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Monday, May 27
The Indiana Daily Student

arts music review

COLUMN: 'Dance Fever' urges listeners to be free in music


“Dance Fever,” Florence + The Machine’s fifth album, suggests horror and royalty, appearing as if evil has leaked into heaven. Released on May 13, the songs are impossible to sit still to. They generate an actual dance fever, like the title of one of the songs, “Choreomania,” the uncontrollable urge to dance.

In these songs, Florence Welch vulnerably tackles relationship issues, career worries, and the urge to dance. 

In “Girls Against God,” she begins by admitting the seemingly unspeakable. She sings, “What a thing to admit that when someone looks at me with real love; I don’t like it very much; Kinda makes me feel like I’m being crushed.” Welch discusses her relationship issues while hinting at hyper independence.

“King” deals with the troubles of having a career as a woman with people urging them to have children. She sings about feeling the need to go through a metaphorical war to have material to sing. This song is one to belt when dealing with seemingly unsolvable issues. It lets you feel the anxiety of feeling torn, feeling painted as something you’re not. 

Welch sings that she needs a crown of sorrow and a bloody sword and resolves: “I am no mother. I am no bride. I am King.”

The issues that accompany identifying as a woman are hefty enough without the addition of a career as an artist. “King” exemplifies the need to fight for ourselves, to fend off inner and outer demons. 

An electric dance anthem, “Free” questions Welch’s need to medicate, saying she’s running from something but when dancing, she is free. Feeling controlled by anxiety takes over a healthy mentality until an escape is achieved. Dancing to this song is an escape. 

In the song’s music video, Welch is forced to handle her anxiety as a forceful companion, played by Bill Nighy. When dancing, she is no longer under that control.

“But there's nothing else that I know how to do; But to open up my arms and give it all to you; 'Cause I hear music, I feel the beat; And for a moment, when I'm dancing; I am free,” Welch sings.

Frenetic dancing is portrayed in the music video for “Heaven Is Here” as Welch sings of a gun in her hand and turning a sea into a dessert. Welch’s ability to talk about her difficulties with depression so vulnerably makes the songs undeniably beautiful. The persistent beat of the song sounds like hits accompanied by her voice, foreshadowing the dangers of the issues at hand. 

“Restraint,” a 47-second song on the album, is made of only the words “And have I learned restraint?; Am I quiet enough for you yet?” Chants and breaths provide listeners with a sense of suffering following the lyrics. The breathing seems to only be an inhale, perhaps signaling Welch was never able to let go. 

The next song on the album, “The Bomb,” begins with an exhale, closing its predecessor. The lyrics explain loving someone who doesn’t love back. The music pauses for Welch to say “I’ve blown apart my life for you and bodies hit the floor for you; And break me, shake me, devastate me; Come here, baby; Tell me that I'm wrong.” 

She later confesses she doesn’t love the person, she loves the bomb and questions if her demolished life is what she had wanted.

Florence + The Machine’s songs have always been songs to scream out loud, to dance around your room to. “Dance Fever” takes these feelings to another level, making them uncontrollable urges. 

These songs resemble the wars that go on inside peoples’ minds. Anger is allowed to be expressed and happiness is able to be achieved. Inner struggles are able to be overcome while dancing to this album.

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