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Music / Florence + the Machine

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Florence - the machine
"I am done with my graceless heart..."
"Shake It Out"

Florence and the Machine (styled as "Florence + the Machine") are a British band formed in 2007 and named for their lead vocalist, singer/songwriter Florence Leontine Mary Welch (born 28 August 1986), with "the machine" being her backing group (once a rotating cast, it has now had the same lineup for nearly a decade).

The band's name initially referred to Welch's original collaborator (and current keyboardist for her backing group) Isabella Summers. The two performed under the name "Florence Robot/Isa Machine", which was shortened to the current band name.

Through the band, Welch is known for quite macabre lyrics ("Rabbit Heart (Raise It Up)" was her reaction to being asked to make an upbeat record for marketability!), love-or-hate performances and haunting vocals. Aside from her, the other permanent official members of Florence + The Machine are Isabella Summers (keyboards), Robert Ackroyd (guitar), and Tom Monger (harp, xylophone, percussion). Longtime members Chris Hayden (drums) and Mark Saunders (bass) both left the band in 2018.

The band struck out in popularity after their debut album Lungs reached number one in several countries including their native United Kingdom (six months after release, and repeatedly), with Welch subsequently being deemed one of the foremost female pop artists of the year. Their albums since then have opened to continued critical and commercial success, even with various shifts in sound and style. Their third album, 2015's How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful became their first to debut at #1 on the US Billboard 200; the same year, they headlined Glastonbury, making Welch the festival's first British female headliner of the 21st century.

The band's music is frequently used in media releases. They contributed the song "Heavy In Your Arms" to the soundtrack for The Twilight Saga: Eclipse, and performed the song "Breath of Life" for Snow White & the Huntsman. "Seven Devils" was used in the finale of Revenge and the trailer for the second season of Game of Thrones (the band also performed the in-universe song "Jenny of Oldstones" for season 8 of the latter show). "No Light, No Light" appeared in a season finale of Warehouse 13, and "Over the Love" was made for The Great Gatsby (2013) movie soundtrack. Their cover of Ben E. King's "Stand By Me" was used in the video game Final Fantasy XV, and they contributed two other songs to the game in an EP titled Songs from Final Fantasy XV, as well as a remix of "I'm Not Calling You A Liar" for Dragon Age II. "Wish You Were Here" was also made for the soundtrack of Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children, and "Call Me Cruella" was their contribution to the soundtrack for Cruella.

Welch also contributed her vocals to Calvin Harris's "Sweet Nothing", and he remixed "Spectrum" for radio; Both charted #1 in the UK. She performed a cover of Elton John's "Tiny Dancer" that was released on the tribute album Revamp: Reimagining the Songs of Elton John & Bernie Taupin. She also acted (or, perhaps, appeared would be a better word) in the filmed livestream of The Third Day: "Autumn".


  • Lungs (2009)
  • Ceremonials (2011)
  • MTV Unplugged Presents: Florence + The Machine (2012)
  • How Big How Blue How Beautiful (2015)
  • High as Hope (2018)
  • Dance Fever (2022)

Florence + the Machine provide examples of the following tropes:

  • Album Title Drop:
    • In the second verse of "Only If For a Night" on Ceremonials:
      My own secret ceremonials
    • And in "Between Two Lungs":
      Between two lungs it was released
      A breath that passed from you to me
    • And in "I'm Not Calling You a Liar":
      There's a ghost in my lungs / and it sighs in my sleep'
    • Ulimately averted for both High As Hope and Dance Fever.
  • Accent Upon The Wrong Syllable: An odd vocal choice all over the Ceremonials and How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful album, "Seven Devils", "Spectrum" and "Love To Lover" (from the former) and "What Kind of Man" and "Caught" (from the latter) are the most weirdly accented.
  • Agony of the Feet: Referenced in "Howl".
    I hunt for you with bloody feet across the hallowed ground
  • Alice Allusion: "Rabbit Heart (Raise It Up)" contains several literary references, including Alice in Wonderland ones.
    The looking glass, so shiny and new
    How quickly the glamour fades
    I started spinning, slipping out of time
    Was that the wrong pill to take?
  • All Are Equal in Death: "My Boy Builds Coffins".
    My boy builds coffins for the rich and the poor
    Kings and queens have all knocked on his door
    Beggers and liars, gypsies and thieves
  • And I Must Scream:
    • Nearly word for word in "Bird Song"
      I opened my mouth to scream and shout
      I waved my arms and flapped about
      But I couldn't scream and I couldn't shout
      couldn't scream and I couldn't shout
    • The ending of the video for "Never Let Me Go".
  • Anti-Love Song: Take your pick:
    • "Blinding", "Kiss With a Fist", "Leave My Body" are three examples
    • "Howl", especially the lines:
      Be careful of the curse that falls on young lovers
      Starts so soft and sweet and turns them to hunters
    • "Heavy In Your Arms".
