Lungs (album)

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Lungs
Florence and the Machine - Lungs.png
Studio album by Florence and the Machine
Released 3 July 2009 (2009-07-03)
Studio
  • The Garden
  • Miloco
  • The Pool
  • The Synagogue
  • Strongroom 33
  • Space Cave
  • The Smokehouse
  • The Diary Studios
Genre
Length 46:16
Label Island
Producer
Florence and the Machine chronology
A Lot of Love. A Lot of Blood
(2009)
Lungs
(2009)
Live at the Wiltern
(2011)
Singles from Lungs
  1. "Kiss with a Fist"
    Released: 9 June 2008
  2. "Dog Days Are Over"
    Released: 1 December 2008
  3. "Rabbit Heart (Raise It Up)"
    Released: 22 June 2009
  4. "Drumming Song"
    Released: 13 September 2009
  5. "You've Got the Love"
    Released: 16 November 2009
  6. "Cosmic Love"
    Released: 5 July 2010

Lungs is the debut studio album by the English indie rock band Florence and the Machine and was released on 3 July 2009 on Island Records. Frontwoman Florence Welch experimented with and honed the album's sound with bandmate Isabella Summers while also collaborating with five record producers, including James Ford, Paul Epworth, Steve Mackey. The music on Lungs established Florence and the Machine as an internationally successful rock act, and also featured the group's successful mix of string arrangements centered around Welch's vocal prowess.

Upon release, Lungs debuted at number two on the UK Albums Chart and number 44 on the Billboard 200 before eventually peaking at number one and 14, respectively. Three singles preceding the album's distribution, "Kiss with a Fist", "Dog Days Are Over", and "Rabbit Heart (Raise It Up)", were included on Lungs, with the latter just missing the Top 10 of the UK Singles Chart. Another three singles followed the release of the album, including the group's first Top 10 hit "You've Got the Love", which was originally the B-side to "Dog Days Are Over". The album received generally positive reviews from music critics, with Welch drawing comparisons to Kate Bush, PJ Harvey, and Björk, among others. To promote Lungs, Florence and the Machine toured throughout Europe and North America between 2008 and 2011.

Background[edit]

Prior to recording Lungs, Florence Welch had considered or attempted several different projects in the music industry, including an interest in becoming a country singer, recording folk songs she had written, and collaborating with Razorlight's guitarist Johnny Borrell, but ultimately she was unsatisfied with those endeavors.[5] Welch and Borrell's songwriting partnership, being somewhat fruitful, spawned the two songs "The Hanging Song" and "Building Bricks", but neither one would appear on Lungs nor were they regularly included in the Florence and the Machine's live set.[6] In 2007, Welch fronted the hip hop-influenced group Ashok, recording an early version of "Kiss with a Fist", titled "Happy Slap", for their debut album, Plans.[5]

It was not until Welch began writing and recording with childhood friend Isabella Summers at her small independent workplace, Antenna Studios, in London that Welch crafted a sound she wanted to develope further. Distraught but also inspired from a recently failed relationship, Welch recorded with "enthusiasm over skills", stating "I'm quite glad I never learned to play the guitar, because I think I'd write songs that were more classically structured. As it is, I've had to create my own way of writing, which isn't typical. Everything's a big crescendo".[5][7] For a brief while, Welch and Summers performed as a duo called Florence Robot/Isa Machine in small London venues.[8] Over the coming months, Robert Ackroyd (guitar, backing vocals), Chris Hayden (drums, percussion, backing vocals), Mark Saunders (bass guitar, backing vocals) and Tom Monger (harp) were recruited to form a band, renamed Florence and the Machine.[9] Additionally, prior to being signed by Island Records in November 2008, Welch recalled conversing with several session guitarists and drummers to help arrange her preferred style, which she explained was "a wave of sound that would envelope, something that was soaring, slightly church-like and then-doomlike".[5][7]

The band elected to record a shorter rendition of "Kiss with a Fist" as their debut single. Welch, however, began expanding upon the crude punk style which influenced "Kiss with a Fist" by listening to more contemporary music, particularly Arcade Fire's first album Funeral.[7] The influence of the recordings would manifest itself on the concept she had devised for Lungs, which, according to Welch, was a "scrapebook of the past five years... it's about guilt, fear, love, death, violence, nightmares, [and] dreams".[7] Ultimately, the majority of Welch's earlier self-penned compositions were rejected for the album, except "Kiss with a Fist" and "Between Two Lungs", because they did not mesh well with the album's themes.[7] Fortunately for the group, they rehearsed and improvised some of the material in the relaxed setting of Summers' studio, allowing Welch to refine the tribal drumming backdropping Lungs's tracks, most notably "Dog Days Are Over".[7]

