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The past two weeks was hell week for me as the second semester was coming to a close and I was loaded with a number of term and research papers I had to submit so, you could say I was pressed for time. Apart from that, work tasks were also competing for my attention so I tried to play the juggler again, making sure that not one object would be dropped. Half-days and the long stretch of the Holy Week gave me time to finish everything before the deadline and now, I can proclaim that I am back to my old routine.

As a writer, I know how hard it is to get into the mood of writing. Since writing is considered an art, finding one’s muse is definitely a staple in creating good art works. I find that dark chocolates and music helps me to get into the zone and for this particular scenario, my muses were: Theo and Philo’s Dark Chocolates Series and Florence and the Machine!

Just like how I became enamored with Anggun‘s French album “Luminescence” during my undergrad thesis, the wee hours of the night while writing my term papers had me playing Florence and the Machine’s songs in the background. I became interested in the band last year when I saw a live performance video on YouTube for the KROQ event in LA. I was hooked on their “Shake it Out” song and “Rabbit Heart” and I soon discovered how diverse their music style is. It’s very refreshing to hear their music in today’s society where manufactured or cover songs dominate the airwaves. I just love how their band makes use of the harp instrument ingeniously. That’s one of the things that sets them apart from other musical artists of today.

For those not familiar with Florence and the Machine, the main artist is Florence Welch and her band members (Isabella Summers, Robert Ackroyd, Christopher Hayden, Tom Monger, Mark Saunders, Rusty Bradshaw and Sam White) are what makes up the machine. From what I’ve read about the band, Florence is mostly the one who pens and creates the melody to most of their songs with the help of her producer and her band mates. As a listener, I would describe Ms. Welch’s musical style as a bit gothic, flighty, medieval, soulful and fantastical. At first, I had a difficulty in embracing her music as when you listen to most of the songs apart from “Shake it Out,” her style seems out of this world. But as I dredged through the lyrics of her other graphic songs, it somehow grew on me. I guess it helped that Edgar Allan Poe was one of my favorite poets as I can relate to the metaphorical Gothic vibe in some of her songs. Her songs are a great way to momentarily escape from reality. For me, she is in the same vein as Tori Amos, whom she shares the distinction for her ginger locks, albeit being a brunette.

So this is what I’ve been listening to the past couple of weeks, with the occasional viewing of Florence and the Machine’s live performances on YouTube. Based on what I’ve seen from their live performances, I can say that Florence performs her songs better live, especially if it’s acoustic. Provided that she’s not hungover or intoxicated as I discovered her propensity to sometimes get drunk while performing, Florence’s voice sounds more whole live as it bares her vocal ranges without much interruption from studio-enhanced sounds.

Here are some of my favorite songs from both her “Lungs” and “Ceremonials” albums

This was the video that made me appreciate Florence’s vocal range. She really sounds better live.

While I like the album version of this song, this live performance sounded great as well. It’s actually quite exhilarating to see her humorous side, which she is also known for based on the interviews I’ve watched. She’s so cheeky, hehe. BTW, I adore her Lennon sunglasses! I wish I could buy something like that here!

One of her best live performances for the songs “Only If for a Night” and “What the Water Gave Me”

There’s a ghost in my lungs and it sighs in my sleep. Wraps itself around my chest as it softly weeps. And it walks, and it walks with my legs; to fall, to fall, to fall, at your feet…

This song is one of my favorites off the Lungs album. I find it amazing that Florence has so many different versions of it. Actually, almost every song from both her albums have different versions when she performs them live and that, to me, is what makes a true artist. I love the word play in this song. It’s very poetic. My kind of song 🙂

This video was a lucky stumble as it is one of her earliest performances before Florence became mainstream. She’s still a brunette in this video so it’s actually great that there’s a record of her live performance back in those days when her music was still raw. I kind of prefer this version of the song over the album version. However, I had hoped that she hadn’t worn that much mascara or eye liner as it was kind of distracting to see her eye make-up in such a mess while she performed. Despite that, her talent shone through the whole performance, along with her wit. Really cool 🙂

I only got to watch the movie Jennifer’s Body recently when it was shown on Star Movies but I’ve been hearing this song on the radio since the movie was released and I thought the song was catchy. I barely knew Florence and the Machine back then but as soon as I discovered this song again, it all made sense. I also like the word play here with a sexy soul undertone. 🙂

One of their best live performances of the song “Blinding.” It’s also one of my favorite tracks off the Lungs album as it’s very melodramatic. I liken it to reading an Edgar Allan Poe poem; the music is hauntingly beautiful. Loved her intro for this particular performance. It made me want to look up Ray Fever’s music 🙂

Another song of Florence that proves to be magical. Cosmic Love 🙂

Even if this song is a cover of the Source and C. Staton’s collab, it’s a great rendition. Loved the harp’s presence in this song 🙂