      I love you" never felt like any blessing
    • "Make Up Your Mind"
      But if you're gonna make me do it
      How'd you want it done?
      Is it best to sip it slowly or drink it down in one?
    • "Moderation"
      You think you need it, you think you want love
      You wouldn't want it if you knew what it was
      And I'm still tryna figure out if it
      Always, always, always has to hurt
  • Art Deco: Seems to be the general look for the Ceremonials album.
  • Artist and the Band: Florence started the band with Isabella Summers who was nicknamed "Machine" while Florence was nicknamed "Robot". It started as an inside joke that got way out of hand and "Florence Robot/Isa Machine" turned into the group we know today.
  • Author Appeal:
    • Florence loves the subject of drowning. Mentioned by description in Ceremonials liner notes, she's fond of the jumping off the edge and "enveloping" feeling which drowning often described as being. She once said that as a child, she dived to the bottom of a swimming pool and, for a moment, felt like she could breathe, and she's been trying to recreate the feeling ever since. This is said to be similar to her relationship to music. It came to the point that the main producer for How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful, Markus Dravs, forbade her from writing any songs about water. Drowning turns up in "Drumming Song", "Swimming", "Heavy In Your Arms", "What the Water Gave Me", "Never Let Me Go", "Heartlines", "Queen of Peace" note , "Ship to Wreck"note , "Make Up Your Mind" and "The End of Love" along with being alluded to in the music videos for "Rabbit Heart", "Lover to Lover" and "Big God". It's implied in "Hurricane Drunk". Subverted with "How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful" itself which, despite sounding oceanic, is actually referring to the Los Angeles skyline and inverted in "Heaven Is Here" which involves Florence threatening to remove the water (perhaps in a nod to Dravs request)
    • Religion and spirituality is also a common theme in their music, maybe even more than drowning. Heaven and hell, the devil, voodoo, churches, dead and the afterlife, and a ton of other stuff pop up in all three albums and their music video. "Bedroom Hymns" is an entire song comparing religion with love while "St. Jude" invokes the patron saint of lost causes while comparing a failing relationship to a deadly 2013 storm. Florence confesses that she is obsessed with religion and spirituality, even though she's not religious herself.
    • Dance Fever was heavily inspired by the act of choreomania, which involved multiple groups of people uncontrollably dancing.
  • Award-Bait Song: The cover of "Stand By Me" from Final Fantasy XV.
  • Audience Participation Song: "You've Got the Love", "Never Let Me Go", "Dog Days Are Over", "Rabbit Heart", "Shake It Out", "No Light, No Light".
  • Badass Boast:
    • "Seven Devils":
      Holy water cannot help you now
      A thousand armies couldn't keep me down
    • "Girls Against God":
    But, oh God, you're gonna get it
    You'll be sorry that you messed with me
  • Battle Cry: "And it's an evensong, it's a litany, it's a battle cry, it's a symphony" in "Seven Devils".
  • Beware the Nice Ones: From her Apple Music Lab video:
    I’m not a very angry person in life. I’m not a very confrontational or aggressive person, I—I’m very gentle, and…and yet sometimes my music is so ferocious, and I wonder what part of myself, perhaps, I suppress in daily life that comes out in my songs that even I find scary.
  • Big Rock Ending: The endings of "Mother" and the titular song from How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful could be considered this, or Ending Fatigue. A more straightforward example appears in "Daffodil".
  • Blood Is Squicker in Water: "Rabbit Heart"; "the water turns from blue to red/as towards the sky I offer it..."
  • But Not Too Foreign: She's half-American from her mother's side and has citizenship in both the UK and the US.
  • Call-Back: At the start of the second verse of "Free" ("I'm always running from something / I push it back, but it keeps on coming"), the same handclaps from the chorus of "Dog Days Are Over" can be heard in the background.
  • Cannot Spit It Out:
    • "No Light, No Light":
      Cause it's so easy to say it to a crowd
      But it's so hard, my love, to say it to you out loud
    • "Mother":
      Make me a big grey cloud
      So I can rain on you things I can't say out loud
  • Careful with That Axe: The bridge from "Strangeness and Charm" has Florence's voice rise suddenly to a shriek.
  • The Cassandra: Name dropped in "Cassandra", with Florence comparing her isolation during the COVID-19 Pandemic to the same plight the titular character suffered.
  • Cloud Cuckoolander: Florence displays a random streak in interviews.
  • Cosmic Motifs: "Cosmic Love" uses space imagery to describe a relationship.
    A falling star fell from your heart and landed in my eyes
    I screamed aloud, as it tore through them, and now it's left me blind
    The stars, the moon, they have all been blown out
    You left me in the dark
    No dawn, no day, I'm always in this twilight
    In the shadow of your heart
  • The Cover Changes the Gender: Notably averted in "Girl With One Eye" and "Take Care".
