2011 is coming to an end, and I figured I'd start looking back on some of the music that has emerged on my horizon this year. It's not all new, it's not all brilliant - but it all interests me in some way or another. I thought I'd share.
#9: Florence + the Machine
I'm pretty sure I'm the last person to discover her (that is, Florence Welch), but I find it important to point out someone who sticks out in this ever-more confusing landscape of solo artists:
There are talented singers, wasting their voices on boring "soul" tune after tune; there are untalented singers, getting rich on their flamboyant style alone; there are manufactured stars; there are pretentious navel-gazers who make music for themselves alone; fallen stars who cling desperately on to fame...
... and there is Florence and the Machine.
Whatever category you want to put her music into - and her two studio albums show several different influences - there's always that one thing that lifts her music way above the rest: her voice. Whenever that voice is put into a conventional frame of music (which does occur a bit too often on both albums), it's subdued and has no space to move - but when the song allows it... wow.
Ranging from ethereal, heart-wrenching beauty to ridiculous, bone-shattering power, her singing talent is a true revelation to me.
I had a hard time finding something from this year's album - "Ceremonials" - that wasn't speeded up or slowed down, so I went for the popular "Cosmic Love" from her previous album, "Lungs" (2009).