High as Hope

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High as Hope
HighAsHope.png
Studio album by
Released29 June 2018 (2018-06-29)
Studio
  • Beacon House, Los Angeles
  • 123, London[a]
Genre
Length39:57
Label
Producer
Florence and the Machine chronology
How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful
(2015)
High as Hope
(2018)
Singles from High as Hope
  1. "Sky Full of Song"
    Released: 12 April 2018
  2. "Hunger"
    Released: 3 May 2018
  3. "Patricia"
    Released: 10 August 2018[3][4]

High as Hope is the fourth studio album by the English indie rock band Florence and the Machine, released on 29 June 2018 by Republic Records[5] and Virgin EMI Records.[6] It was preceded by the singles "Sky Full of Song" and "Hunger". "Patricia" was released as the third single of the album on 10 August, 2018.[3][4]

The album was executively produced by Florence Welch herself, along with Emile Haynie. Following How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful (2015), High as Hope features more minimalist, stripped-down productions, and explores themes of heartache, family, and finding comfort in loneliness. The album received positive reviews upon release, with music critics lauding Welch's vocal performance and personal lyricism.

Background and recording[edit]

On 18 April 2017, Nathan Willet, the frontman of Cold War Kids hinted in an interview, that the band's fourth album is in the works by expressing that he had collaborated with Welch.[7] The news was confirmed by Welch herself on 27 May 2017, in an interview for The Daily Telegraph.[8] On 28 February 2018, the band's drummer, Christopher Hayden announced via Instagram that he had parted ways with the band.[9] In March 2018, the Dutch Record Store Day website revealed that a new single by the band would be released on 21 April 2018, titled "Sky Full of Song".[10] The listing was later removed.[10] The single was released on 12 April 2018. The song is accompanied by a video, which was directed by AG Rojas. On 6 April 2018, the BBC announced that the band would headline the BBC Music Biggest Weekend on 26 May 2018, where the band is expected to debut new work.[11] The band is set to perform worldwide as well, with shows scheduled throughout 2018.

Talking about the title and the themes explored on the album in an interview with Universal Music, Florence Welch said: "There is loneliness in this record, and there's issues, and pain, and things that I struggled with, but the overriding feeling is that I have hope about them, and that's what kinda brought me to this title; I was gonna call it The End of Love, which I actually saw as a positive thing cause it was the end of a needy kind of love, it was the end of a love that comes from a place of lack, it's about a love that's bigger and broader, that takes so much explaining. It could sound a bit negative but I didn't really think of it that way."[12]

"The End of Love" addresses her grandmother's suicide, a topic she has previously explored on the Ceremonials track "Only If for a Night".[13]

Long-time band member Isabella Summers does not perform on this album and no song-writing or production credits.

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
SourceRating
Metacritic75/100[14]
Review scores
SourceRating
AllMusic3.5/5 stars[15]
The A.V. ClubB[16]
The Daily Telegraph5/5 stars[17]
The Guardian3/5 stars[18]
The Independent4/5 stars[19]
NME3/5 stars[20]
Pitchfork5.7/10[21]
Q4/5 stars[22]
Rolling Stone3.5/5 stars[23]
The Times5/5 stars[24]

High as Hope received positive reviews from music critics upon release, with critics praising Welch's vocals, her themes, and the minimalist production. At Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream publications, the album received an average score of 75, based on 29 reviews, indicating "generally favorable reviews".[14] Writing for The Daily Telegraph, Neil McCormick gave the album a perfect score, stating that "Welch's singing throughout is extraordinary, shifting gears effortlessly from melancholic softness to high-powered exultation, even ululation. Every gasp, growl and fluttery trill seems perfectly placed."[17] Roisin O'Connor of The Independent awarded the record a rating of four stars out of five, praising several songs, saying "'Grace' is a moving love letter to her younger sister which asks for forgiveness for her past, chaotic behaviour" and "stirring violins open 'The End of Love' like a sinister eulogy; Welch's voice comes in with gorgeously textured harmonies, unfolding elegantly as she details a finished relationship with bittersweet recollections."[19]