  • Cover Version:
    • On the Lungs album, "Girl with One Eye", "You've Got the Love", "Addicted to Love" and "Hospital Beds" are all cover songs. She's also done a few covers live, including "Halo" by Beyoncé, "Take Care" by Drake, "Times Like These" by Foo Fighters, "The Chain" by Fleetwood Mac and "Oh! Darling" by The Beatles.
    • And on one occasion, a drunken mash-up of "Get Lucky" and "Standing in the Way of Control" by The Gossip.
    • She recorded a cover version of Ben E. King's "Stand By Me" for Final Fantasy XV.
    • In 2018 she released a cover of Tori Amos's "Cornflake Girl".
    • The deluxe version of Dance Fever includes a cover of The Stooges "Search and Destroy".
  • Concept Video: "The Odyssey" Series, which utilises a number of songs from How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful.
  • Costume Porn: Florence does love her fancy dresses, capes, and jumpsuits and most of her music videos show off multiple outfits in great detail. The music video for "Spectrum" alone has her in four different sparkly outfits.
  • Darker and Edgier:
    • "Sweet Nothing" gets rid of all metaphors originally used in her own previous videos. It isn't her song, she's just lending her voice to Calvin Harris's.
    • "The End of Love" gives the darker side of Florence's relationship with her late grandmother, introduced in "Only If For a Night".
  • Deadpan Snarker:
    • When someone asked what she'd do to celebrate winning a BRIT award, she said, "I'll do laundry."
    • In "Moderation", she asks: "Want me to love you in moderation / Do I look moderate to you?"
  • Deal with the Devil: Florence is offered one at the end of "Girls Against God".
    I met the Devil
    You know, he gave me a choice
    A golden heart
    Or a golden voice
  • Death Is Not Permanent: "Seven Devils" plays with this trope:
    I was dead when I woke up this morning, and I'll be dead before the day is done
  • Deer in the Headlights: "Rabbit Heart (Raise It Up)".
  • Deliberately Monochrome: The video for "Sky Full of Song" is mostly this except for a shot of a flower at the beginning and end of the song.
  • Department of Redundancy Department: "A falling star, fell from your heart..."
  • Disproportionate Retribution: "Girl With One Eye":
    She tolds me not to step on the cracks / I told her not to fuss, and relax
    Pretty little thing stopped me in my tracks / And now she sleeps with one eye open
  • Drowning My Sorrows: "Hurricane Drunk", "What Kind of Man", "Grace".
    • Played with in "South London Forever" where she reminisces about getting drunk while growing up.
    • "Morning Elvis" deals with the aftermath of such an act - skipping a visit to Graceland because she was too hungover.
  • Driven to Suicide:
    • "Hurricane Drunk" says, "I'm going to drink myself to death."
    • In "The End of Love," "And in a moment of joy and fury I threw myself / From the balcony like my grandmother so many years before me."
    • "What the Water Gave Me" takes inspiration from Virginia Woolf's Suicide by Sea.
  • Early-Installment Weirdness: Because of a change in her sound to the one she became famous with, the indie rock sounding, guitar-heavy "Kiss with a Fist" has become this. The recording that appears on Lungs is almost identical (or is) to the one that appeared on her 2008 debut single.
  • Echoing Acoustics: Lots of reverb is used in the tracks "Never Let Me Go" and "Leave My Body".
  • Egocentric Team Naming: Florence is the singer, Machine is her creative partner (and band keyboardist) Isabella Summers. The first name of their duo was even Florence Robot/Isa Machine.
  • Elemental Motifs: Water, specifically drowning, turns up a lot in their discography. Welch has stated that she is drawn to the overwhelming, enveloping feeling, which plays into her lyrics — as does the (paradoxically) quiet peace also associated with water.
    • "Swimming":
      Your songs remind me of swimming
      Which I forgot when I started to sink
    • "What the Water Gave Me", which was partially inspired by Virginia Woolf's Suicide by Sea.
      Let the only sound be the overflow
      Pockets full of stones
    • "Heavy in Your Arms":
      My love's an iron ball
      Wrapped around your ankles
      Over the waterfall
    • "Never Let Me Go":
      Oh, and it's breaking over me
      A thousand miles out to the sea bed
      Found the place to rest my head
    • "The End of Love"
      You tore the floorboards up
      And let the river rush in
      Not wash away, wash away
    • "Heaven is Here"
      And all of the fish, let 'em flounder
      I went to the water, drank every drop
      I'll turn your sea to a desert
    • Brought to its head in the 2022 streaming compilation Water to Drink Not Write About - which Florence said was producer Markus Dravs' assessment that she wrote too much about water.
  • Everything Is an Instrument:
    • "Are You Hurting the One You Love" features drumming on pots and pans.
    • Apparently ''How Big, How Blue..." uses the sounds of their instruments burning- they caught fire where they were being kept.
    • The alternative version of "Girl With One Eye" is called the "Bayou Percussion Version" and has the sound of breaking glass at the end.
  • Evil Is Sexy: invoked Her most common wardrobe color (though in concerts, she's prone to blue and green dresses), explained by Florence's stylist as “We play between two looks, the ethereal white witch and the sexy dark vamp.”