Florence and the Machine recorded Lungs in the United Kingdom with five different producers—Paul Epworth, James Ford, Stephen Mackey, Eg White, and Charlie Hugall. Most of the songs on the album were mixed by Cenzo Townshend.[10]

Singles[edit]

"Kiss with a Fist" was released on 9 June 2008 as the lead single from Lungs, peaking at number 51 on the UK Singles Chart.[11]

"Dog Days Are Over" was released on 1 December 2008 as the album's second single and reached number 23 on the UK Singles Chart.[11] The song was used in the theatrical trailer for the 2010 film Eat Pray Love, starring Julia Roberts.[12] The Yeasayer remix of "Dog Days Are Over", which is included on Between Two Lungs, was released on 12 October 2010 on iTunes.[13]

"Rabbit Heart (Raise It Up)" was released as third single from the album on 22 June 2009, peaking at number 12 on the UK Singles Chart.[11] "Drumming Song" was released as the album's fourth single on 7 September 2009, reaching number 54 in the UK.[11]

"You've Got the Love" was the fifth single to be released from the album, and reached a new peak of number five on the UK Singles Chart in January 2010.[11] The band had recorded a version of this The Source song which had been a live staple intending to issue it as a B-side, but the success of the previous singles made Island request "You've Got the Love" as a single. Welch went on to record new vocal takes with engineer Cenzo Townshend, replacing the first two verses and the first chorus. Townshend also remixed the bass and drums to be "a bit harder and the bottom end a bit heavier.” [10] Florence and the Machine's duet with rapper Dizzee Rascal at the 2010 BRIT Awards on 16 February 2010, a mashup of "You've Got the Love" and Dizzee Rascal's "Dirtee Cash" titled "You Got the Dirtee Love", was released on iTunes the day after the ceremony.[14][15][16] "You Got the Dirtee Love" reached number two on the UK chart.[11]

On 5 January 2010, "Hurricane Drunk" was originally announced as the sixth single from the album.[17] A video for the song was filmed in Paris on 8 January 2010 and premiered on 29 January after the Celebrity Big Brother 2010 final on Channel 4.[17][18] However, on 3 March 2010, a reissue of "Dog Days Are Over" was announced through the band's website. The single was released digitally on 11 April and on 7" vinyl the following day, along with a new video.[19]

"Cosmic Love" was released on 5 July 2010 as the album's sixth and final single.[20] The song reached number 51 on the UK Singles Chart.[11] The band made a guest appearance in the 7 February 2011 episode of Gossip Girl, titled "Panic Roommate", where they performed an acoustic rendition of "Cosmic Love".[21]

Artwork[edit]

The imagery of Lungs, featuring a style derived from the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, was handled by two friends of Florence Welch's friends who are partners in the studio Partizan, photographer Tom Beard, and art director Tabitha Denholm, who also plays with the band's manager Mairead Nash in the DJ duo Queens of Noize.[22] Denholm created for the album cover a concept built around a pair of lungs worn visibly on Welch’s chest. Welch's personal stylist Aldene Johnson handled the wardrobe, "a Emma Cook chain dress that was in a kind of 1920s style",[23] while Orlando Weeks, an art student and frontman of the band The Maccabees, built the prostethic lungs which he intended to give "a Victoriana, industrial punchbag kind of look".[24]

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic 4/5 stars[25]
The A.V. Club A−[26]
Entertainment Weekly A−[27]
The Guardian 4/5 stars[28]
NME 6/10[29]
Pitchfork Media 7.2/10[30]
PopMatters 9/10[31]
Rolling Stone 3.5/5 stars[1]
Slant Magazine 4/5 stars[32]
Spin 4/5 stars[33]

