Song of the Day #1,248: ‘Shake It Out’ – Florence + The Machine

This week I’ll post mini-reviews of five albums I’ve bought in recent weeks. Overall this has been a very solid year for new music. My top ten is populated with albums I’ve already returned to again and again, albums that cover a wide variety of styles and genres.

It’s also split evenly between male and female artists, a nice bit of symmetry that I don’t see very often on my year-end list.

Delivering a solid entry for the women is Florence Welch, the booming voice at the center of Florence + The Machine. I never heard the band’s first album, Lungs, and I’m only passingly familiar with its big single, ‘Dog Days Are Over,’ but the new record — Ceremonials — is a stunner.

Florence + The Machine’s sound is Kate Bush filtered through Adele — 60s soul with an ethereal freak streak. This is a brash, ambitious album that doesn’t shy away from going big, over and over again. Welch has pipes to spare and she wails gorgeously on these 12 tracks, somehow overpowering the wall of sound behind her.

It’s rare to come across an album that holds equal appeal to crystal-fondling Sarah MacLachlan fans and glowstick-waving club kids, but this one does it.

Like the best contemporary music, Florence + The Machine sounds simultaneously like something brand-new and something long-loved. I suspect hers is a voice from which we’ll be hearing great things for years to come.

Regrets collect like old friends
here to relive your darkest moments
I can see no way, I can see no way.

And all of the ghouls come out to play
Then every demon wants his pound of flesh
but I like to keep some things to myself
I like to keep my issues drawn
It’s always darkest before the dawn.

And I’ve been a fool and I’ve been blind
I can never leave the past behind
I can see no way, I can see no way

I’m always dragging that horse around
All of these questions, such a mournful sound
Tonight I’m gonna bury that horse in the ground
‘Cause I like to keep my issues drawn
It’s always darkest before the dawn.

Shake it out, shake it out
Shake it out, shake it out uh-oh
Shake it out, shake it out
Shake it out, shake it out uh-oh
And it’s hard to dance with the devil on your back
so shake him off uh-oh

And I am done with my graceless heart
so tonight I’m gonna cut it out and then restart
‘Cause I like to keep my issues drawn
It’s always darkest before the dawn.

Shake it out, shake it out
Shake it out, shake it out uh-oh
Shake it out, shake it out
Shake it out, shake it out uh-oh
And it’s hard to dance with the devil on your back
so shake him off uh-oh

And you tried to dance with the devil on your back
Given half the chance, would I take any of it back?
It’s a fine romance but it’s left me so undone
It’s always darkest before the dawn

And I’m damned if I do and damned if I don’t
So here’s to drinks in the dark at the end of my rope
And I’m ready to suffer and I’m ready to hope
It’s a shot in the dark aimed right at my throat
‘Cause looking for heaven found a devil in me
Looking for heaven found a devil in me
But why the hell I’m gonna let it happen to me?

Shake it out, shake it out
Shake it out, shake it out uh-oh
Shake it out, shake it out
Shake it out, shake it out uh-oh
And it’s hard to dance with the devil on your back
so shake him off uh-oh

Shake it out, shake it out
Shake it out, shake it out uh-oh
Shake it out, shake it out
Shake it out, shake it out uh-oh
And it’s hard to dance with the devil on your back
so shake him off uh-oh

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3 thoughts on “Song of the Day #1,248: ‘Shake It Out’ – Florence + The Machine

  1. Dana says:

    I think my entry point to knowing of Florence was Vickie Martinez singing “Dog Days.” It was an impressive performance and I then heard the single a number of times on radio.

    I heard today’s song recently as well, I think on Saturday Night Live?

    Although I do find her and this sound intriguing, I must admit that the theatricality of her singing is a bit over the top for my personal taste.

  2. Amy says:

    I had heard of Florence (I think perhaps they were nominated for best new artist last year?), but I didn’t really stop to listen until I heard Vicci’s performance of “Dog Days.” Then I took notice and liked what I heard quite a bit. Today’s song is no exception. And I agree that they sound simultaneously familiar and brand new – which is quite an impressive accomplishment.

  3. Nadja Velez says:

    To me, Florence is on of the best contemporary music artist. She’s original, her voice is unique, her music has a personality that brings strength and shine to your life. She’s got rid of some of our social handcuffs and dances just like she feels. she is a portal for a kind of world that I love to be involved in. This music is just and example (a good one if you ask me).

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