My Top Ten Albums By Play Count

or

You Are Who You Listen To

The following are my top ten most played albums according to their play counts in iTunes. I would preface this by saying that these are not necessarily my top ten favorite albums of all time, and not all of them are, but some of them are in that category. The rule I’ve given myself here is that there can only be one album per artist, otherwise this list would be entirely comprised of Tori Amos and Lady Gaga. I know, what a gay stereotype I am, right? Well shut the hell up, I like what I like.

Who Killed Amanda Palmer

by Amanda Palmer

Total Plays: 137

Most Played Songs: Astronaut, Leeds United, Have to Drive, Guitar Hero

Amanda Palmer is one of the most underappreciated artists in the music industry. Though she has an extremely devoted fan base, she’s never received any radio air time that I’ve ever heard, but she is far and away one of the most incredible feminists, free thinkers, and musicians of the modern era. Her first solo album is a beautiful mixture of genres, from the tragic opening story of an Astronaut whose limbs fall to the beach as his wife watches in horror after his shuttle explodes to the upbeat diddy about rape and abortion, and an incredibly emotional song about finding a dead deer in the road, Amanda touches on a little of everything. My favorite kind of albums are the ones that include multiple kinds of songs from multiple genres with multiple perspectives. This one fits the bill perfectly.

Details

by Frou Frou

Total Plays: 147

Most Played Songs: The Dumbing Down of Love, Shh, Hear Me Out, Let Go

If this were a list of my favorite albums, Details would be much higher up, at least in the top three. If I were stranded on a desert island and had to choose a few albums to take with me this is one that would come along. Details is a mystery. When I first heard it I didn’t get it. The songs all blended together into a sort of weird hodgepodge of sound that wasn’t minor or dark enough for me to be instantly attracted to it. I liked Let It Go from the beginning, but other than that I ignored this album for a long time. Then one day something just clicked and I couldn’t stop listening to it. I’d listen to the entire thing from start to finish and then repeat it over and over again. I felt so creative, so alive, as though I’d tapped in to some joyful and bittersweet energy permeating the universe that I’d never felt before. The Dumbing Down of Love was one of the first songs to ever hit me so hard that it was like some kind of emotional armor surrounding me cracked and shattered to the floor, and then that song reached inside of me where it was warm and touched something. I found myself standing alone in a room mouthing the words as I heard it, and understanding how extremely profound the phrase “lover alone without love” could be, sinking into sadness and yet at the same time finding comfort. One of the most magical albums ever made.

The Dresden Dolls

by The Dresden Dolls

Total Plays: 148

Most Played Songs: Half Jack, Girl Anachronism, Bad Habit, Missed Me

If there’s one thing I love, it’s music that can be described using the key words “brooding,” “dark,” or “piano.” The Dresden Dolls’ self-titled debut is a fantastic work of art from start to finish. I still haven’t even listened extensively to the whole album, I’ve only heard the songs Slide and Truce once or twice, but certain songs like Girl Anachronism, Missed Me, and Coin-Operated Boy just get in your head and don’t leave you alone. If this album were a person it would be a disturbed cabaret mime who makes love on stage and murders people in back alleys at night. And it just doesn’t get better than that.

Ellipse

by Imogen Heap

Total Plays: 164

Most Played Songs: First Train Home, Tidal, Earth, 2-1

This album means so much to me. I discovered Imogen Heap when this album had just been recently released, and while waiting to have the money to buy it, I watched all forty video blogs she created about the making of this album. Those video blogs and Imogen’s music gave me the will to pull myself out of a huge rut that my life was in, and because of that, I had the courage to start creating music again, writing again, and I even got out of an unhealthy relationship. If not for discovering Imogen, I don’t know that that would have happened. Ellipse is like a forest: you wander through and you find so many different things that seem to be dissident, and yet they all live happily together and somehow just work. Earth sounds nothing like Swoon, and Aha! sounds completely different than Wait It Out, yet they all go together, and not one song would sound right without having the others around it. Ellipse is an album that’s genuinely a pure expression of one person’s truth from beginning to end, and carries with it a certain energy that finds it way through the songs that can only be described as “soundscapes.” Normally I hate that word because it’s a nonsense editorial cop-out word to make something sound cool, but this is the exception to the rule, because Ellipse is genuinely crafted. Every moment, every tiny sound, every rustling of sheets, banging of radiators, dripping of faucets, and butt slap was meticulously, carefully, and lovingly placed. This may be Imogen’s masterwork.

Far

by Regina Spektor

Total Plays: 167

Most Played Songs: Eet, The Calculation, Laughing With, Folding Chair

It’s kind of funny to me that this one won out over Regina’s compilation album Mary Ann Meets The Gravediggers and Other Shorts Stories, because I remember listening to that one incessantly for days on end. I have, however, had Far for a much longer time, and it’s song are very easy to return to. Far is more of a pop album than any of Regina’s other work, but somehow it still retains her uniqueness, while drawing inspiration from pop but leaving behind the bad qualities of that genre. There aren’t any repetitive choruses or annoying refrains on this album, just a sense of whimsy that manages to find Regina somehow chirping and lilting about subjects from love and humanity to masturbation, alienation, death, hate crimes, and the mechanization of the world. She just has a gift for throwing everything including the kitchen sink into an album and it still working.

ARTPOP

by Lady Gaga

Total Plays: 224

Most Played Songs: Sexxx Dreams, Venus, Do What U Want, ARTPOP

Lady Gaga rocked the entire world with her debut album The Fame, then rocked it harder with The Fame’s companion album The Fame Monster, and reached kind of a peak with Born This Way. Honestly, the first album was general pop music with a little something special infused, but it was more the attitude that delivered it than anything extremely unique. Gaga really upped her game with The Fame Monster, with songs that were big warehouse thumping dance numbers. Born This Way, however, fell mostly flat for me, with a lot of ballads that I’m sure came from the heart but sounded insincere in the delivery.

I had pretty much assumed Lady Gaga was done, and that her best work was behind her when I heard ARTPOP announced, and even then I rolled my eyes and though it was such a pretentious name that there was no way it would be good. My expectations were thoroughly and unpredictably exceeded with what is one of the best pop albums I’ve ever heard. You can open it up to any random track and find yourself instantly pulled in. Almost every single track on the album is a pop masterpiece, though there are some misses: Jewels N’ Drugs is nigh unlistenable and Fashion! seems a little too inside of Gaga’s comfort zone. However, tracks like Sexx Dreams, Venus, and the steady march of the title track can be listened to infinitely without getting boring. Sometimes I have to listen to songs twice just because the first time wasn’t good enough. With a lot of these other albums, the plays took years to rack up, but all of the plays on ARTPOP are fairly recent, since it’s only been out for a year. I look forward to the ARTPOP Part Two that Gaga keeps promising and hinting at.