Lungs received generally positive reviews from music critics. At Metacritic, which assigns a weighted mean rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream critics, the album received an average score of 79, based on 22 reviews, which indicates "generally favorable reviews".[34] James Christopher Monger of AllMusic praised it as "one of the most musically mature and emotionally mesmerizing albums of 2009" and stated, "With an arsenal of weaponry that included the daring musicality of Kate Bush, the fearless delivery of Sinéad O'Connor, and the dark, unhinged vulnerability of Fiona Apple, the London native crafted a debut that not only lived up to the machine-gun spray of buzz that heralded her arrival, but easily surpassed it."[25] Ryan Dombal wrote for Pitchfork Media that Florence Welch "bursts mouth wide wide over garage rock, epic soul, pint-tipping Britbeat, and—best of all—a mystic brand of pop that's part Annie Lennox, Grace Slick, and Joanna Newsom."[30] Entertainment Weekly's Joseph Brannigan Lynch opined that Welch's "immaculately constructed indie pop recalls Regina Spektor, but without the studied artiness: Welch is more concerned with raw emotional release."[27]

Spin's Melissa Maerz stated, "From the way she sings, in big gulps and Teen Wolf growls, to the mystical art-rock ballads she bedazzles with sleigh bells, harps, and choirs, there's enough drama here for a Broadway musical. But her delivery is so raw that every mess feels genuine."[33] Sophie Bruce of BBC Music was emphatic, saying, "With vocals building from breathy almost-nothings to soaring, arching crescendos and the accompanying harps, strings, hopes and dreams, this album takes you somewhere you'll never want to come back from."[35] Emily Tartanella of PopMatters called Lungs "a perfect debut", complimenting the album's "vast jumble of influences, from Kate Bush and Tori Amos to UK electronica [...], with Florence's voice taking on most of the work", while describing Welch's voice as "a mix of jazz and folk and blue-eyed soul like nothing in a long time. Or rather, like everything."[31] Rolling Stone's Jon Dolan expressed that "[t]he best bits feel like being chased through a moonless night by a sexy moor witch."[1] Slant Magazine critic Nick Day referred to the band's music as "particularly sensitive to studio gloss" and praised Welch's singing as "a fine balance between elegance and frenzy."[32] In a review for The Guardian, Dave Simpson viewed that Welch "has created a sonic labyrinth of xylophones, percussion, Gregorian chants and werewolves. It can sound affected, occasionally crass, but there's enough adventure to make this worth backing for the Mercury."[28]

Jamie Fullerton of the NME commended the work of producers James Ford and Paul Epworth, writing that on tracks like "Dog Days Are Over" and "Rabbit Heart (Raise It Up)", they "create epic cauldron-swirls of Terminator-theme drums, Massive Attack atmospherics and twinkle-eye harp matched by Florence's grappling of skyward choruses", but found that "with the likes of 'I'm Not Calling You A Liar' and 'Howl' boasting similarly windy production yet no identifiable tunes the results sound aimless—if harmless."[29] Drowned in Sound's Ed Miller commented on the comparisons drawn between Welch and Kate Bush, arguing, "Like Bush, but minus the mark of genius, listening to Florence and the Machine can sometimes feel like being led by the hand through a story world by a girl who has forgotten to grow up." However, Miller critiqued that "[t]he only major problems are the inclusion of a cover of 'You've Got The Love', which is an example of a bonus track ruining the flow of an album, and 'Hurricane Drunk', a vehicle for a very questionable chorus."[36] Genevieve Koski of The A.V. Club felt that "[a]t times, Lungs borders on exhausting, careening as it does from one over-the-top track to the next. [...] But with a voice as strong and emotive as hers, it's not surprising that Welch has little use for moments of quiet contemplation."[26]

Accolades[edit]

Lungs was shortlisted for the 2009 Mercury Prize.[37] The following year, the album won the MasterCard British Album award at the Brit Awards.[38]

Publication List Rank
Clash Top 40 Albums of 2009[39] 13
Consequence of Sound The Top 100 Albums of '09[40] 97
Entertainment Weekly 10 Best (and 5 Worst) Albums of 2009[41] Best Debut
Guardian, TheThe Guardian Albums of 2009[42] 6
Mojo Top 50 Albums of 2009[43] 7
musicOMH Top 50 Best Albums of 2009[44] 9
NME 50 Best Albums of 2009[45] 26
Q 50 Best Albums of 2009[43] 2
Spin The 40 Best Albums of 2009[46] 8
Uncut 50 Best Albums of 2009[47] 16

Commercial performance[edit]

