Florence And The Machine – Dance Fever (Website Exclusive, Limited Edition, Brown Vinyl, Etched Vinyl)

“When I make records, I make them with the idea that no one else will hear them,” Florence Welch says. “When you get to the realization that this private dialogue is going to be completely public, it’s like I’ve tricked myself again.” On her band’s fifth album Dance Fever, such private dialogues include rejecting real love (“Girls Against God”), dance as the greatest form of release (the anxious synth-folk of “Free”), embracing less healthy coping mechanisms in her past (“Morning Elvis”), and the push-pull between a creative career and the possible desire to start a family. “I am no mother, I am no bride, I am king,” Welch declares in baritone on “King,” in which she ponders one of Dance Fever’s most prominent themes: her complicated relationship with her own artistry. “A lot of it is questioning what it gives to me as well, and being like, ‘Why do I need this so much, sometimes at the cost of more sustainable forms of intimacy or more stable relationships?’” she says. “I think this record is questioning, ‘How committed am I to my own loneliness? How committed am I to my sense of a tragic figure?’”

Work on the album had begun alongside producer Jack Antonoff in New York in early 2020 before the pandemic forced Welch back to London, where her creativity was stifled for six long months. Dance Fever, then, also covers writer’s block (the cathartic “My Love,” a track intended to help shake off Welch’s blues, and our own) and her despair of what was lost in a locked-down world. Her lyrics occasionally poke fun at the image she has created of herself (“I think there’s a humor also in self-knowledge that runs through this record that I’ve actually found really liberating,” says Welch), but they are often as strikingly vulnerable as on 2018’s High as Hope. And even if the singer admits on “King” that she is “never satisfied,” her band’s fifth album has brought her rare peace. “I feel like I managed to take everything that I learned in the last 15 years and consolidate it into this record, into this art, into the videos,” she says. “I felt like, if I had to prove something to myself, somehow I did it on this record.”

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