We’ve been waiting four long years for the follow up to Florence + The Machine‘s 2011 release, Ceremonials. Just recently, we got our first taste of How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful in the form of the first single, “What Kind Of Man”. This song has elements that made us fall in love with the band in the first place, but also some new musical layers that have me curious about the overall direction of the upcoming album. Is Florence Welch going to explore her inner ferocious, rock side?
The song starts off in a somber tone, which equates to the overall theme of the song itself. There’s a woman who is enduring the tug of war with love which is in some forms unrequited. “I was on a heavy tip/Try’na cross a canyon with a broken limb/You were on the other side, like always”. The vocal tone of Welch is key here, and is one of the song’s most shining aspects. When the opening lines are sung, you get the feeling of someone who is defeated over loving someone who is indecisive. By the time the bridge comes in, she elevates her voice “And with one kiss/You inspired a fire of devotion that lasts for twenty years”. That sentiment is echoed through the first and second halves of the song.
Once the chorus breaks, we hear a funky guitar lick coupled with choir vocals and trumpets that almost seem to affirm how Welsh is feeling. There’s a confrontation with this elevation of tempo in music, but a feeling of almost helplessness as well. “How do you do it?/I think I’m through it/Then I’m back against the wall”. There’s a gospel element coupled with the blues tinged lyrics of someone you can’t help loving.
Listening to “What Kind Of Man” has me interested to hear more about where Welch’s mind is lyric wise. This single is more inimical than those in the past, both lyrically and musically. What kind of man caused this strife, but brought this out?
Indie Rock | Island Records