Animal + Cannibal

by Ke$ha

Total Plays: 288

Most Played Songs: The Harold Song, Cannibal, Stephen, Take It Off, Tik Tok, Animal

I didn’t like Ke$ha at first. In fact, I found her insufferable. She seemed like a Disney star gone total slut, and her music made my ears bleed. Then, and I kid you not this is entirely true, I had a drunken orgy with five other guys while Tik Tok played on the radio throughout the night, and the following morning when I had a hangover, I suddenly “got” Ke$ha. I don’t mean that I identified with her more because of the experience, but for some reason I liked her from that moment forward. I had hated Tik Tok and it suddenly became a total jam song for me, and a few months later I found myself getting ahold of Animal and listening to it on repeat incessantly for days on end. As with Lady Gaga’s The Fame, Ke$ha released a companion EP entitled Cannibal with even more great songs on it, like the incredibly addictive title track and the now classic club dance song We R Who We R. Not to mention that Cannibal’s “The Harold Song” is one of the most genuinely touching songs I’ve ever heard, and I routinely curled into a ball crying myself to sleep with that song playing in my ears during a huge breakup. Ke$ha’s songs aren’t exactly pure insight into the human spirit or filled with lessons about the world, but there’s something so extremely honest about her music, and it comes from such a place of genuine truth that I cannot help but respect it. I am still surprised that this beautiful, glittery young woman has managed to captivate me, but something about pure honesty just touches me, and even if you’re singing songs about getting drunk from a water bottle filled with Whiskey, if you’re doing it from a place of honesty I’m right there with you, drinking and throwing glitter around an empty pool.

Boys For Pele

by Tori Amos

Total Plays: 280

Most Played Songs: Father Lucifer, Not The Red Baron, Beauty Queen / Horses, Caught A Lite Sneeze, Mr. Zebra, Talula

I’m breaking my own rules here because Ke$ha beat this album by eight plays, however many of these songs were included in their original form in Tori’s box set, and if I were to include all of the Boys For Pele songs that I played from the box set, this album would probably come a lot closer to topping the list. Boys For Pele is far and away one of my favorite albums, and perhaps my MOST favorite album, of all time. I didn’t know how to feel about Tori at first: I’d heard of her, I’d heard her cover of Smells Like Teen Spirit, but it was when I saw an unbelievably gripping live performance of Precious Things that I fell for her. Still, I started out on her retrospective collection Tales of a Librarian, which, though a treat for a Tori fan who knows the original songs, butchers the original mixes of every song on the album and nearly unlistenable to anyone who isn’t already a fan. I still wanted to give her a chance though, so when I read that Boys For Pele was the most outlandish of her albums I got it right away. It did not disappoint.

The album opens perfectly. Beauty Queen is slow, like the footsteps of someone in dirty rags, wandering through a field, and then when Horses begins, I’m instantly pulled in, I’m riding with those horses, and it’s cold and wet in the fields of Ireland, and we’re descending into the depths, into hell, into the underworld, into the deepest part of ourselves. Boys For Pele is more than just an album, it’s a journey into the darkest and most secret places that live inside of all of us. Tori speaks to her dark prince in Father Lucifer, she approaches the dark energy with respect and love, she seethes anger into Professional Widow and Mr. Zebra, she delivers heartbreaking and breathless words of sorrow and loss in Caught a Lite Sneeze and Not the Red Baron. She plays the piano as well as the harpsichord, and anything could happen, from a brass band to a gospel choir, taking us deeper into the darkness. In the end we emerge into the starlight of the night with Twinkle, and become lost in reflection. This album is so intense that it is almost draining to listen to, and is very difficult to hear in it’s entirety because there are no, forgive the wordplay, “light breezes” to be found here. Even quick songs like Agent Orange have deep meaning, and there’s not a shallow song in the bunch. Blood is splattered across every song, the pain of a broken heart radiates through each word, and the feeling of being lost in the world, of being the thoughtless and senseless monster that is a living being, is captured here forever.

Into The Woods: Original Cast Recording

by Stephen Sondheim

Total Plays: 352

Most Played Songs: Ever After, No One Is Alone, Finale: Children Will Listen, Lament, Giants In The Sky, Prologue: Into the Woods, Your Fault / Last Midnight

Into the Woods arrived in my life only a few months ago. My boyfriend found it on Netflix and made me watch it. I wasn’t very interested at first, though I enjoyed the humor. In one night we watched the first act, and the following day I watched the second act on my own. I was blown away. I had to watch the whole show again. And then again, and again. I got hold of the music and started listening to it on repeat. Into the Woods is the story of the journey through life. Everything here is a metaphor, and yet the characters are so real. The Witch is in all of us, Rapunzel is in all of us, and The Baker’s Wife are in all of us. Into the Woods is a story of survival against great odds, of moving forward in the midst of deep grief and suffering, and a story that is a rich wellspring of meaning with each listen. I’m really excited to see the movie this Christmas, it just so happened that I discovered there was an upcoming movie adaptation soon after discovering the musical itself. My boyfriend has gotten so tired of hearing music from Into the Woods that he laments ever having shown it to me, but I think it’s one of the greatest gifts he could have given me. Into the Woods resonates with me very deeply.

Lungs

by Florence + the Machine

Total Plays: 1,353

Most Played Songs: Swimming, Howl, Dog Days Are Over, Drumming Song, Cosmic Love, My Boy Builds Coffins, Heavy In Your Arms

The jump from the last album is a staggering one thousand plays, and believe it or not, I haven’t fudged those numbers whatsoever. Between the five different editions of Lungs, I’ve racked up a lot of plays,but even if I were going with the standard edition it would still be far ahead of any other album in this list. I discovered this album in 2010 and have only just now four years later reached a point where I don’t feel the need to listen to it incessantly day after day. Swimming is perhaps one of my favorite songs in the world, among others here, and Lungs is one of the most unique and special albums because it blends many diverse sounds that are all uniquely Florence’s into one album. No two songs are exactly alike, and the lyrics to these songs are pure poetry that would hold up anywhere. Florence manages to have a talent for metaphor that she can still tell in perfect rhythm and rhyme, and she crafts unbelievable songs to fit them. Dog Days Are Over is the most pure expression of joy that I’ve ever heard in a song, Swimming is so inspirational that it seems to have the quality of someone singing to you from beyond Heaven, and Drumming Song is such a pounding and pure expression of desire and longing that it’s like drowning to hear it. Howl is the most lustful song I’ve ever heard, in which Florence becomes a night creature ripping through skin and sinew to reach the heart of a lover, to reach the core of them, to take pleasure and bask in the radiance of pure, warm lust.

