Never Let Me Go (Florence and the Machine song)

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"Never Let Me Go"
Never Let Me Go Official Artwork.jpg
Single by Florence and the Machine
from the album Ceremonials
Released 30 March 2012 (2012-03-30)
Format Digital download
Genre
Length 4:31
Label Island
Songwriter(s)
Producer(s) Paul Epworth
Florence and the Machine singles chronology
"No Light, No Light"
(2012)
"Never Let Me Go"
(2012)
"Breath of Life"
(2012)

"No Light, No Light"
(2012)
"Never Let Me Go"
(2012)
"Breath of Life"
(2012)
Music video
"Never Let Me Go" on YouTube
Ceremonials track listing
12 tracks
  1. "Only if for a Night"
  2. "Shake It Out"
  3. "What the Water Gave Me"
  4. "Never Let Me Go"
  5. "Breaking Down"
  6. "Lover to Lover"
  7. "No Light, No Light"
  8. "Seven Devils"
  9. "Heartlines"
  10. "Spectrum"
  11. "All This and Heaven Too"
  12. "Leave My Body"

"Never Let Me Go" is a song by English indie rock band Florence and the Machine from their second studio album, Ceremonials (2011). The song was written by Florence Welch and Paul Epworth while production was handled by Epworth. Island Records released the song as the third single from the album on 30 March 2012. The band first premiered the song during one of their concerts before the release of the album on 15 October 2011. A Clams Casino remix of the song was placed on the 12" white vinyl single which was available for pre-order on 22 March 2012.

Musically, "Never Let Me Go" is a downtempo baroque pop and R&B ballad in the key of A major completed with piano and drums while backing vocals repeatedly sing "never let me go" throughout the song. Many critics noted similarities between the song's composition and materials by other artists including Enya, Evanescence and Ryan Tedder-produced songs. The song received acclaim by critics who praised Welch's vocals and its balladry nature.

An accompanying music video for the song was released online on 8 March 2012. It was directed by Tabitha Denholm and stars actor Jamie Campbell Bower, who plays Welch's love interest. The video features the pair together skating and shots of a dirty water trickling down Welch's face and hands are shown. Upon the release of the video, critics praised Welch's gothic look and the video's dark atmosphere. Florence and the Machine added the song to the set list of their second worldwide Ceremonials Tour (2011–2012) where the song was performed during the encore of the concerts along with "No Light, No Light".

Background and release[edit]

"Never Let Me Go" was written by Florence Welch, Paul Epworth and Kid Harpoon while production was handled by Epworth.[4][5] Florence and the Machine premiered "Never Let Me Go" along with two other songs from the album, "Spectrum" and "Heartlines" as part of their set list at New York's Creators Project on 15 October 2011, two weeks before the release of the album.[6] Speaking about the song, Welch told Digital Spy, "The gospel thing comes from my obsession with hymns. I'm drawn to anything that has a hymnal quality, be it Spiritualized or dusty old albums by Georgian choirs."[7] Island Records released "Never Let Me Go" as the third single from the album on 2 April 2012.[7] A Clams Casino remix of the song was placed on the 12" white vinyl single which was available for pre-order on 22 March 2012.[8] The artwork for the vinyl single was shot by Karl Lagerfeld and was described by The Guardian's Michael Cragg as "swanky".[9][10] Andrew Martin of Prefix Magazine commented that the "Clams Casino's remix of [the song]... was the weirdest thing to happen to Florence Welch's voice".[11] The Guardian's Michael Cragg commented, "He takes the stately Never Let Me Go and adds gusts of distorted backing vocals, big drum claps and, midway through, pitches Florence Welch's vocals down a notch or two to create what sounds like an eerie duet recorded in a cave."[9]

Composition[edit]

"Never Let Me Go" is a downtempo baroque pop ballad with elements of R&B.[12][13] It has a piano-led instrumentation accompanied by thumping drums.[14][15] Lyrically, the theme of the song revolves around the sea and the ocean, interpreted in the lines "The arms of the ocean so sweet and so cold/And all this devotion I never knew at all".[12][16] The song also talks about sin and redemption.[17] According to Michael Hann of The Guardian, the opening lyrics "Looking out from underneath, fractured moonlight on the sea",[18] of the song sound similar to the songs written by Elizabeth Fraser in the group This Mortal Coil.[19] Backing vocals are heard during the chorus repeatedly singing the lines "never let me go".[12] Many critics noted similarities between "Never Let Me Go" and artists such as Enya and Evanescence.[12][20][21] The production of the song was also compared with Ryan Tedder-produced songs.[14] Jillian Mapes of Billboard magazine further noted that "Never Let Me Go" sounds more similar to the songs from the band's debut studio album Lungs (2009).[13]

