Why Florence + the Machine’s High as Hope is the best album of 2018

McClain Baxley

Image from telegraph.co.uk

In the band’s fourth studio, Florence Welch and the gang reverted from their more abrasive, electric sound of their previous anthology. By reverting from the electric and more heavy-hitting style, listeners were able to once again fall in love with Welch’s raw vocal talent as well as commanding backup harmonies. Florence + the Machine perfectly compiled these ten works of art in an order and a flow that satisfies ears in a melodic fusion of beauty.

The leading track, “June,” opens the album with 10 second of silence, a sigh and then the strong chorus comes in almighty, with the haunting backup vocals keeping the beat and subtlety of the piece there. In her interview with Radio X, Welch described the chorus as a “maternal cry,” which is a dual description of the collective heartbreak and chaos surrounding June 2016.

The song that went mainstream off the album is “Hunger,” and its upbeat message for positivity to reach your goals. While it doesn’t fit with the tone of the rest of the album, the track does have the happiest sound on the album. It’s abrupt end flows seamlessly into the third track of the work, “South London Forever”, which is the throw-away song of the album. It’s boring and doesn’t showcase Welch’s vocal range or any powerful instruments. The violin chorus is a pleasant redeemer though.

Finally, we have “Big God.” So much symbolism, power and structure. This is one of the deepest songs they band has produced and the music video adds a whole other level of depth to the song. It starts of slow, but builds and builds until it hits it peak and has to recover.

“Sky Full of Song” comes in like a Chili’s Molten Chocolate Cake comes after the crispy honey-chipotle chicken crispers – perfectly. This track is the best on the album and is a majestic contrast to “Big God” and is such an incredible orchestra of sound. It begins with Florence belting her feelings and then she softens up to allow the harmonies to seep in slowly, but so surely. The song continues with a resounding chorus and fighting itself with beautiful contrasting pitches. A masterpiece.

And then “Grace” comes in and clears the palate with a slow, but still booming song. The chorus booms and the bridge resorts back to the calming melodies that the audience has grown accustomed to. It even drops an “f-bomb” for a little Florence flare.

The rest of the album is just a classic b-side to a Florence album with the exception to the next to last track, “The End of Love.” The song begins with a minute-long symphony and then comes in with a tragic soundtrack that perfectly encompasses what Florence + the Machine accomplished with this album.

High as Hope is an album that you can drive to, cry to, party to and just enjoy at any time of the day or night.