AllMusic critic Neil Z. Yeung wrote, "Straightforward and relatably human, High as Hope may not be the rousing version of Welch from previous albums, but as a document of her personal growth, it's an endearing and heartfelt study of truth and self-reflection."[15] Sputnikmusic gave the album a perfect score, writing, "The easiest and most likely path to continued success for Welch and company would have been to attempt to re-create the spellbinding magic of Ceremonials or the anthemic qualities of Lungs. High as Hope is neither, and that makes it hands down the most forward-thinking album of Florence and the Machine's care."[1]

In a less enthusiastic review, NME gave High as Hope a rating of three stars out of five and called the album "safe", stating "Stripped to the bare bones of her soul and the sentiment, her truth shines – and there's a beauty in that. The only thing holding it back is a lack of risk, but there's still so much comfort in the familiar."[20] Similarly, Slant Magazine reviewer Josh Goller also gave the album three stars out of five, and said "Welch widens the song's ["Hunger"'s] scope from a specific personal battle with an eating disorder to a broader emphasis on universal craving for love and acceptance, but trite statements about the destructive nature of fame and drugs are emblematic of the album's overall tendency to retreat into sweeping, generalized sentiments. Welch strikes a more effective balance between the personal and the universal on 'Big God'."[25]

Commercial performance[edit]

High as Hope debuted at number two on the UK Albums Chart, selling 40,304 copies in its first week.[26] In the United States, the album debuted at number two on the Billboard 200 with 84,000 album-equivalent units, including 74,000 pure album sales.[27] It is Florence and the Machine's third US top 10 album.[27] High as Hope has sold 100,800 copies in the US as of August 25, 2018,[28] and 80,700 in the UK as of September 19, 2018.[29]

Track listing[edit]

No.TitleWriter(s)Producer(s)Length
1."June"Florence Welch
3:41
2."Hunger"
  • Haynie
  • Welch
3:34
3."South London Forever"
  • Welch
  • Shaw
  • Haynie
  • Welch
  • Shaw[a]
4:22
4."Big God"
  • Haynie
  • Welch
  • Shaw[b]
4:01
5."Sky Full of Song"
  • Welch
  • Haynie
  • Bartlett
  • Haynie
  • Welch
  • Bartlett[b]
3:46
6."Grace"
  • Haynie
  • Welch
  • Shaw[b]
4:48
7."Patricia"
  • Welch
  • Haynie
  • Bartlett
  • Haynie
  • Welch
  • Shaw[b]
3:37
8."100 Years"Welch
  • Haynie
  • Welch
  • Shaw[b]
4:58
9."The End of Love"
  • Welch
  • Jesso
  • Haynie
  • Welch
  • Jesso[a]
4:41
10."No Choir"
  • Haynie
  • Welch
2:29
Total length:39:57

Notes

  • ^[a] signifies a co-producer.
  • ^[b] signifies an additional producer.
  • "Big God" contains sampled elements from "Azure Blue" by Simon Benson and Peter Cox.

Personnel[edit]

Charts[edit]

Certifications[edit]

Region Certification Certified units/Sales
United Kingdom (BPI)[58] Silver 60,000^

^shipments figures based on certification alone

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Except tracks 5 and 10
  2. ^ Additional recording on tracks 2 and 9
  3. ^ Additional recording on tracks 2 and 5
  4. ^ Additional recording on tracks 2, 4 and 5
  5. ^ Additional recording on tracks 3, 4 and 8
  6. ^ Additional recording on track 7
  7. ^ Orchestra