This album, along with Boys For Pele and Details are contenders for “greatest album of all time” in my opinion. I doubt I’ll ever play enough songs to match the ferocity with which I listened to this wellspring of music for the first few years. Florence also has the distinction, in this era of her career that I refer to as “the Lungs era,” in which there is literally no song that I don’t like. Not one. I love all of them. There are some I like less, but even the live tracks, the demos, the live performances, they’re all completely perfect, and I wouldn’t change one. Her energy here is one that embraces darkness and light, and they burst forth in a joyful, mournful, sexual, and longing musical embrace that can never be ignored or forgotten.

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Everything You Ever Wanted to Know And More About “Lungs”

Florence + The Machine’s 2009 debut album was titled “Lungs.” The title is derived from the song Between Two Lungs, but there are mentions of lungs, breathing, drowning, gasping, and things like that in many of the songs on the album. This is my favorite album. Ever. I love every single song; this album contains an extremely diverse selection of songs that somehow all manage to fit perfectly together. This blog post is going to be dedicated to explaining the many different editions of this fantastic album, their perks, and the horror that is trying to organize them properly.

First, let’s begin with the cover. There are two versions of the cover. This one is the one you’ll have seen on any physical edition of the album:

Lungs (Large)

This cover is used for the regular edition and all of the deluxe editions excluding the box-set. However, if you bought the album online, you’ll have seen this cover, or some variation of it (some versions, such as iTunes’, are the same cover, but the coloring is a little more or less saturated)

Lungs

This version is a larger photo, showing more of Florence and her dress, as well as having a bluer hue. I include both of these cover photos and information about them because finding a really high quality version of either (particularly the first one) can be extremely frustrating; however thanks to Coverlandia, most of her album and single covers are now available in very good quality. I personally bounce back and forth between which album cover I like more.

Now, let’s begin. The thing about Lungs is that there are 13 tracks on the album, but there are a LOT of different editions of this album. There’s a regular edition, a 2-disc deluxe edition (which is even MORE deluxe in certain countries), a 4-disc box set edition, a 2-disc re-release of the album called Between Two Lungs, and finally, an American deluxe edition which features tracks from all of the previous editions as well as some material that hadn’t yet been released on any edition of the album.

The thing is, all of these different versions of the album (excluding the last one, which compiles bits and pieces from all of them), have entirely different bonus material, and keeping it all organized in a nightmare. I still haven’t found a logical way of doing it without having a GIGANTIC list of B-Sides and bonus material that doesn’t feel like it flows in any really cohesive way. But let’s discuss the different versions of the album, shall we?

As I said, we have the album itself, which never alters: 13 tracks.

Lungs

Lungs

1 Dog Days Are Over
2 Rabbit Heart (Raise It Up)
3 I’m Not Calling You A Liar
4 Howl
5 Kiss With A Fist
6 Girl With One Eye [The Ludes cover]
7 Drumming Song
8 Between Two Lungs
9 Cosmic Love
10 My Boy Builds Coffins
11 Hurricane Drunk
12 Blinding
13 You’ve Got the Love [Candi Staton cover]

You’ve Got the Love is considered a “bonus track,” but there is no edition of the album that doesn’t include it. Before the release of the album, the songs Kiss With A Fist and Dog Days Are Over were released as singles (the latter being released as “Dog Days”). A cover of Cold War Kids’ Hospital Beds was recorded as the B-Side for the Kiss With A Fist single, and a cover of Candi Staton’s You Got the Love was recorded as the B-Side for Dog Days (note: the song was also titled “You” Got the Love, as opposed to “You’ve” Got the Love, on the Dog Days single). The song gained so much popularity that it was included on the album as a “bonus track,” and eventually became it’s own single. It is important to note, however, that the single version of You’ve Got the Love features entirely newly recorded vocals, and in my opinion the single version is much better than the album version. It is, unfortunately, extremely hard to find, and I still haven’t been to find any way to get ahold of the single version without purchasing the actual CD single, since nothing else, not even any digitial releases, include the single version of You’ve Got the Love.

Girl With One Eye was written by Matt Alchin of The Ludes. Incidentally, Florence was dating a member of the Ludes, and he had to cancel a date with Florence to build a coffin for the cover of the band’s EP, which prompted Florence to write My Boy Builds Coffins. One more note on the original release: the US version of the album is an enhanced CD that links to a bonus content area of Florence’s website with downloads of three live performances: Between Two Lungs, Rabbit Heart (Raise It Up), and Dog Days Are Over. I personally like this performance of Rabbit Heart because it’s the only time I’ve ever heard Florence sing the high notes in the chorus.


UPDATE 1/22/2016: Since I posted this, the instrumental versions of most of the songs from Lungs have been leaked to the internet via a disc that was supposedly promotional. This was fun for me particularly because an instrumental version of Howl was used in a car commercial in the U.S. and I had a hell of a time trying to find that commercial just to hear it again (spoiler alert: I didn’t find it), but luckily the instrumental is now available. Curiously, the instrumentals for Girl With One Eye, Blinding, and You’ve Got the Love don’t appear on the leaked instrumental album, presumably because if it was in fact a promo CD, it wouldn’t have had enough space to hold all of the songs. This is the fan-made album artwork that happened to be on the one I downloaded forever ago, and I liked it so much that I just keep it whenever I include the instrumentals in my library:

Lungs (Fan-Made)


Singles

Kiss With A Fist

This album has a lot of singles, and all of them are fantastic. The first, as I mentioned, was Kiss With A Fist, which was included on the soundtrack to the film Jennifer’s Body. Kiss With A Fist is probably the only song on the album that doesn’t exactly fit in with the rest. Florence herself has commented that she hadn’t quite found her sound yet when she recorded this song, and it wasn’t until Dog Days Are Over was written that she really found her sound as a musician. The second single, as also already mentioned, was Dog Days Are Over. This song is still Florence’s most recognizable song: it was featured in the trailer for the film Eat, Pray, Love, and after she performed the song live on the 2010 MTV Video Music Awards, it skyrocketed on the digital charts, which prompted Florence’s label to re-release Dog Days Are Over as the album’s sixth single, along with a new music video for the song. It is to-date Florence’s most successful single.

Rabbit Heart (Raise it Up)

However, backing the train up, the third single to be released was Rabbit Heart (Raise It Up). This song was apparently written because Florence’s label wanted her to write a “happier” song. And in fact, if you’ve heard any of Florence’s older songs, she has written some extremely dark songs. This is not, however, a bad thing. This is one of those instances where a label asks for something, gets exactly the opposite of what they want, and it ends up marketing well and the artist still gets to be themselves: Rabbit Heart is backed by an infectiously joyful melody, a hip-hop infused dance beat, and bright pianos, but the lyrics are quite dark in their way. On a side-note, I personally have interpreted one of the common themes of Lungs to be abusive relationships: Kiss With A Fist, Heavy In Your Arms, Rabbit Heart, Dog Days Are Over, Howl, Girl With One Eye, all of these songs are filled with imagery of a hungry kind of love that is riddled with problems, regrets, and abuse. I suspect however, it’s just that I personally choose to identify with the songs in this way. As I’ve said, one of the remarkable aspects of Lungs is it’s versatility.

