Florence + the Machine’s ‘How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful’ and the Frustrations of Tasteful Pop


In a recent interview with BBC Radio personality Zane Lowe, Florence Welch explained that her new producer set some ground rules when it came to making her third album, How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful, released last week. As part of an effort to introduce space and earthiness to Florence + the Machine’s “maximalist” aesthetic, Markus Dravs placed a pint glass that said, “Water to drink from, not write about” in the recording studio. In addition to banning Welch from singing about ponderous bodies of water, he stripped back the layers and layers of sweeping instrumentals in an attempt to highlight her songwriting. Welch’s initial reaction: “Where’s the crescendo and the fanfare?”
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25 of the Best Sophomore Albums Ever Made


You know how it goes: a band or a musician puts out a stellar first album, receives heaps of praise and success, and then goes back to the recording studio and turns out a second album. What a bummer, it’s not as good. But is this trend a real thing, or just a myth fueled by how disappointed we, as listeners and critics, can be when artists’ albums don’t live up to our expectations? What follows shows that plenty of great artists were able to avoid the sophomore slump — and, in some cases, turned out the best album of their careers. …Read More