The modern world in general makes it hard to appreciate music over time. Since it takes 4 seconds to download new songs, there’s no reason to let something grow on us. If it doesn’t capture our attention right away, then we can toss it aside and download a replacement faster than you can say “novelty hit.”
And if I’m being real with you—if, like Jiggly Caliente, I am keeping it 100—then I have to confess that my job makes it even harder to sit with a record for a long time. Since I’m a pop music critic, I pressure myself to absorb new music as often as possible. If I like something right away, I will certainly continue listening to it, but if it doesn’t grab me after two or three plays, then I let it drift away.
And sometimes, that’s my loss. Case in point: Florence + The Machine’s latest album Ceremonials. I purchased it immediately when it was released last year, and I instantly fell in love with songs like “All This And Heaven Too” and “Shake It Out” and “Seven Devils” (which was used so awesomely in the season finale of Revenge.) But the rest of the album struck me as too fussy, too ornate to really love. Shame on me, I guess, but because I didn’t hear anything as raw and exciting as “Dog Days Are Over,” F+TM’s breakout hit from their first album, I didn’t think the new record had much to give me.
But I liked those early favorites enough to keep listening to them. (Seriously, go listen to “All This and Heaven Too.”) And every now and then, I’d follow “Shake It Out” with a song I didn’t know as well. And eventually I realized that almost all of the Ceremonials album is spectacular. Yes, the songs are dense and layered, and no, they’re not as grabby as “Dog Days Are Over” or “Rabbit Heart (Raise It Up),” but they have majesty. They have dynamism, meaning they change so much that the end doesn’t sound like the beginning. And they have fascinating stories to tell.
Now I’m in love with tracks like “Spectrum,” which just got an official video this week. (See the video at that link. Enjoy the audio below.)
I don’t know what took me so long to love this thing. It’s thrilling. And don’t even get me started on the tribal beat of “Heartlines”:
And the heartbreaking beauty of “Never Let Me Go:”
In other words: I am all about this album now. Do you have records like that? That you didn’t quite connect with at first but that you love now?
Previously: “Florence (Sans Machine) Covers ‘Since U Been Gone‘”
Mark Blankenship tweets as @IAmBlankenship. He would love to discuss the meaning of “All This and Heaven Too” with you.