Drumming Song

The fourth single is a juggernaut calling Drumming Song. This song is probably the most insanely infectious song on the album, and certainly one of my favorite singles, though choosing a favorite is hard. This is another song that draws from a lot of hip-hop influences: the drum beat upon which the song is built is directly inspired by the beat to Lil Mama’s 2007 single Lip Gloss. This is one of the album’s songs that is filled to the brim with sexual energy: between this song and Howl, we already have a great soundtrack to an orgy. Toss in her 2011 followup album’s song Bedroom Hymns, and we can just assume Florence does all of her best writing in the sack.

The fifth single is You’ve Got the Love, which we’ve already discussed. Remember: single version. Completely new vocal track. The music video features Florence dancing around on a giant crescent moon amongst a party of lovers, with confetti flying through the air. She’s also decked out in a skin-tight bodysuit that would probably do some very powerful things to me if I were straight. At the 2010 BRIT awards, Florence performed a live version of the song, featuring verses added by rapper Dizzee Rascal, and this was released as the next single from the album.

The sixth single was planned to be Hurricane Drunk, and in fact, there is a music video for Hurricane Drunk (which I myself uploaded to YouTube but it can’t be viewed in the US due to copyright restrictions) which, as was the case with You’ve Got the Love, features all-new vocals from Florence, though the “single version” of Hurricane Drunk has NEVER been officially released. Your only chance of getting it would be to rip the audio from the music video. Around the time that Hurricane Drunk was planned as the album’s sixth single, Florence performed Dog Days Are Over on the VMA’s, and it’s surge in popularity prompted the re-release of the single.

Addicted to Love

The seventh and final single to be released from the album was Cosmic Love, though Florence’s cover of Robert Palmer’s Addicted to Love, which was featured as a B-Side on the You’ve Got the Love physical single, was released as a promotional single. A remix of Dog Days Are Over by Yeasayer was also released as a promotional single.

A Lot of Love, A Lot Of Blood

A Lot of Love. A Lot of Blood

Three months prior to the release of Lungs, a vinyl-only EP was released exclusively in the US, titled A Lot of Blood. A Lot of Blood. Side 1 contains the album’s first two singles, Dog Days Are Over and Kiss With A Fist; side B contains the two single’s respective B-Sides, You’ve Got the Love and Hospital Beds, as well as a remix of Dog Days Are Over by Optimo (Espacio).

Deluxe Versions/Re-Releases

Lungs (Deluxe Edition)

Lungs: Deluxe Edition

Disc 1
(standard 13-song tracklisting found on the regular edition)

Disc 2

1 Bird Song Intro
2 Bird Song
3 Dog Days Are Over (Demo)
4 Falling
5 Hardest of Hearts
6 Ghosts (Demo)
7 Girl With One Eye (Bayou Percussion Version) [The Ludes cover]
8 Swimming [bonus track on the Australian deluxe edition]

The deluxe version includes entirely new songs, some demos of old songs, and one alternate version. Bird Song is split into two parts: the first song is a minute and a half intro to the song. Any editions of the album that include Bird Song without it’s intro is just Bird Song. The two parts of the song have never been combined into one track. Another fun trivia fact: apparently the demo version of Dog Days Are Over was recorded in a closet, with Florence and Isabella Summers (Florence’s musical partner who plays piano on tour on helped write a lot of the songs) banging on the walls of the closet for percussion.

“Ghosts” is a demo version of the song that would ultimately be referred to as “I’m Not Calling You A Liar” on the final version of the album. There are some slight lyrical differences between Ghosts and I’m Not Calling You A Liar, though in the tracklisting for every EP/live album released after Lungs, the song has been referred to as Ghosts; only on the tracklisting for Lungs is it called I’m Not Calling You A Liar.

On the Austrlian version of the deluxe edition is the first appearance of my favorite Florence song, which was also the first Florence song I heard: Swimming. The deluxe edition of the album on iTunes featured Swimming as a 14th track for pre-orders in the US store, and in the UK store, it’s featured as the 21st track, in exactly the same order as the Australian deluxe version of the album.

Lungs (Special Edition Box Set)

Lungs: Deluxe Box Set Edition

Disc 1
(standard 13-song tracklisting found on the regular edition)

Disc 2: Live At Abbey Road
1 Between Two Lungs
2 Kiss With A Fist
3 Hurricane Drunk
4 Cosmic Love
5 Oh! Darling [The Beatles cover]
6 Dog Days Are Over
7 Drumming Song
8 You’ve Got the Love [Candi Staton cover]
9 Rabbit Heart (Raise It Up)

Disc 3: Remixes, Covers & Rarities
1 Halo (Radio 1’s Live Loung) [Beyoncé cover]
2 Hurricane Drunk (Acoustic Version)
3 You’ve Got the Love (Steve Pitron & Max Sanna Remix) [Candi Staton cover]
4 Rabbit Heart (Raise It Up) [P.E.S.T. Remix]
5 Drumming Song (Boy 8-Bit Remix)
6 Flakes [Mystery Jets cover]
7 An Offering (Rabbit Heart Demo)
8 You’ve Got the Love (Fraser T. Smith’s Remix) [Candi Staton cover]
9 Cosmic Love (Acoustic Version)
10 Are You Hurting The One You Love? [B-Side from Rabbit Heart (Raise It Up) single]
11 Swimming

Disc 4 (DVD): Live from Rivoli Ballroom

As far as standard releases go, this was the first physical edition of the album in the UK to include Swimming, and is the only release to include Florence’s Mystery Jets cover, Flakes, the demo version of Rabbit Heart, or the studio acoustic versions of Hurricane Drunk and Cosmic Love.  Are You Hurting the One You Love? however, is a B-Side from the Rabbit Heart (Raise It Up) single, and the DVD includes 11 performances live from the Rivoli Ballroom, 4 live acoustic performances, and four music videos (the music video included for Dog Days Are Over is the original video, filmed in the woods with a handheld camera, since the second music video for the song wouldn’t be filmed until the re-release in 2010). It also includes a really nifty book with photos you can’t find anywhere else, an essay on Lungs by author David Vann, and more stuff from Florence’s personal notebook that inspired her during the writing of Lungs (I luckily managed to run across a gallery of scans of the entire booklet on a fan site!). I would like to get my hands on the box set one of these days, but as of now it has become somewhat expensive and hard to find.


UPDATE 1/22/2016: Just a note, the titles of these discs are different on the box art from the actual discs themselves. Disc 2 is called “Live From Abbey Road,” and Disc 3 is “Rarities, B Sides, Cover Versions & Remixes.”