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Staff (July 2, 2018). "Florence and the Machine - High as Hope". Sputnikmusic. Retrieved July 3, 2018. Heading into this album, it would have been easy to assume that we'd be in line for ten straightforward, acoustically driven indie-pop songs
  2. ^ Ludovic Hunter-Tilney (June 29, 2018). "Florence and the Machine: High As Hope — 'change in emphasis'". Financial Times. Retrieved August 10, 2018. (Subscription required (help)). a stirring orchestral-rock anthem anchored by the...
  3. ^ a b "BBC Radio 1 playlist". Retrieved 10 August 2018.
  4. ^ a b Mac, Annie (4 July 2018). "Florence Welch's new single is an ode to one of her favourite artists: Patti Smith". BBC Radio 1. Retrieved 5 July 2018.
  5. ^ Ginsberg, Gab (3 May 2018). "Florence + the Machine Debuts 'Hunger,' Announces 'High As Hope' Album". Billboard. Retrieved 10 May 2018.
  6. ^ "Florence + The Machine announces new album 'High As Hope' with single 'Hunger'". DIY. Retrieved 12 May 2018.
  7. ^ "Interview: A Chat with Nathan Willet from Cold War Kids". 18 April 2017. Retrieved 4 May 2018.
  8. ^ "Florence Welch on alcohol, new music and her search for serenity". 27 May 2017. Retrieved 4 May 2018.
  9. ^ Hayden, Christopher Lloyd (28 February 2018). "Christopher Hayden @thekidhayden · Instagram photos and videos". Instagram. Retrieved 4 May 2018.
  10. ^ a b "Florence + The Machine are releasing a new single for Record Store Day". NME. 12 March 2018. Retrieved 4 May 2018.
  11. ^ "BBC - Florence + the Machine, Shawn Mendes and Demi Lovato to perform at BBC Music's The Biggest Weekend as the incredible line-up gets even bigger - Media Centre". www.bbc.co.uk.
  12. ^ Gabriel Leontine (20 June 2018). "Florence + The Machine: "High As Hope" (Interview)" – via YouTube.
  13. ^ "'Hope' and change from Florence + the Machine - The Boston Globe".
  14. ^ a b "High As Hope by Florence + the Machine Reviews and Tracks". Metacritic. Retrieved 23 October 2018.
  15. ^ a b Yeung, Neil Z. "High as Hope – Florence + the Machine". AllMusic. Retrieved 5 July 2018.
  16. ^ Rife, Katie (29 June 2018). "Florence + The Machine, High As Hope". The A.V. Club. Retrieved 5 July 2018.
  17. ^ a b McCormick, Neil (27 June 2018). "Florence + The Machine, High as Hope, review: 'A wild journey across a vast musical terrain". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 28 June 2018.
  18. ^ Petridis, Alexis (28 June 2018). "Florence + the Machine: High As Hope review – older, wiser, comparatively calmer". The Guardian. Retrieved 28 June 2018.
  19. ^ a b O'Connor, Roisin (30 June 2018). "Florence & The Machine, High As Hope album review: Calm after chaos". The Independent. Retrieved 5 July 2018.
  20. ^ a b Trendell, Andrew (28 June 2018). "Florence + The Machine – 'High As Hope' review". NME. Retrieved 5 July 2018.
  21. ^ St. Asaph, Katherine (4 July 2018). "Florence and the Machine: High as Hope". Pitchfork. Retrieved 5 July 2018.
  22. ^ Barton, Laura (August 2018). "A Different Gear". Q (388): 106.
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  24. ^ Hodgkinson, Will (29 June 2018). "Pop: Florence + The Machine: High As Hope". The Times. Retrieved 31 October 2018. (Subscription required (help)).
  25. ^ Goller, Josh (28 June 2018). "Florence and the Machine: High As Hope". Slant Magazine. Retrieved 5 July 2018.
  26. ^ Jones, Alan (6 July 2018). "Charts analysis: No hope for Florence as Drake's Scorpion album powers to summit". Music Week. Retrieved 16 July 2018. (Subscription required (help)).
  27. ^ a b Caulfield, Keith (8 July 2018). "Florence + The Machine, Gorillaz Debut in Top 10 on Billboard 200 Albums Chart". Billboard. Retrieved 9 July 2018.
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