Quick health update: My eye is still wonky. I can see a little better out of it, but it’s still not right. My ophthalmologist is erring on the side of caution so I’ve had a second MRI, and am awaiting an appointment with a neurologist. So I’m sort of playing the waiting game at the moment. I’m kinda nervous, but very optimistic that things will turn out OK. :)
I haven’t felt up to reviewing since this started, but I’ve got to write about two albums that I’ve absolutely adored recently:
Florence And The Machine‘s new album Lungs, released on July 6 (and on July 7 here in the US), is really, really good. I had first taken notice of Florence on XO’s Middle Eight, when the video of “Rabbit Heart (Raise It Up)” was posted. I think I had listened to a track or two of Florence’s before, but whatever I listened to didn’t really make much of an impression on me. The lush, ornate “Rabbit Heart,” however, did. Even so, I still didn’t pay a great deal of attention to Florence And The Machine after that exposure to “Rabbit Heart.” I have no idea why; I guess I just wanted to wait until I heard the actual album until I decided if I loved Florence’s music or not.
It turns out that Lungs is exquisite. Florence has a powerful, booming voice, a beautiful voice that invites comparisons to other strong vocalists like Grace Slick but holds a tone and quality that belongs solely to Florence. Her regal yet somehow raw sound finds its inspiration in Kate Bush’s darker moments, Stevie Nicks’ most ethereal turns, and in the folk-rock of the 1970s. I may be off the mark here, but I think there’s also a slight Enya influence, at least in the layering of the vocals – and especially in that delicious “aaah-ah” right before the chorus in “Rabbit Heart.” Florence’s lyrics range from the epic (“Howl”) to the domestic (“Kiss With A Fist”) and everything in between. I love how it feels like you’re paging through a great big dusty old leather-bound book of fairytales when you listen to the album.
And now on to Eurovision hopeful Hadise, who released an OK album (titled Hadise) with some awesome singles last year (“My Man and the Devil on His Shoulder” in particular). This year, after giving us the addictive Eurovision entry “Dum Tek Tek,” Hadise came out with what I think is my favorite pop album of the year so far, Fast Life. The electro/urban-inflected pop songs are all worthy of being released as singles but work together as an album, too. A testament to how good music can make you feel better even in the weirdest times: on my way to my first MRI two weeks ago, something I’d never had done before and was nervous about, I listened to Fast Life on a whim and found myself loving it in spite of my anxious self!
Like I said, every song could be a hit single, but my favorites are “On Top,” a fierce attack on a girl trying to get with Hadise’s guy (how very dare she!), “Hero,” a lovely downtempo track about how “being sad made me strong,” and the wonderfully catchy “Supernatural Love.”
Proper reviews of Lungs and Fast Life are coming, but I just wanted to share my thoughts on these albums and update this poor blog! :)