Lungs Deluxe Edition Chest

There is another “box set” of the album that isn’t really a box set, just a very elaborately packaged deluxe version of the album. It has the exact same tracklisting as the deluxe version (no Swimming, remember that was only for Australia), and comes in a leather box with a Lungs-shaped mirror, sheepskin front panel, disc-envelopes with close-ups of the album artwork, some hand-drawn artwork by Florence, basically it’s just an insanely well-made collector’s item. And it’s also extremely expensive. You can still get it in her official webstore though.

Between Two Lungs

Re-Release: Between Two Lungs

Disc 1
(standard 13-song tracklisting from the regular edition)

Disc 2

1 Heavy In Your Arms [from Twilight Saga: Eclipse soundtrack]
2 You’ve Got the Dirtee Love [live performance from the 2010 BRIT Awards, featuring Dizzee Rascal]
3 Hurricane Drunk (The Horrors Remix)
4 Strangeness & Charm (Live from Hammersmith Apollo)
5 Swimming (Live from Hammersmith Apollo)
6 Dog Days Are Over (Yeasayer Remix)

Live Performances from the Roundhouse at iTunes Festival 2010:

7 Drumming Song
8 Girl With One Eye [The Ludes cover]
9 Hurricane Drunk
10 Dog Days Are Over
11 My Boy Builds Coffins
12 Hosptial Beds [Cold Wars Kids cover]

In 2010, Florence contributed a song to the soundtrack to the third film in the Twilight Saga, Eclipse, called Heavy In Your Arms. This was released as the tenth and final single from Lungs, and was included on Lungs’ 2010 re-release, called Between Two Lungs. Between Two Lungs featured a second disc with entirely newly released material: two singles, Heavy In Your Arms and You’ve Got the Dirtee Love, two new remixes, two live performances from the Hammersmith Apollo (one of which, Strangeness & Charm, was an entirely new song that had never been released before and rarely been performed, and would be included on Florence’s second album), and finally, six live performances from the Roundhouse at the iTunes Festival 2010. There had been an EP released featuring six songs from this performance, but with the exception of Drumming Song and Girl With One Eye, all of the performances had never before been released (Drumming Song and Girl With One Eye, while still the same performances, have are extended a bit and include more of Florence chatting with her band-mates and tuning of some instruments. Not much difference, but still, it is technically a newly released recording).

Heavy In Your Arms

The “demo” version of Heavy In Your Arms

There’s actually another version of Heavy In Your Arms floating around, but it’s gone mostly unnoticed. This version is probably a demo of the song that was either leaked and mislabeled by file-sharers, or released by accident in place of the final version. The demo differs from the final version in that the first chorus features different vocals, Florence belts out the chorus instead of singing the low refrain, and there are some subtle differences in the instrumental track, including some sound effects that were either diminished or completely removed in the final version. If you want to go hunting for this version, the best thing you can do is look for the Eclipse soundtrack on the internet. While the final version of Heavy In Your Arms is included on any official release of the Eclipse soundtrack (meaning, any release that you purchase legally), rifling through illicit versions the soundtrack or just searching for the song itself  might yield the mislabeled demo version of Heavy In Your Arms. The most distinctive difference between the demo and the final version are the first-chorus vocals, which are not the same vocals used in the second chorus, but a completely unique vocal that was cut from the final version of the song.

And so, we have one more release to cover. All of the previous releases of Lungs after the original featured bonus material that was not included on any other physical version (Swimming being the exception, but remember it was only included in the Australian deluxe version and so would be new to anyone living elsewhere), and the final release of Lungs was released in concurrence with an EP called Lungs: The B-Sides available only in the US, and it compiled B-Sides from every version of Lungs released, and also featured some B-Sides that hadn’t yet been released on any version of the album but had been released on single EPs.

Lungs (Deluxe Edition)

Lungs: Deluxe Edition (US Version)

Disc 1
(standard 13-song tracklisting from the regular edition)

Lungs: The B-Sides

Disc 2: Lungs – The B-Sides

1 Swimming [from Lungs: Deluxe Box Set]
2 Heavy In Your Arms [from Twilight Saga: Eclipse soundtrack & Between Two Lungs]
3 Ghosts (Demo) [from Lungs: Deluxe Edition]
4 You’ve Got the Dirtee Love (Live at 2010 BRIT Awards) [Candi Staton cover, from Between Two Lungs]
5 Dog Days Are Over (Yeasayer Remix) [from Between Two Lungs]
6 Falling [from Lungs: Deluxe Edition]
7 Are You Hurting the One You Love? [from Rabbit Heart (Raise It Up) single & Lungs: Deluxe Box Set Edition]
8 Addicted to Love [Robert Palmer cover, from You’ve Got the Love single]
9 Bird Song [from Lungs: Deluxe Edition]
10 Hospital Beds [Cold War Kids cover, from Kiss With A Fist single]
11 Hardest of Hearts [from Lungs: Deluxe Edition]

This is the final version of Lungs, and the second disc of B-Sides contains a bit of everything, though it doesn’t contain everything, and to someone who likes to have every recording released by an artist collected, it can be a little aggravating, particularly because my favorite version of Lungs is the 21-song deluxe edition, and this new EP cut out Bird Song Intro, the Dog Days Are Over demo, the alternate version of Girl With One Eye, and left out plenty of other live performances, remixes, and B-Sides. While amongst all of the editions, this one is probably the most desirable because it contains the broadest scope of material, I personally didn’t keep it organized this way for too long. Also, two whom it may concern, the version of Bird Song featured on this edition of Lungs is SLIGHTLY different from the original, in that a fraction of a second of guitar reverberation from the intro is cut from the beginning, so that the song opens just on Florence’s vocals.

B-Sides

I have compiled a list of every B-Side Florence has released, excluding remixes from the CD singles. I don’t include remixes in my B-Sides because when you add every remix ever officially released into a collection of B-Sides it usually makes the list extremely bloated, and this list is already quite lengthy at it is. When I compile B-Sides, I have them formatted with studio tracks first, then soundtrack contributions, then live performances. Since two of Florence’s songs that have been featured on soundtracks have been album tracks/singles, the only one that gets formatted in the soundtrack category is her cover of Buddy Holly’s Not Fade Away, which was featured on the tribute album Rave On Buddy Holly.