  • Eye Scream:
    • "Girl With One Eye".
      I took a knife and cut out her eye
    • In the video for "Cosmic Love", a ball of light floats to Florence and hits her in the eyes, and she screams. When she opens them again her eyes are sparkling, like stars. In the song, she states that the star made her blind:
      A falling star fell from your heart and landed in my eyes
      I screamed aloud, as it tore through them, and now it's left me blind
  • Fangirl: Florence is a big fan of Stevie Nicks, cites her as a key musical and stylistic influence, and has been likened to her by many commentators and critics.
  • Fake-Out Fade-Out: Used in "Dog Days Are Over" and "King".
  • Family Versus Career: "King" deals with Florence's struggle being wanting to have a family and realising she'll have to put her career on hold.
  • Follow Your Heart: "Heartlines" and "Shake It Out".
  • Free-Handed Performer: Florence has previously claimed in an interview that she can't play any instrument. However, she has been credited as a percusionnist and a piano performer on albums of the band (starting with their album How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful and continuing since).
  • Gorn: Many of the songs on Lungs contain quite gory/violent lyrics. Notable examples would be "Dog Days Are Over" , "Girl With One Eye", "Kiss With A Fist", "Howl".
  • Gainax Ending: Insofar as much as a song— and album— can have a Gainax Ending, Mother. The song starts out as a blues-esque number with a killer guitar-led chorus, then all of the sudden three and a half minutes in a FRICKIN' FUZZ GUITAR COMES OUT OF NOWHERE AND STARTS EATING THE SONG ALIVE as Florence keeps singing louder and louder, with even more psychedelic instruments popping up. This sounds like it's going to come to a head at a certain point, but then... this disorienting cymbal crash comes in at the five minute mark and the song literally sounds like it just exploded. And after all that, it manages to go on for another minute. It's a complete Genre Shift, and an utterly fearless way to end an album, but still... what the fuck Florence?
  • Genki Girl: When performing, Florence can hardly stay put and she frequently runs and jumps across the stage.
  • Graceful Ladies Like Purple: Dons a purple cape in the video for "King". Not that it stops her from snapping the neck of her lover in the video.
  • Grief Song: "Never Let Me Go" and "Heavy In Your Arms"
  • Guttural Growler: An unusual example, but "Restraint" has Florence adopting a raspy vocal as a means to express restraint in her vocal delivery.
  • Happy Dance: Discussed in "Free", where Florence uses dancing as a tool to cope with her issues with anxiety.
  • Harp of Femininity: A Gender-Inverted example - while its use is played straight in their music. Tom Monger is the one behind the strings.
  • Haunted House: Used metaphorically in the song of the same name.
    My heart is like a haunted house
    There's things in there that scratch about
    They make their music in the night
    And in the day they give me such a fright
  • Heartbeat Soundtrack: "Cosmic Love", especially in the music video.
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners: Florence and Isabella.
  • Hotter and Sexier: "Sweet Nothing" takes place in a strip joint.
  • Human Sacrifice:
    • "Rabbit Heart (Raise It Up)" is about sacrifice but not really taking a life. If anything she is referring to how artists have to sacrifice their image and style (that being what her label wanted her to do). The song is also about her fears.
      I'd written all these dark songs, and the label suggested we should have something that was a bit more upbeat. In the process of trying to do that, I realised maybe I was sacrificing something. So I had a really upbeat piano and drums, but the lyrics that came out were 'This is the gift/It comes with a price/ Who is the lamb/And who is the knife?' The rabbit heart is a reference to fear. I'm so afraid of what's about to happen. Of being in the spotlight." This is Lampshaded at the live shows where she says 'Find someone you love and sacrifice them.
    • "I can TAKE your heart, and then TAKE your soul" in "Seven Devils", amongst others.
    • Their possible second obsession besides The Ophelia. Sacrifice and exorcism are often mentioned in their works.
  • Hurricane of Puns: The title of "Strangeness and Charm" is already a play on words. However, in the pre-chorus:
    Atom oh atom, oh what's the matter with me, love?
  • Kill It with Fire: "Seven Devils"
    and no rivers and no lakes, can put the fire out
    I'm going to raise the stakes
    I'm gonna smoke you out
  • I Kiss Your Hand: "Kiss your eyes and kiss your palms" in "Spectrum."
  • I Am the Band:
    • Early on, band was once defined in their official bio as "Florence Welch and whoever is standing near her who can play an instrument". Her live shows occasionally featured musical friends such as Devonte Hynes (now better known as Blood Orange) to various members of the folk group Noah and the Whale. It also usually included Isabella Summers, who is technically the "Machine" in the band name. Since the release of Lungs, the band has had a relatively stable lineup, and is now seen as a band led by Welch as opposed to one defined only by her.
    • Originally she performed with an actual drum machine for backing.