Lungs debuted at number two on the UK Albums Chart (behind Michael Jackson's The Essential Michael Jackson), selling 63,020 copies in its first week[48]—the second highest amount for a debut album in 2009, after Susan Boyle's I Dreamed a Dream.[49][50] On 17 January 2010, after spending 28 consecutive weeks in the top 40,[51] the album topped the UK chart for the first time, selling 51,005 copies.[52] It spent a second consecutive week atop the chart, with 42,359 copies sold.[53] On 2 December 2011, Lungs was certified quintuple platinum by the British Phonographic Industry (BPI),[54] and had sold 1,662,146 copies in the United Kingdom by June 2015.[55]

Following the band's performance of "Dog Days Are Over" at the 2010 MTV Video Music Awards, Lungs jumped from number 44 to number 14 on the US Billboard 200 with sales of 21,000 copies, an increase of 165% from the previous week.[56] The album was certified platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) on 22 June 2012.[57] It had sold 1,142,000 copies in the United States as of February 2013.[58] Worldwide, Lungs had sold over three million copies as of November 2011.[59]

Track listing[edit]

No. Title Writer(s) Producer(s) Length
1. "Dog Days Are Over"  
4:13
2. "Rabbit Heart (Raise It Up)"  
Epworth 3:52
3. "I'm Not Calling You a Liar"  
  • Welch
  • Summers
  • Ford
  • Summers[a]
3:05
4. "Howl"  
  • Welch
  • Epworth
Epworth 3:34
5. "Kiss with a Fist"  
  • Welch
  • Matt Alchin
Stephen Mackey 2:04
6. "Girl with One Eye"  
  • Alchin
  • David Ashby
  • James McCool
Mackey 3:39
7. "Drumming Song"  
Ford 3:44
8. "Between Two Lungs"  
  • Welch
  • Summers
  • Ford
  • Summers[a]
4:09
9. "Cosmic Love"  
  • Welch
  • Summers
  • Epworth
  • Summers[a]
4:16
10. "My Boy Builds Coffins"  
  • Welch
  • Christopher Lloyd Hayden
  • Rob Ackroyd
Charlie Hugall 2:57
11. "Hurricane Drunk"  
  • White
  • Epworth[a]
3:13
12. "Blinding"  
  • Welch
  • Epworth
Epworth 4:40
13. "You've Got the Love"  
  • John Bellamy
  • Arnecia Michelle Harris
  • Anthony B. Stephens
Hugall 2:49

Limited edition box set[edit]

Bonus DVD

Best Buy edition bonus DVD[edit]

Notes

Between Two Lungs[edit]

Florence and the Machine announced via their website on 24 September 2010 that Lungs would be re-released on 15 November as a two-disc package titled Between Two Lungs. The reissue features new sleeve art, liner notes by Welch, and a 12-track bonus CD including live versions, remixes, Welch's mashup collaboration with Dizzee Rascal, "You Got the Dirtee Love", and "Heavy in Your Arms", which was released as a single from the soundtrack to The Twilight Saga: Eclipse.[65] The live recordings are taken from the band's performance at the 2010 iTunes Festival, most of which were not previously available on the band's iTunes Festival: London 2010 EP.

Disc two
No. Title Writer(s) Producer(s) Length
1. "Heavy in Your Arms"  
  • Welch
  • Epworth
Epworth 4:47
2. "You Got the Dirtee Love" (with Dizzee Rascal)
  • John Bellamy
  • Arnecia Michelle Harris
  • Anthony B. Stephens
  • Dylan Mills
  • Nick Cage
  • Hugall
  • Nick Detnon
3:41
3. "Hurricane Drunk" (The Horrors Remix)
  • Welch
  • White
  5:45
4. "Strangeness & Charm" (Live from Hammersmith Apollo)
  • Welch
  • Epworth
  5:49
5. "Swimming" (Live from Hammersmith Apollo)
  • Welch
  • James
  • Stafford
  • Mackey
  3:31
6. "Dog Days Are Over" (Yeasayer Remix)
  • Welch
  • Summers
  4:15
7. "Drumming Song" (Live from the iTunes Festival '10)
  • Welch
  • Ford
  • Hunt
  4:41
8. "Girl with One Eye" (Live from the iTunes Festival '10)
  • Alchin
  • Ashby
  • McCool
  3:49
9. "Hurricane Drunk" (Live from the iTunes Festival '10)
  • Welch
  • White
  3:33
10. "Dog Days Are Over" (Live from the iTunes Festival '10)
  • Welch
  • Summers
  4:15
11. "My Boy Builds Coffins" (Live from the iTunes Festival '10)
  • Welch
  • Hayden
  • Ackroyd
  2:47
12. "Hospital Beds" (Live from the iTunes Festival '10) Cold War Kids   2:17