Lungs (Special Edition Box Set)

All The B-Sides

Studio Tracks and Covers

1 Bird Song Intro
2 Bird Song
3 Falling
4 Hardest of Hearts
5 Girl With One Eye (Bayou Percussion Version)
6 Are You Hurting The One You Love
7 Swimming
8 Heavy In Your Arms
9 You’ve Got The Love (Single Version)
10 Addicted To Love
11 Flakes
12 Hospital Beds
13 Not Fade Away

Demos

14 Dog Days Are Over (Demo)
15 Ghosts (Demo)
16 An Offering (Demo)
17 Falling (Demo)

Acoustic Versions

18 Hurricane Drunk (Acoustic)
19 Cosmic Love (Acoustic)
20 Drumming Song (Acoustic)
21 Rabbit Heart (Raise It Up) [Acoustic]
22 Dog Days Are Over (Acoustic)

Live Songs

23 Halo (Radio 1’s Live Lounge)
24 You’ve Got The Dirtee Love (Live At the BRIT Awards)
25 Strangeness and Charm (Live from Hammersmith Apollo)
26 Swimming (Live From Hammersmith Apollo)


Cosmic Love

Remixes

There are a ton of remixes of songs from Lungs, featured in various places. The deluxe box set edition of the album, and the Between Two Lungs re-release feature some remixes, as well as most of the single EP’s, and there are some great remixes that have never been on any official releases. One of the most notable is a remix of You’ve Got the Love by the XX. A remix of I’m Not Calling You A Liar was featured as the ending credits theme in the game Dragon Age II, featuring orchestral arrangements from the game’s composer, Inon Zur. This remix has never been officially released on any version of the Dragon Age II soundtrack or any of Florence’s releases; there has to be a high-quality mp3 of it somewhere on the internet but for the most part the one’s I’ve been able to find are either low-quality, or YouTube-to-mp3 conversions.

Demos

There is one more element of Lungs to tackle: demos. There are quite a lot of them, and finding them can be somewhat time consuming. I personally was given a ton of links from a YouTube user who collects rare Florence tracks, although some of them don’t work anymore because they must have been removed, but if you torrent a bit you should be able to find these, and if all else fails, you can do the unthinkable (to an audiophile) and convert YouTube videos to mp3’s.

Dog Days Are Over

Demos

1 Donkey Kosh
2 My Best Dress
3 Coffin Song [an early version of My Boy Builds Coffins]
4 Bird Song [an early version of Bird Song, sang a capella]
5 Throwing Bricks
6 Ye Old Hope
7 Swimming Song [an early version of Swimming]
8 Girl With One Eye [demo version]
9 Between Two Lungs [demo version]
10 Tear Out My Tongue [a studio version of Ye Olde Hope]
11 Don’t Tell Me [an early version of I’m Not Calling You A Liar]

(tracks 12-15 from Florrible + Misrabella’s EP “Someone Spilt Snakebite On My Espadrille”)

12 Little Donkey [Florrible + Misrabella’s take on Donkey Kosh]
13 Halloween
14 Small Hands
15 Filthy Fingers [Florrible + Misrabella’s take on Girl With One Eye]

16 Galaxy of the Lost [Lightspeed Champion cover]
17 Can’t Speak French [Girls Aloud cover]
18 I’m Not Calling You A Liar [another early version of I’m Not Calling You A Liar, performed with accompaniment by ukulele]
19 Postcards From Italy [Beirut cover]
20 Bricks [studio version of Throwing Bricks]

What’s missing: There is a muffled snippet of a song called Paper Massacre floating around that’s about a minute long, but it’s incomplete and terrible quality.


UPDATE 1/22/2016: Since making this article I’ve discovered one more demo, an alternate version of My Boy Builds Coffins which features the same electric guitar riffs from Coffin Song, but with newly recorded vocals and backing music, as well as a heavy drum line added to the song. It’s a lot darker, and I prefer this demo to the original Coffin Song. Also for the record, I titled it Coffin Song because if you find the full recording of the original demo, you can hear Florence mutter “Coffin Song,” right before she sings. I also have the alternate version of Heavy In Your Arms listed under my demos, as well as two live performances of Bird Song and Pearls and Roses (a slightly different arrangement of Florence’s verse from Ashok’s song Under the Thumb). Here’s a screenshot of what my Demo album looks like in iTunes:

Demos


Other places you can find Florence

Florrible + Misrabella

Florence Welch and her longtime calloborator Isabella Summers have, as a band, undergone many name changes. They first performed together as Florrible + Misrabella, and then changed their names to Florence Robot + Isabella Machine, which became Florence Robot Is A Machine, and finally they settled on Florence + The Machine. Isa is still an active member of the band and co-wrote many of the songs on Lungs. At some point in their evolution as a band, Florrible + Misrabella released an EP called Someone Spilt Snakebite On My Espadrille, but only four of the songs from the EP have ever made their way onto the internet.  Here’s the full tracklisting and album art.

Ashok & Team Perfect

Ashok

In 2007 Florence became backup vocalist for a jazz band called Ashok with Devonte Hynes of Lightspeed Champion. Their album, Plans, features lyrics and vocals from Florence, and even an early version of Kiss With A Fist called Happy Slap. Florence eventually left the band, feeling that it wasn’t the right place for her, but she and Dev Hynes collaborated again for a project called Team Perfect, and released an EP called Team Perfect Presents Green Day’s Nimrod, in which the duo recorded covers of eight Green Day songs from their 1997 album Nimrod.

In conclusion…

Florence Lungs

Lungs Deluxe Booklet Scan

As far as Lungs is concerned, that’s basically everything. Florence’s second album is called Ceremonials, and at this point there haven’t been many B-Sides released, aside from those that were included on the deluxe version of the album (the UK version of which has more material). So far I haven’t really listened too intently to Ceremonials, both because it’s an imposing album filled with 5-minute long sound orgies, and because the sound is extremely different from Lungs, and I don’t know whether to say it’s more cohesive or less broad, but I guess it’s both. I enjoy that Lungs is all over the place, it makes it a treasure trove. Florence is fantastic and she’s my favorite musician, and Ceremonials (particularly Bedroom Hymns) has been great from what I’ve heard of it so far, but I have such a hard time adapting to change, even when it’s change from Florence, who has never, I repeat, never recorded a song I didn’t like. There are no rejects, I enjoy everything she has ever done, I enjoy every officially released song, most covers, and all of her demos. She’s just an extremely creative person and I hope that this will help anyone who is looking to experience more of Florence’s music and to have a better understanding of the somewhat confusing journey through the Lungs era. Four re-releases is a lot for any artist, but at least every edition has it’s own perks, gives a deeper understanding of Lungs, shows Florence to be deeply creative, as well as her collaborative producers, and adds depth to a modern indie masterpiece.


UPDATE 1/22/2016: This post has probably received more comments than any other on my blog, and I’m glad to know it’s helped at least a few people navigate the sometimes murky waters of Florence rarities and B-Sides. I’ve ammassed some pretty cool official and fan-made artwork over the years, so I thought I’d post some of it here. The last three are more colorful / saturated versions of the standard artwork and Between Two Lungs. Thanks for reading, and enjoy!