  • Incredibly Long Note:
    • "No Light, No Light", at the end of the bridge, which is usually replicated live with a combination of circular breathing and modifying the microphone. Done for an impressive 27 seconds at Orange Fest Warsaw in 2014.
    • In "Shake it Out", the last note of the bridge is sustained in the background of the last chorus. Florence's cries of "what the hell" during the outro also qualifies.
    • The "Say My Name" parts in "Spectrum" are usually drawn out for even longer live than she does in the soundtrack version.
    • A twist is used in "Big God", with an 11-second long vocal fry used as part of the outro
  • Intercourse with You:
    • "Howl" has some suggestive lines:
      Drag my teeth across your chest to taste your beating heart
      My fingers claw your skin, try to tear my way in
    • "Bedroom Hymns" is one long comparison of religion to the ecstasy of sex. What else could "bedroom hymns" be besides singing by the wardrobe?
  • Insecure Love Interest: The narrator of "No Light, No Light."
    Would you leave me,
    If I told you what I've done?
    And would you need me,
    If I told you what I've become?
  • The Insomniac:
    • "Lover To Lover".
      I've been losing sleep, I've been keeping myself awake,
      I've been wandering the streets for days and days and days
    • "Hiding":
      Up all night again this week
  • Involuntary Dance: The theme of "Choreomania".
  • Leave No Witnesses: "Bird Song".
    I picked up the bird and above the din, I said "That's the last song you'll ever sing
    Held him down, broke his neck, taught him a lesson he wouldn't forget
  • Literal Split Personality: "Ship To Wreck" has a passive Florence and a destructive Florence struggling to contain each other during the video.
  • Lighter and Softer:
    • How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful is lighter than Ceremonials.
      Ceremonials was so fixated on death and water, and the idea of escape or transcendence through death, but the new album became about trying to learn how to live, and how to love in the world rather than trying to escape from it.
    • High as Hope takes the trope further, dealing with the theme of finding happiness and tranquility in the mundane, though not without some challenges thrown in the mix.
  • Loudness War: Ceremonials is a casualty.
  • Love Is Like Religion: Florence just loves both religion and passion, so this trope is bound to happen.
    • Her obsession in "Drumming Song" is "sweeter than heaven and hotter than hell."
    • "All This And Heaven Too":
      And the heart is hard to translate
      It has a language of its own
      It talks in tongues and quiet sighs
      And prayers and proclamations
    • "Bedroom Hymns" is one long comparison of religion to the ecstasy of sex.
    • "St. Jude" invokes "the patron saint of the lost causes" for a failing relationship.
    • "Big God". According to Genius:
      Instead of trying to deal with them herself, Florence decided that she personally needed a being both higher and larger than herself—a God—to which to hand these overwhelming feelings, as she was unable to deal with them alone. She hoped it would allow her to reconcile with her loss and fill the hole her partner had left in her life.
    • "Moderation".
      Then bow your head in the house of God
  • Love Martyr: "What Kind Of Man."
    You do such damage, how do you manage
    To have me crawling back for more?
  • Lyrical Cold Open: "Kiss with a Fist", "I'm Not Calling You a Liar", "Cosmic Love", "Falling", "Addicted to Love", "Bird Song", "Spectrum", "Shake it Out", "What Kind of Man", "Third Eye", "Delilah", "Make Up Your Mind", "Sky Full of Song" and "No Choir".
  • Lyrical Dissonance:
    • "Drumming Song" is about a crush, but to the casual listener, it sounds like the singer is slowly going insane.
    • "Hurricane Drunk", which is a delightfully happy song. The first lines of the chorus are "I'm going out/I'm gonna drink myself to death."
    • Florence said "Dog Days Are Over" is about being destructively happy, and the lyrics strongly imply that whoever the song is about is trying to avoid this happiness.
      Struck from a great height/By someone who should have known better than that?
    • Florence lampshaded this when she explained how "Rabbit Heart" came to be.
      I'd written all these dark songs, and the label suggested we should have something that was a bit more upbeat. In the process of trying to do that, I realised maybe I was sacrificing something. So I had a really upbeat piano and drums, but the lyrics that came out were, ‘This is the gift/It comes with a price/ Who is the lamb/And who is the knife?
    • In Ceremonials, "Breaking Down" has an upbeat rhythm, yet its lyrics implies insanity on the subject's part. Further stated verbatim in the Track By Track in regards to this song.
    • "Lover To Lover" describes the subject metaphorically descending to Hell, while having an uplifting soul vibe.
    • "Kiss With a Fist" has an 80's rock tone, with lyrics describing a couple violently in love, to the point many critics thought the song was about domestic abuse.
    • An earlier version of "Swimming" had more of an indie rock tone, while the final version settles on a more suitable dramatic orchestra.
    • Musically, "Daffodil" is quite downbeat and ominous but the lyrics are mostly about the subject getting excited over flowers blooming.
  • Masochism Tango: "Kiss With A Fist": "You hit me once, I hit you back / You gave a kick, I gave a slap / You smashed a plate over my head, then I set fire to our bed".
