High as Hope (pt 2) – Florence + the Machine

Lets hug because none of us are special

– Iryna

When I was an adolescent I thought that it was best to be ~different~ and unique, unrelatable to everyone around you. I thought that this was the way to find peace—when so much of the media you consume is constantly going on about people being sheep and how we should unshackle ourselves from the confinements of averageness, I believed being totally different was the best approach to life. This is a very lonely approach to life.

I’m now a solid couple of years out of my adolescence and have a done a complete 180°—I would like to be the most average person you meet. I would like to be able to relate to anyone and everyone and just enjoy the fact that when it comes down to it we’re not so special on an individual level. When it comes down to it we all go through very similar experiences and deal with our emotions in very similar ways. I don’t think this is something we should fight against, I think this is something beautiful and touching.

This is one of the main reasons why I like Florence and the Machine’s music, especially her more recent albums. Listening to High as Hope I know exactly what she’s saying and also don’t understanding a single word. Her music is so personal and universal at the same time, it’s the perfect reminder that you’re not alone.

‘Grace’ is a song that really epitomised this idea for me. It seems like there are a few people in the world, close to Florence Welch, who, when they hear the song, will know the specifics of what the song is referencing. But for the rest of us, we can just guess at Florence’s life experiences, or try to piece them together from interviews. My guess, and my experience, is that we, as her listeners, don’t really do this. We take her personal lyrics and apply them to our own lives. This is a wonderful thing to do.

Listening to High as Hope is like having one of those drunken conversations with a stranger, which has taken a weird turn into the very private and you’re both yelling your interpretations of events or feelings at each other, while the other yells back ‘Yes! Exactly!’ Except not exactly, because you’re clearly talking about two very different things. But it’s nice that in this moment of intoxication you feel understood.

I didn’t grow up in South London, but I’ve been young and drunk and stumbling in the street, and the phrase ‘we’re all just children wanting children of our own / I want a space to watch things grow’ makes my heart beat a little faster every time I hear it.

I’ve never been ghosted and don’t feel like my world is crumbling around me when a boy doesn’t text back, but I’m sure that we’ve have all at some point in our lives thought to ourselves ‘Jesus Christ, it hurts’.

And she’s right when she says ‘happiness is an extremely uneventful subject / and there would be no grand choirs to sing … about two people sitting doing nothing’. But isn’t that blandness—those days of absolute peace that blend into one and become a mess of nothing that just looks like your significant other’s face when you try to remember them properly—truly the only reason why we’re all on Tinder late at night?

I love Florence + the Machine because even though their music is divine they write music about absolutely nothing special. They make me remember the power music has, to make you feel heard and understood. We will never meet Florence Welch, but we have a very special, powerful thing in common: we’re both people who have been heartbroken and love to love and wait for those moments of happiness that no one wants to read about. We’re not special, which is why we should all just hold hands and drunkenly yell about our feelings to each other and pretend we understand.

 

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