Dog Days Are Over (Original Cover)Rabbit Heart (Digital Cover)You've Got the Love

DemosLive

Abbey RoadAbbey RoadAbbey RoadLungs (Instrumentals)Lungs Green SaturatedLungs Blue SaturatedBetween Two Lungs Saturated

KCRW's Morning Becomes Eclectic

And The Only Solution Was To Stand And Fight

Me Stuff

There have been some developments in my life lately, some of which I’ve already talked about, the most pressing matter being that I quit the job I did have at Five Guys Burgers and Fries because, well, I hated it, and I couldn’t bare another moment of it. Well to be honest I probably would have eventually gotten used to it, but it was an awful feeling, and I couldn’t think about anything other than how much I hated the job, and maybe I psyched myself out, but whatever, it’s time to move on. I have another job now at Pottery Barn (retail? Heck yes), and while I’m nervous I’m also excited about this job, because I think I’ll enjoy it and I don’t have to flip burgers and come home covered in acne and smelling like potatoes; and I’m probably going to be doing mostly stocking, which would be great, it’s just the kind of repetitive job that doesn’t deal with people that I think I might enjoy.

Also I’ve been trying to meditate, or at least to calm down a little. I found these podcasts on iTunes for meditation and I go to sleep listening to them, not every night but when I do it helps a lot to calm me down. I think the most helpful thing I’ve found is that when you’re angry or you’re afraid or you’re panicking, the best thing to do is to embrace that emotion, to feel it fully and accept it, and it flows right through you and you’re left with peace. I found a video on YouTube earlier this year where someone said something similar about overcoming panic attacks, to embrace the fear, to give it love, and it no longer has power over you and you’re free from it and the anxiety leaves. It’s a very helpful philosophy, and I hope that if I need a way to calm down I can remember this and use it.

Really, I feel like I’m on the edge of being an adult, and I’m so happy about that, I just hate being near my family. I don’t feel like I can do anything when I’m around my mother, I don’t want to be here, but I need to be here because I’m provided for, even at the expense of some intense emotional issues, and to make things better I’m starting college in January. It’s this place called North Georgia College, it’s not specifically a military school but it seems very military-oriented. It is, however, a community college, so I’m sure that there’s a bit of everything (I, as you can perhaps tell, am not a military person). But the best part is that they offer student-housing, and I think I read something that said living in the dormitories is $200 a month, which I could easily pay if I save the money I make from this (possibly temporary/seasonal) job at Pottery Barn. Then, I’ll be out of my family’s house, living on my own but still closeby everyone, I have a truck here that belongs to my stepfather that I’m free to use (in fact, he may have even already given it to me), and once I get my license I should already have a lot of things in place for myself.

So, my goal for January is this: to have my license, to be driving regularly, to be doing well at my job, have money saved, and begin college living in student housing. I know this is odd, but living in a student dorm is literally one of my dreams. Like, along with being a famous musician and traveling the world and finding love, I want to live in a dorm and have college friends, and do college things, and go to parties, and not go to parties, and go to people’s rooms and fall asleep in people’s beds and have boyfriends and break up with them and play pianos in big auditoriums. It’s something I desperately yearn for, and unlike being a musician, it can’t wait forever, because I’m getting older. I’m 21 now and I’ve barely done anything close to growing up. I need college, on many levels. I need to have friendship and happiness and laughter in my life.

This whole Georgia thing has been a big clusterfuck shitfest ever since I got here. First there was the whole long-distance phone-flirting thing with Chris, then came the possible relationship that Jeremy that completely sunk when I found out I wasn’t attracted to him whatsoever, then dealing with his obsessive depression over me, the awful job at Five Guys, the multiple threats that I was going to be kicked out in the middle of nowhere Georgia, and then more recently I got involved with someone else who I knew from the beginning was a bad idea, had an uncomfortable experience and hurt his feelings, I mean really this whole fucking move has been terrible, and my life has been flipped upside-down, which is hard to do when I barely had a life to begin with. I live outside in a camper on an uncomfortable piece of foam stretched over a table that serves as a well-enough bed, I’m trapped in this house most of the time, I’m fighting to keep my agoraphobia from coming back, my vision seems to just be getting worse and worse so that I can barely see anything, it’s just a whole fuck of a lot to deal with.

But I’m going to do this job at Pottery Barn, it was what I wanted and I got it, seasonal or not. I have to get away from this family, I have to make friends, I have to play music and I have to do all the things I want to. The time for waiting is over. I’ve spent the time since I was 13 years old dreaming of life being different, and now I’m going to make it different, if it’s hard, I’ll just get stronger until it isn’t hard anymore.

Entertainment Stuff

Yesterday I started a new novel, The Host by Stephenie Meyer. I know, I know, please hold all comments ’till the end. I’ve read the Twilight series. Yes, it is true. I read them all before the first film ever went to theaters when I was in 12th grade. It was an okay series. Since the series blew up and became a massive fandom, a lot of people have made some pretty valid points about Stephenie Meyer’s writing style, but altogether, there are much worse author’s in the world, and I’ve always thought that she seems like a nice person in interviews, even if Twilight is just the teensiest bit fucked up. The Host does share some similarities with Twilight, but it’s a different story altogether, and it’s pretty immersive. The obvious similarities are the main character, a teenage, dark-haired female, falling madly in love at first sight with an overly masculine, musclebound hunk. However, their quick attachment to one another is somewhat more believable because The Host is set on a post-apocalyptic Earth in the western part of the US where 5 billion of the world’s human beings have been wiped out and their bodies possessed by alien parasites, as opposed to a rogue clan of moralized vampires going to high school in a rainy town in Washington. Also, the main protagonist, Melanie, is a thousand times better of a character than Bella. Melanie is driven, powerful and fearless, fighting to keep her younger brother alive, where Bella is an angsty, self-loathing pushover. The love story is also much more romantic, two people living in hiding, fearing death at any moment, as opposed to (ahem, let me equip my droning, robotic monotone and narrow my eyes) “Oh, Edward… you are… so… beautiful…” (yawn), “And I… cannot… stop loving…um… you… Please… I want you to have angry rough vampire sex with me… and please also stalk me… and watch me sleep at night…”

The story isn’t told from Melanie’s perspective entirely, because our main protagonist is an alien named Wanderer who has been placed inside Melanie’s body, but Melanie’s consciousness has not faded, and Wanderer is left sharing Melanie’s feelings of longing for Jared, along with her own feelings of inadequacy and weakness for not being able to control her host body. So far, all of Melanie’s story is told through dreams and flashbacks. As was the case with her previous series, Meyer does have a tendency to get a bit giddy with her descriptions of rippling pectorals and squared-off jawlines (seriously, what the HELL is this woman’s obsession with JAWS?), but so far The Host has been a far more rewarding read than Twilight.