  • Masquerade Ball: The music video for "Shake it Out" takes place during a 1920s masked ball, complete with masks.
  • Melismatic Vocals:
    • "I don't need the birds let them fly-away-ay-ay" in "Leave My Body".
    • Ceremonials in general is absolutely full of this.
  • Miniscule Rocking: "Restraint" clocks in at 48 seconds.
  • Mood-Swinger: The narrator of "Free" is overwhelmed by strong, rapidly changing emotions.
    The feeling comes so fast and I cannot control it
    I'm on fire, but I'm trying not to show it
    As it picks me up, puts me down
    It picks me up, puts me down
    Picks me up, puts me down a hundred times a day
  • Mood Whiplash: On Ceremonials, "Lover To Lover", which is a sort of upbeat screw-you-I’ll-do-what-I-want song, going into "No Light, No Light"'s apologetic and sad lyrics and soft vocals, which goes into the Tranquil Fury of "Seven Devils”, which is another screw-you song.
  • Mouth Stitched Shut: Florence and the rest of the band wore facepaint approximating this look at Voodoo Festival 2015.
  • Ms. Fanservice: Florence is a very beautiful woman in a classical, almost elfin sense, and she's not at all afraid to wear outfits that show her body off. She doesn't usually get as extreme as some musicians, but it's hard to argue that outfits like this, this, and this don't qualify. See Statuesque Stunner below. She also has a Panty Shot in the music video for "Kiss With a Fist", is briefly topless in the ones for "What Kind Of Man" and "Long & Lost" and spends half the music video for "Ship to Wreck" in nothing but a lacy red bra and skinny jeans.
  • Murder Ballad:
    • "Heavy In Your Arms" seems to be from the perspective of a woman whose boyfriend drowned her in a river.
    • "Seven Devils" can be read as one. In the bridge, Florence threatens to "break the walls", "sate your heart", and "take your soul".
  • Mushroom Samba: Once of these is said to ruin the titular character's 18th birthday in "Grace".
  • Non-Appearing Title: "Drumming Song", "Cosmic Love", "Blinding", "Bird Song", "Which Witch", "South London Forever", "No Choir", "Choreomania", "Prayer Factory", "Morning Elvis".
  • Non-Indicative Name: A downplayed example with Dance Fever - the name was chosen due to Florence developing a fascination with choreomania during the first stages of the COVID-19 Pandemic. Dance music tropes only has a minor influence on the album but is present in "My Love", "Free" and "Choreomania".
  • Obsession Song: "Dog Days Are Over", "Howl", "Drumming Song", "Remain Nameless", "Addicted To Love", "Choreomania".
  • One-Woman Song: "Delilah", "Grace", "Patricia" and "Cassandra". Subverted with "June".
  • Ooh, Me Accent's Slipping: Whether Florence uses long or short a's is song-dependent:
    • "Can't" is long-a in "Caught", but short-a in "Delilah".
    • "Delilah" features "dancer" as a short-a, while "Only If For A Night" uses long-a in "dancing"
    • "Between Two Lungs" uses short-a in "last", but is long-a in "The End of Love"
  • The Oner: Although they do cut between them, the music video for "Ship to Wreck" consists almost entirely of fairly longish tracking shots following her through the house.
  • The Ophelia: This seems to be invoked and more than a few lyrics refer to drowning.
  • Our Werewolves Are Different: "Howl" uses this trope as a metaphor for obsessive love: her lover is the moon that makes a beast out of her, she hunts for him and wants to taste his beating heart.
  • Outliving One's Offspring: "Queen of Peace" which is (on the surface) about the royal couple losing their only son in a battle which they ultimately won.
  • Overly Long Name: Florence Leontine Mary Welch and Isabella Janet Florentina Summers.
  • Pep-Talk Song: "Third Eye" sounds like this until we get to the bridge...
  • Photos Lie: Averted in "Queen of Peace", the feuding families definitely aren't happy about Florence's marriage, to the point that they aren't even smiling in the photo.
  • Pimped-Out Cape: While singing "Shake It Out" on The X Factor, Florence wore a dress with six white capes held in place. She didn't move around a lot.
  • Precision F-Strike:
    • In her Track By Track she calls "Lover to Lover" a "Fuck You"-like song.
    • In the song "Grace" from her 4th album, High as Hope, she dropped her first official F-bomb.
      Grace, and it was such a fucking mess
    • Occurs again in "Light of Love", which was originally recorded for High as Hope.
      In some ways that was simpler, being too fucked up to see
  • Prefers Going Barefoot: Performing barefoot in concerts and music videos is one of Florence's trademarks.
  • Pyrrhic Victory: Referenced in "Queen of Peace".
    His only son, cut down but the battle won
    Oh what is it worth, when all that's left is hurt
  • Rage Against the Heavens: In "Girls Against God," the narrator decided to wage Holy War (that looked very much like staring at her bedroom floor.)