Critical reception[edit]

"Never Let Me Go" received critical acclaim by music critics. Neil McCormick of The Daily Telegraph chose "Never Let Me Go" as a highlight on the whole album.[22] Rebecca Nicholson of The Guardian praised the song saying that it has "thumping stadium drums and sounds like it has the US charts in its epic crosshairs."[14] Similarly, Robert Copsey of Digital Spy said, "Big enough to bring a stadium audience to its knees, it's more structured and less hectic than anything on her debut, but still remains packed with eccentricities."[20] In a separate review of the single, Copsey graded it with four out of five stars saying, "she chants with pent-up emotion over a neo-gothic piano riff, before letting it all pour out on a chorus of sweeping strings and crashing cymbals. The result is her least hectic cut to date, but much like her contemporaries, remains full of eccentricity."[18] Slant Magazine's Matthew Cole called the song "gorgeous... [and] easily the best ballad Florence has done yet".[23] Another writer of the same publication commented that "Welch is perfectly capable of doing delicate too, as evidenced by... "Never Let Me Go".[24] David Edwards of the website Drowned in Sound commented that "by the end of the superb 'Never Let Me Go', you could easily be forgiven for thinking that you are listening to one of the most unexpected surprises of 2011, so strong and resonant is the roar of the opening salvo."[25] Richard Smirke of Billboard magazine called the song an "impassioned midpaced ballad".[26] Ryan Reed of The Phoenix gave a mixed review for the song saying "When she exclaims, 'It's all over; I'm going under,' it's unclear whether she's committing suicide or practicing her can-opener dive. Either way, it's boring. On occasion, her show-off-y melisma floats past acquired taste into plain ol' ridiculousness.[16]

Commercial performance[edit]

"Never Let Me Go" debuted at number 135 on the UK Singles Chart for the week ending 7 April 2012, peaking at number eighty-two the following week, making it their second lowest-charting single to date.[27] The song entered the Australian Singles Chart at number nineteen and peaked three weeks later at number three, earning the band their highest-charting single to date in the country.[28] In Belgium, the single charted on the Ultratip charts at number fifteen in Flanders and at number forty-three in Wallonia.[29] As of July 2018 in United Kingdom combined sales are 133,000. [30]

Music video[edit]

"Of course, given the cavernous, darkly lit spaces the video inhabits, it's also a nice fit to the song's voluminous, dream-like sonics. Truly, a skating rink hasn't looked this moody since, well, ever — to the point where you can practically feel the chill running its way up Welch's stockings. And as for Campbell Bower, well, he's plenty icy too... Call it love on ice. Or a darkly spiritual rumination on the politics of figure skating. Either way, with 'Never Let Me Go,' Welch definitely adds to her impressive list of eye-catching clips, emotes and wails and flails, and gives skating its biggest artistic bump... It's chillingly effective, and just as beautiful, too."

-James Montgomery, MTV News[31]

An accompanying music video for the song was released on Bing on 7 March 2012.[32] A picture of Welch swimming in the music video for the song was shown on The Sun on 1 March 2012.[33] Along with the music video, behind-the-scenes video was also released. It was directed by Tabitha Denholm.[31][34] The video stars actor Jamie Campbell Bower who plays Welch's love interest in the video.[35][36]

The video starts with Welch looking into an ice rink which holds an arcade. A man is seen using the arcade machines as Welch enters, wearing torn, worn away clothing. As the first chorus starts, the ice rink is lit up by the man with spotlights moving around. Several scenes are shown throughout the video of water e.g. an overflowing sink, a floor being mopped, watery footprints on the floor. What looks like dirty water is shown trickling down Welch's face and hands. She walks onto the ice rink and the man enters, leading them to dance with each other and hug. As Florence dances on her own, a cleaner is shown to be watching. Towards the end of the song, Welch looks at the man and starts to fall back, her face and hands engulfed by dirty water as the woman cleaner looks on.

Nick Neyland of Prefix Magazine compared the video with Kazuo Ishiguro's eponymous novel, Never Let Me Go (2005).[37] Melinda Newman of the website HitFix praised Welch's gothic look and wrote, "It's spooky and we don't fully understand it. It’s one of those videos that creates an atmosphere more than a linear story."[17] Leah Collins of the Canadian magazine Dose commented that in the video, "Welch is the sort of gal who busts into skating rinks after hours with her skid boyfriend... The kind of gal who dyes her hair by summoning dark, demonic spirits -- ones who ooze out of her pores, and various plumbing fixtures, until she's nothing but a black-haired creepy mist."[34] MTV News' James Montgomery called the video "ethereal" and said, "Never Let Me Go" is certainly visually arresting, but it also works on another level: Namely, it perfectly (and artfully) captures the experience of literally melting in the presence of a lover, the feeling of casting abandon to the wind and giving yourself away truly and completely."[31] Ayeesha Walsh of The Sun praised the "spooky" clip adding, "The dark and meaningful imaging is a powerful combination with the enchanting soundtrack of single Never Let Me Go and it's a captivating performance from Florence."[38] Consequence of Sound's Alex Young commented briefly "Don’t watch this one before breakfast."[35] A writer of The Huffington Post gave a mixed review for the video, saying that it had an unclear plot.[39]