And in other entertainment news, Florence + the Machine’s second album, Ceremonials, was released a few days ago. Due to a combination of me having no money and no patience, I went ahead and downloaded the leaked copy of the album a day before it’s release date, but I still intend to buy it when I get the chance. I haven’t heard the album in it’s entirety, I did however have a fantastic time listening to the studio version of Bedroom Hymns, the song I was most looking forward to. Both Bedroom Hymns and another song, Strangeness & Charm, which was our first glimpse into the new album (Florence performed the song live at the Hammersmith Apollo for Between Two Lungs, the UK re-release of her debut album, and many times on tour afterward) are featured on the second disc as B-Sides, but that doesn’t inply that they’re lesser quality songs.

In fact, I haven’t really been brave enough to listen to most of the album yet, because of the sheer LENGTH of the thing. Every single song is between four minutes long and five-and-a-half minutes long. The other thing about this album is that all the songs are very similar, they use the same instruments: harp, chamber choirs, tamberine, strings; however the interesting thing is that this doesn’t hurt the album. Usually when songs all blend together it makes for a bland, uninteresting album, but Florence is unbelievable as always and even though most of the songs are grand explosions of sound, using the same giant choirs and dramatic electronic effects, the songs still keep their own unique personalities. She’s still just as talented as she always was, and this album is a full, lush work of art, but it is very intimidating. Imagine if every song on Lungs were Cosmic Love, or a 5 minute long version of Drumming Song. It’d be grand and incredible, but a lot to take in all at once.

One reviewer said of the album, “Ceremonials suffers from a repetitiveness that’s akin to looking at a skyline filled with 100-story behemoths lined-up one after the other, blocking out everything but their own size.” I definitely see his point, but I’m not going to criticize Florence, this album is a triumph of creativity and sheer epicness, at least from what I’ve heard of it so far.

Surprise! Dream Stuff

Oh yeah, I also had a dream about Florence last night. This is actually the second time I’ve dreamt about her, the first time I was on a family camping trip and just ran into her at a campground. I remember that when I woke up I was really mad because I didn’t ask her why Swimming was never included on Lungs. In this dream, she and Tori Amos were performing, together, in a store in the mall that was a sort of combination of Hot Topic and a restaurant. Afterward I was sitting down and caught sight of Florence on a nearby couch, and we moved to a booth and started talking together, and I remembered this time to ask her why Swimming was never included on Lungs. She got sort of fidgety and kept saying, “Ummmm…” and couldn’t seem to come up with a good reason, but basically I got the impression that she felt that Swimming felt like a B-Side, and when I said this she agreed. Swimming is fucking awesome, by the way, so don’t blame me for what dream-Florence says to me. Interestingly after I woke up and went back to sleep, I had another dream about Tori, except that instead of it being modern-day Tori like in my previous dream, it was 1992 Little Earthquakes-era Tori (score!), and I was seeing things through her perspective, and she was doing an interview walking around on a sidewalk (in what felt to me a lot like a strip-mall across the street from where I used to live in South Carolina, where I once applied for a job at a sandwich ship) talking about being a musician and being famous, and she said that a store offered to tile her floor for free if she became a member of their store.

Oh! and one more thing, I’ve been listening to the Dresden Dolls lately. That’s not entirely news since I’ve mentioned Amanda Palmer in the last few blog posts, but if you want to get into this band I seriously suggest starting at the beginning: the first Dresden Dolls album is really a fun experience from beginning to end, I’ve listened to most of it, and it all flows very well together. I’ve heard bits and pieces from all of their other albums, I like the opening track, Sex Changes, from their second album. Amanda’s newer work seems to involve a lot of ukelele and sillyness, and while that’s all well and good, it seems like she’s stopped doing full-on studio albums for a while, since about three quarters of her second solo album, Amanda Palmer Goes Down Under, are live recordings, and the follow up album in 2013, Amanda Palmer Goes Into The Bush, probably will be as well. But, people are allowed to make music however they want to, and her talent hasn’t stopped shining through on any of her projects.

Moving On and Moving Forward

I have a lot of news! Firstly, I have moved further South. Yeah, it wasn’t my favorite course of action either, but as I’m back living with my family, and my family decided to move to Georgia, I really had no choice but to come along. I was a little bitter about it at first, but I’ve adjusted fairly quickly, and after all, I have always dreamt of getting out of North Carolina. Granted, I didn’t want to go deeper into the deep South, but Georgia’s a beautiful state and luckily we seem to be very near civilization. The redneckery does seem to be at the level I expected, but luckily I don’t actually know, nor plan on knowing, the people up the street who have four flags draped over their front porch (all various forms of American and Confederate, as is to be expected), or indeed our rowdy drunken neighbors. I am content to while my hours away in my room, which is located in a camper in the backyard.

Yeah, you can probably see why I was not too into this move at first, but to my surprise, the RV is quite cozy, and I can listen to music, watch movies, or really do anything, as loud as I want, any time of the day or night. It is quite like having my own place. In a rebellious-son-in-the-back-yard kind of way. And I keep the dog outside with me at night, so at to protect me from unmentionables like wayward confederates and, of course, the various creatures of the night.In exciting musical news, Florence + the Machine have FINALLY released information about the upcoming album, and we’ve been treated to a beautiful new single, What the Water Gave Me. This song, along with Bedroom Hymns, has been floating around YouTube for a bit with recordings of live performances, but here we have the real thing: complete with Florence’s customary vocal acrobatics, choirs, harps, and strings. Due to a combination of not having my own computer with which to keep a music library organized (you have NO idea how badly I want my iTunes back) and not having a debit card on file, I have not yet been able to buy the single, but it will happen.

And now we get to the even bigger news I touched on, the new album!  Florence’s second album is either still as of yet untitled or the title simply has not been revealed, nor has the cover art, but the release date however, has been confirmed as November 7, and the new album is available for pre-order in Florence’s official store. Also, to my elation, there’s a two disc DIGIPAK (squeal!!) deluxe edition, featuring a second disc with B-Sides, remixes, and previously unreleased material, and as a bonus for ordering from the official store, a poster! I cannot properly convey how excited I am about all of these things.

As it turns out, Autumn 2011 is a good season for music, because in addition to Florence’s new album, we’re going to be treated to new albums from some other great artists as well: Evanescence returns from a SIX YEAR hiatus to release a self-titled third album. Amy Lee came out of marital seclusion after spending years putting together this new album, and the band’s lead single, What You Want, shows a growth in style that feels like Evanescence. It’s not like they’ve gone and become We Are The Fallen or anything.

Tori Amos is releasing a new concept album called Night of Hunters, which is said to bear resemblance in many aspects to her third album, Boys For Pele, that dark masterpeice that I consider the cornerstone of her musical career. Tori has even treated us to a track-by-track narration of the story told by the songs that is, as is to be expected, something like a hallucinogen trip. The legendary Bjork comes out of hiding as well to release an album, Biophilia, that is being released in both standard album format and as a series of interactive applications. I’m even hearing tale of a new Kelly Clarkson album. There’s a lot of good music to look forward to, and all within the next few months!