    But, oh God, you're gonna get it
    You'll be sorry that you messed with me
  • Rearrange the Song: The live version of "What The Water Gave Me" features elements of the released demo. There's also an added Epic Instrumental Opener, sometimes adding a full minute to songs already over 5 minutes.
  • Record Producer:
    • Paul Epworth (probably best known for Adele's "Rolling in the Deep") produced the entirety of Ceremonials, along with "Cosmic Love", "Howl", "Rabbit Heart", and "Blinding" from Lungs and "Mother" from How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful
    • Thomas Hull (also known as Kid Harpoon) came on board during Ceremonials, co-producing "Never Let Me Go" and "Leave My Body" for that album. He later co-produced "What Kind of Man", "Ship to Wreck" and "Make Up Your Mind" off How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful and "Cassandra" off Dance Fever
    • Half of Dance Fever is produced by Jack Antonoff of fun. fame.
  • Repurposed Pop Song:
    • "Dog Days Are Over".
    • "Howl" has also been re-purposed for a car commercial, of all things.
  • Re Release The Song: "Dog Days Are Over".
  • Revenge Ballad: "Seven Devils", which has been used in both Revenge and commercials for Game of Thrones to represent the concept.
    Holy water cannot help you now
    A thousand armies couldn't keep me out
    I don't want your money
    I don't want your crown
    See, I've come to burn your kingdom down
  • Sanity Slippage Song:
    • "What The Water Gave Me", "Dog Days Are Over", "Hurricane Drunk", "Seven Devils", "Kiss With A Fist", "Breaking Down", "Lover To Lover", "Bird Song", "Falling", "Swimming", "Ship to Wreck", "Grace", "Choreomania".
    • Subverted with "Leave My Body" which is about her wanting to lose her mind in her own singing and music in general.
    • "Blinding" deals with themes of disillusionment. She appears to be stuck in a fantasy world - unsure of what's happening in the real one, attempting to put the pieces of her memory back together.
  • Self-Backing Vocalist:
    • On many of the tracks on her albums, Welch is one of the backing vocalists. In a few cases, she is the only backing vocalist and her voice has been overdubbed to create a chorus of one. Examples include "Leave My Body", "Third Eye" and "Sky Full of Song".
    • An earlier case is in "Rabbit Heart". Word of God claims that the person who mixed the chorus had a nervous breakdown.
  • Self-Deprecation: "King" says, "I was never as good / As I always thought I was / But I knew how to dress it up."
  • Self-Empowerment Anthem: "Shake It Out", which is about shaking out negative influences and demon's. "Rabbit Heart" may also count because it's about her want to be a lion-hearted girl.
  • Sharp Dressed Woman: Florence has worn a sparkly silver men's tuxedo - albeit without shoes - on several occasions. She wore a more normal one in the video for "Sweet Nothing".
  • Shout-Out:
    • In "Rabbit Heart (Raise It Up)" she uses a line that was originally in a Gang Gang Dance song:
      How quickly the glamour fades.
    • The song also asks if that was "the wrong pill to take".
    • invokedAlso considering that the melody is similar to the aforementioned song, it also counts as Sampled Up.
    • "Howl" includes a couple of lines from the 1941 Wolf Man movie. It works really, really well thematically.
    • "Kiss with a Fist" has several references to setting a man's bed on fire in retaliation for violence.
    • "What the Water Gave Me" refers to the painting by the same name made by Frida Kahlo. It also alludes to Atlas and Virginia Woolf's suicide:
      Pockets full of stones
    • "Rabbit Heart" incorporates a lot of Pre-Raphaelite imagery.
    • The music video of "Shake it Out" alludes to Eyes Wide Shut and The Great Gatsby, among other works.
    • "Shake It Out" borrows a line, a la "Rabbit Heart": "it's hard to dance with the devil on your back" is borrowed from the original "Lord of the Dance" hymn (yes, that Lord of the Dance).
    • The Spectrum music video's ballet dancers use the same head covering devices used in Swan Lake and has a few visuals from Black Swan and certain mythological beliefs. (Greece this time)
    • "Patricia" is a tribute to Patti Smith. Also, it is a friendly wave to PP Arnold, who Florence says gave her some good advice at the start of her career.
  • The Something Song: "Drumming Song" and "Bird Song".
  • Spoken Word in Music: Combined with Heavy Meta in the ending for "Heaven Is Here".
    • Also present in the opening for "Choreomania", the bridge for "Cassandra", and later "Restraint"
  • Statuesque Stunner: Florence is 5'9" and displays her height quite well.
  • Silly Love Songs: "All This and Heaven Too", "Spectrum", "Between Two Lungs".
  • Single Stanza Song: "Restraint" consists of just two lines before moving to a scatting outro.
  • Singing Voice Dissonance: Florence's speaking voice is a British accent, but her voice is an extremely powerful American accent.
  • Special Guest: Josh Homme turns up during the "MTV Unplugged" show for a cover of "Jackson".
    • Provides guest vocals to Lady Gaga in her Joanne-era song "Hey Girl".
