Album: High as Hope Released: 2018 Genre: Alternative/Indie
I have always been very lazy when it comes to keeping up with music. Hence, to get myself to listen to new music I set up a regime for myself. The folks at the New York Times curate a weekly playlist, which includes the most favoured tracks of that week, of which I became a regular follower. They stack it up such that the A-listers (Bieber, Weeknd etc.) are right at the top followed by the indie productions and finally the occasional jazz and western classical. One such playlist from the second week of April 2018, headlined by Nicki Minaj, had a wonderful indie song called ‘Sky Full Of Song’ which caught my ear and has been rumbling around it since.
This song was my first introduction to Florence + The Machine. What got me interested at first is the voice, which I think belongs to Florence Welch. It delved into lines that amused me and kept making me go back to the song.
‘I couldn’t hide from the thunder,
In the sky full of song’
‘And I can tell that I’m in trouble
When the music starts to play
And the cities without seasons
It keeps raining in LA’
Finally, when I couldn’t really make much sense about what the song is suggesting I decided to watch the video. That did it. No, it didn’t make any obvious sense (why would it?) but it gave me enough.
The video opens with a visual of a plant. It’s very bright and the saturation is over the top. Then comes a visual which seems like two liquids coming together or maybe it’s slime or just a weird emulsion, but just as you are introduced to it the vocals come in,
‘How deeply are you sleeping
Or are you still awake?’
and all of a sudden you think along the lines of this dreamy, subconscious state. From there you go into a black and white visual of the speaker. It’s a tiresome image, an antithesis of the plant we saw, lacking all saturation.
Then, the beat comes in.
We go into a phase where she talks about a person who was angry, but for whom she cares. She knows why the person is angry, she knows she’s the cause of it.
But she’s tired of creating the scene that makes her a victim of the anger, the candle in her blows out. She is lying on the floor, exasperated. Yet the sky, full of song, keeps pulling her back. The scene, the thunder, she can’t stay away from it. The sky, the song and everything within it. She’s attracted to it but knows she’s not gaining anything from it.
We then see her getting her hands into dirt. Asking for someone..
(following this, she takes a deep audible breath, we see her lying down with a number of plants around her)
..someone who will hold her down. Someone who will look up at the mucky, subconscious, dreamy sky and take her down.
Was the dirt from the plants she just laid down? One of my theories is that she wants to be like the plants. She wants someone to take some dirt and lay her in it. She is tired of being uprooted by the thunder.
But what is the sky? And what does the song it sings depict? This remains to be the most beautiful, yet cryptic part of the song for me. Is it one person or is it a number of mistakes? What is it, that has the beauty of a city without seasons and the loneliness of rainy Los Angeles.
At the end of the song she sits upright. And she just puts everything I had made of it a mucky confusion. All over again. The chorus comes back, she asks to be taken down. But this time the overlapping vocals call out in the distance, “shoot, shoot, shoot..”
Does she ask to be taken down by force? To put the candle, or the fire out for real. Probably that’s where she will be the most peaceful. Away from the thunder, away from the ladder that leads her to it.
The very last frame has the same plant, bright and full of saturation. I think the plant might be her, held down, settled, rooted. But has the fire run out?