Lungs – The B-Sides[edit]

On 27 February 2011, Lungs – The B-Sides was released exclusively in the United States to digital music retailers such as the iTunes Store and Amazon MP3.[66][67] This was followed by the release of a deluxe edition of Lungs in the US on 26 April 2011, featuring all eleven tracks from Lungs – The B-Sides on a bonus disc to accompany the original 13-track album.[68]

No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "Swimming"  
  • Welch
  • Mackey
  • Stafford
  • James
3:21
2. "Heavy in Your Arms"  
  • Welch
  • Epworth
4:45
3. "Ghosts" (Demo)
  • Welch
  • Summers
2:59
4. "You've Got the Dirtee Love" (Live at the BRIT Awards 2010 with Dizzee Rascal)
  • John Bellamy
  • Arnecia Michelle Harris
  • Anthony B. Stephens
  • Dylan Mills
  • Nick Cage
3:41
5. "Dog Days Are Over" (Yeasayer Remix)
  • Welch
  • Summers
4:15
6. "Falling"  
  • Welch
  • Summers
3:32
7. "Are You Hurting the One You Love?"  
  • Welch
  • Hayden
  • Summers
  • Moth
2:57
8. "Addicted to Love"   Robert Palmer 3:19
9. "Bird Song"  
  • Welch
  • Hynes
2:54
10. "Hospital Beds"   Cold War Kids 2:15
11. "Hardest of Hearts"  
  • Welch
  • Tieku
3:27

Personnel[edit]

Credits adapted from the liner notes of Lungs.[69]

Florence and the Machine
  • Florence Welch – vocals, additional drums, percussion (all tracks); backing vocals (tracks 7, 8); art direction
  • Rob Ackroyd – guitar (tracks 1, 5, 10, 13); bass (track 5)
  • Christopher Lloyd Hayden – drums (tracks 1–3, 5, 10, 11, 13)
  • Tom Monger – harp (tracks 1–3, 7–13)
  • Isabella Summers – additional drums, percussion (all tracks); additional production (tracks 1, 3, 8, 9); piano (tracks 1, 3, 4, 7, 8, 10, 13)
Additional personnel

Charts[edit]

Certifications[edit]

Lungs
Region Certification Certified units/Sales
Australia (ARIA)[114] 3× Platinum 210,000^
Belgium (BEA)[115] Gold 15,000*
Canada (Music Canada)[116] Gold 40,000^
Germany (BVMI)[117] Gold 100,000^
Ireland (IRMA)[118] 4× Platinum 60,000^
Italy (FIMI)[119] Gold 30,000*
New Zealand (RMNZ)[120] Gold 7,500^
Poland (ZPAV)[121] Platinum 20,000*
United Kingdom (BPI)[54] 5× Platinum 1,662,146[55]
United States (RIAA)[57] Platinum 1,142,000[58]
Summaries
Europe (IFPI)[122] 2× Platinum 2,000,000*

*sales figures based on certification alone
^shipments figures based on certification alone

Between Two Lungs
Region Certification Certified units/Sales
Poland (ZPAV)[123] Gold 10,000*

*sales figures based on certification alone

Release history[edit]

Region Date Edition Label Ref.
Netherlands 3 July 2009 Standard Universal [124]
Ireland Island [125]
United Kingdom 6 July 2009
  • Standard
  • deluxe
[63][126]
Norway Standard Universal [127]
France 9 July 2009 [128]
Germany 10 July 2009
  • Standard
  • deluxe
[129][130]
Australia 17 July 2009 Standard [131]
Poland 24 July 2009 [132]
Japan 5 August 2009 [62]
Canada 11 August 2009 [133]
Italy 25 September 2009 [134]
United States 20 October 2009 Universal Republic [135]
United Kingdom 23 November 2009 Limited edition box set Island [136]
Australia 21 May 2010 Deluxe Universal [64]
Netherlands 12 November 2010 Between Two Lungs [137]
Ireland Island [138]
United Kingdom 15 November 2010 [139]
Canada Universal [140]
Norway [141]
Germany 16 November 2010 [142]
France 18 November 2010 [143]
Australia 19 November 2010 [144]
Poland [145]
United States 27 February 2011 Lungs – The B-Sides (digital download) Universal Republic [67]
26 April 2011 Deluxe [68]

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