Trying to listen to a full Florence album is like trying to read all of Angela Carter’s The Bloody Chamber in one sitting, or eating an entire chocolate cake all at once. The production is rich, theatrical and bombastic, but it always reaches a point where it’s suddenly too much. “Sky Full of Song” comes as a pleasant surprise, then; this is far more tempered and restrained than Florence was at the beginning of her career, and it works well. It’s a typically Florence production, with harmonies and vocal layering abounding, but the restraint makes for a much clearer song. Hearing her move from the baroque into the light while maintaining her vision is certainly different, and I think she’s cracked it.

Stephen Eisermann: It’s heartbreaking, if familiar, to hear yet another artist describe the stage as a lonely place, but unlike prior Florence singles that popped a bit more, this track is surprisingly understated. It’s beautiful regardless, but just doesn’t feel like a single.

Claire Biddles: I find Florence + The Machine’s wild woman schtick unconvincing to the point of suspicion, and the comedown as relayed through “Sky Full of Song” is no more compelling than transmissions from her usual heightened emotional state. This has the structure of a folk missive, but none of the substance — stacking up faux-deep platitudes (“I want you so badly, but you could be anyone,” “In a city without seasons, it keeps raining in LA”) that amount to nothing.

Hannah Jocelyn: When I first heard “Sky Full of Song” I was nervous, given its resemblance to two different Coldplay songs. So I was pleasantly surprised to hear how mature and organic this new single feels. Thomas Bartlett and Emile Haynie do not try to compete against Florence, and she’s never sounded this warm or even this human before, the low end of her voice finally cutting through. I wouldn’t mind her taking this more restrained approach on future songs. Not always restrained — everyone needs some cathartic, overblown bops — but it’s great to know she can pull back to this extent.

Reader average: [9] (2 votes)

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One Response to “Florence + The Machine – Sky Full of Song”

  1. aw man :(