  • Suicide Is Painless: "What The Water Gave Me" is a happy song about suicide by drowning.
  • Summon Backup Dancers: Used often, examples include "Drumming Song", "Big God", "King" and "My Love".
  • Surreal Music Video: There's a few of them.
    • The original "Dog Days Are Over" video.
    • The 2010 version of "Dog Days Are Over" retains the surrealism with a New Age vibe.
  • The Stars Are Going Out: In "Cosmic Love": "The stars, the moon, they have all been blown out."
  • Stalker with a Crush / Obsession Song: "Remain Nameless", and that insane devotion they are known for.
  • Stepford Smiler: "Breaking Down" music video[1]. A happy, brightly colored retro style video where she never stops smiling, while the cheerful sounding song's lyrics about an impending mental breakdown.
    • The ending of "King" lampshades this trope, commenting on how she'll continue to deal with mental health struggles, but she still needs to put on a face and get "back on with the show"
  • Subdued Section: The bridge of "Dog Days Are Over", "Cosmic Love" and "What Kind of Man".
    • Inverted on "King" - a quiet song with restrained vocals and minor instrumentation except for the bridge
  • Talking to the Dead: Florence explained that the song "Only If For a Night" is about talking to her dead grandmother in a dream.
  • Talking in Your Sleep: "I'm Not Calling You A Liar".
    There's a ghost in my mouth
    And it talks in my sleep
  • Talky Bookends: The videos for "What Kind of Man" and "Queen of Peace/Long & Lost".
  • Tarot Motifs: Used as part of the promotion of Dance Fever, with each card being turned over when a new song from the album is released.
  • Terrible Ticking:
    • "Drumming Song".
      There's a drumming noise inside my head, and it starts when you're around
    • "Bird Song".
      And in my dreams began to creep that all familiar "tweet, tweet, tweet"
  • Textless Album Cover: Some versions of ''How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful" omit the band name and album title.
  • Three Minutes of Writhing:
    • The video for "You've Got The Love".
    • And also "Drumming Song".
    • The "Big God" video technically qualifies, as she and her backup dancers spend the whole time dancing in unison in filmy outfits that only get more see-through as they get soaked with water, but the eerie, witchy quality of the background (entirely black, including the water) and choreography negates most of the sexy.
  • Third Eye: "Third Eye".
    Cause there's a hole where your heart lies
    And I can see it with my third eye
  • Title-Only Chorus: "Howl" and "You've Got The Love" off Lungs. "Daffodil" and "Dream Girl Evil" off Dance Fever
  • Tranquil Fury: "Seven Devils" has the soft but slightly creepy musical structure and threatening lyrics:
    I´ve come to burn your kingdom down
    I'm going to raise the stakes, I'm gonna smoke you out
    It's a battle cry
  • True Art Is Angsty: In-Universe, the narrator muses that pain and suffering fuel her art:
    • "No Choir" states that "Happiness is an extremely uneventful subject."
    • In "King," she says, "And how much is art really worth? / The very thing you're best at / Is the thing that hurts the most."
    • "The Bomb," a song about Destructive Romance, ends with the lines, "And I'm in ruins, but is it what I wanted all along? / Sometimes you get the girl, sometimes you get the song."
  • 12-Bar Blues: "Kiss With A Fist"
  • Unplugged Version: Their MTV Unplugged sessions.
    • Deluxe versions of Ceremonials, High as Hope and Dance Fever feature two or three of the tracks reworked as acoustic versions.
  • Up Dated Re Release: "Lungs" was re-released and updated with a 12 track additional disk and linear notes in late 2010.
  • Voodoo Doll: The man in the music video for "No Light, No Light" uses one on Florence, making her jerk around on top of a skyscraper before falling off.
  • We All Die Someday: "My Boy Builds Coffins" is about a coffin maker. He makes coffins for everyone, from the richest royalty to the poorest beggars; he's built himself a coffin and one for the singer, and "One of these days he'll make one for you".
  • Weight Woe: The opening line for "Hunger" reveals Florence developed an eating disorder as a teenager.
  • What Is This Feeling?: "All This and Heaven Too" is about struggling to put feelings into words.
    I can't seem to understand it and
    And I would give all this and Heaven too
    I would give it all if only for a moment that I could just understand
    the meaning of the word you see
    'cause I've been scrawling it forever
    but it never makes sense to me at all
  • Wholesome Crossdresser:
    • Florence dons a suit in the original "Dog Days are Over" video.
    • In "Sweet Nothing", she wears one as well, also pinning her hair up.
  • You Are Not Alone: "Third Eye".
    You deserve to be loved and you deserve what you are given
  • Younger Than They Look: She's in her mid-thirties, but looks about ten years older; it's a bit difficult for some people to wrap their head around. Or to think that Florence is the same age as her contemporary Lady Gaga.

So tonight I'm gonna cut it out and then restart ...

Alternative Title(s): Florence Plus The Machine