Live performances[edit]

Florence and the Machine added the song to the set list of their second worldwide Ceremonials Tour (2011–12) where the song was performed during the encore of the concerts along with "No Light, No Light".[40][41] A live performance of the song is included in Florence and the Machine's live album MTV Unplugged – A Live Album (2012) which was recorded in December 2011.[42]

Track listing[edit]

Digital download and limited 12" single[8]
  1. "Never Let Me Go"
  2. "Never Let Me Go" (Clams Casino Remix)

Charts[edit]

Weekly charts[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Florence And The Machine Ceremonials". Clash. Retrieved 4 May 2016.
  2. ^ "Florence + The Machine, 'Ceremonials': Track-By-Track Review". Billboard. Retrieved 5 May 2016.
  3. ^ "Florence & The Machine 'Ceremonials' (Island)". The Fly. Archived from the original on 29 December 2011. Retrieved 5 May 2016.
  4. ^ Ceremonials (liner notes). Florence and the Machine. Island Records. 2011.
  5. ^ Corner, Lewis (7 March 2012). "Florence + the Machine release 'Never Let Me Go' music video - watch". Digital Spy. Hachette Filipacchi Médias. Retrieved 7 March 2012.
  6. ^ Sources talking about the premiere of "Never Let Me Go", "Spectrum" and "Heartlines" on 15 October 2011 during the band's set list at New York's Creators Project before the release of Ceremonials:
  7. ^ a b Copsey, Robert (1 March 2012). "Florence + the Machine announce new single 'Never Let Me Go'". Digital Spy. Hachette Filipacchi Médias. Retrieved 4 March 2012.
  8. ^ a b "Pre-Oorded 'Never Let Me Go'". Florence and the Machine's official website. 22 March 2012. Retrieved 23 March 2012.
  9. ^ a b Cragg, Michael (22 March 2012). "New music: Florence & the Machine – Never Let Me Go (Clams Casino Remix)". The Guardian. Guardian Media Group. Retrieved 23 March 2012.
  10. ^ Fitzmaurice, Larry (21 March 2012). "Florence and the Machine - "Never Let Me Go (Clams Casino Remix)"". Pitchfork Media. Retrieved 8 April 2012.
  11. ^ Martin, Andrew (22 March 2012). "Florence Welch Planning "Strange Album" With Dev Hynes?". Prefix Magazine. Retrieved 23 March 2012.
  12. ^ a b c d Elan, Priya (13 September 2011). "First Listen - Florence & The Machine, 'Ceremonials'". NME. IPC Media. Retrieved 4 March 2012.
  13. ^ a b Mapes, Jillian (2 November 2011). "Florence + The Machine, 'Ceremonials': Track-By-Track Review". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved 4 March 2012.
  14. ^ a b c Nicholson, Rebecca (15 September 2011). "First listen: Florence and the Machine's new album, Ceremonials". The Guardian. Guardian Media Group. Retrieved 4 March 2012.
  15. ^ Foster, Laura (24 October 2011). "Florence And The Machine - Ceremonials". Clash. Retrieved 7 March 2012.
  16. ^ a b Reed, Ryan (3 November 2011). "Florence + the Machine - Ceremonials". The Phoenix. Phoenix Media/Communications Group. Retrieved 7 March 2012.
  17. ^ a b Newman, Melinda (7 March 2012). "Watch: Florence + The Machine go goth in new video for 'Never Let Me Go'". HitFix. Retrieved 8 March 2012.
  18. ^ a b Copsey, Robert (26 March 2012). "Florence + the Machine: 'Never Let Me Go' - Single review". Digital Spy. Hachette Filipacchi Médias. Retrieved 27 March 2012.
  19. ^ Hann, Michael (27 October 2011). "Florence and the Machine: Ceremonials – review (Island)". The Guardian. Guardian Media Group. Retrieved 4 March 2012.
  20. ^ a b Copsey, Robert (15 September 2011). "Florence + the Machine's new album 'Ceremonials' - First listen". Digital Spy. Hachette Filipacchi Médias. Retrieved 4 March 2012.
  21. ^ Empire, Kitty (30 October 2011). "Florence and the Machine: Ceremonials – review (Island)". The Observer. Guardian Media Group. Retrieved 4 March 2012.
  22. ^ McCormick, Neil (27 October 2011). "Florence & the Machine: Ceremonials, CD review". The Daily Telegraph. Telegraph Media Group. Retrieved 4 March 2012.
  23. ^ Cole, Matthew (30 October 2011). "Florence and the Machine: Ceremonials". Slant Magazine. Retrieved 4 March 2012.
  24. ^ "The 25 Best Albums of 2011". Slant Magazine. 14 December 2011. p. 1. Retrieved 7 March 2012.
  25. ^ Edwards, David (31 October 2011). "Florence + The Machine - Ceremonials". Drowned in Sound. Retrieved 7 March 2012.
  26. ^ Smirke, Richard (30 September 2011). "Florence & The Machine: The Billboard Cover Story". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. p. 2. Retrieved 10 April 2012.
  27. ^ "Florence & The Machine". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 10 May 2018.
  28. ^ a b "Australian-charts.com – Florence + The Machine – Never Let Me Go". ARIA Top 50 Singles. Retrieved 1 April 2012.
  29. ^ a b "Ultratop.be – Florence + The Machine – Never Let Me Go" (in Dutch). Ultratip. Retrieved 10 April 2012.
  30. ^ Bloodworth, Adam (2 July 2018). "Florence and the Machine's Official Top 10 biggest UK singles revealed". Official Charts. Retrieved 6 July 2018.
  31. ^ a b c Montgomery, James (7 March 2012). "'Twilight' Star Gets Eerie In Florence And The Machine Video". MTV News. MTV Networks. Retrieved 8 March 2012.
  32. ^ "Watch The 'Never Let Me Go' Video". Florence and the Machine's official website. 7 March 2012. Retrieved 8 March 2012.
  33. ^ Smart, Gordon (1 March 2012). "Way to go, Flo". The Sun. News International. Retrieved 3 March 2012.
  34. ^ a b Collins, Leah (7 March 2012). "Florence + The Machine Out-Creep Twilight Actor in New Video "Never Let Me Go"". Dose. Postmedia Network. Retrieved 8 March 2012.
  35. ^ a b Young, Alex (7 March 2012). "Video: Florence and the Machine – "Never Let Me Go"". Consequence of Sound. Complex Media Network. Retrieved 7 March 2012.
  36. ^ "Watch Florence Welch melt to death alongside 'Twilight' star in 'Never Let Me Go' video". NME. IPC Media. 8 March 2012. Retrieved 8 March 2012.
  37. ^ Neyland, Nick (7 March 2012). "Florence + The Machine: "Never Let Me Go" (Video)". Prefix Magazine. Retrieved 7 March 2012.
  38. ^ Walsh, Ayeesha (8 March 2012). "Florence Welch vamps it up for new video". The Sun. News International. Retrieved 9 March 2012.
  39. ^ "Florence And The Machine's 'Never Let Me Go' Gets A Video". The Huffington Post. 8 March 2012. Retrieved 8 March 2012.
  40. ^ Kot, Greg (5 December 2011). "There's more to Florence Welch than wispiness and eccentricity". Chicago Tribune. Tribune Company. Retrieved 8 March 2012.
  41. ^ Smart, Gordon (4 March 2012). "Caught Live: Florence And The Machine @ O2, Dublin". The Sun. News International. Retrieved 8 March 2012.
  42. ^ Christopher Monger, James. "MTV Unplugged – Florence + the Machine". Allmusic. Rovi Corporation. Retrieved 5 October 2012.
  43. ^ "Ultratop.be – Florence + The Machine – Never Let Me Go" (in French). Ultratip. Retrieved 10 April 2012.
  44. ^ "Florence + The Machine Chart History (Canadian Hot 100)". Billboard. Retrieved 13 October 2011.
  45. ^ "Top 100 Singles". Irish Recorded Music Association. 12 April 2012. Archived from the original on 15 April 2012. Retrieved 21 April 2013.
  46. ^ "Florence and the Machine – Never Let Me Go Media Forest". Israeli Airplay Chart. Media Forest. Retrieved 15 April 2012.
  47. ^ "Official Scottish Singles Sales Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 10 May 2018.
  48. ^ "Official Singles Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 10 May 2018.
  49. ^ "Florence + The Machine Chart History (Rock Digital Songs)". Billboard. Retrieved 10 May 2018.
  50. ^ http://www.aria.com.au/pages/aria-charts-end-of-year-charts-top-100-singles-2012.htm
  51. ^ "ARIA Charts – Accreditations – 2015 Singles". Australian Recording Industry Association. Retrieved 5 March 2015.

External links[edit]