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Florence Welch believes that dance has the potential to bring about restoration, redemption, and rebirth. The lead singer of Florence + The Machine commenced sobriety in 2014 and started taking technical dance lessons, which helped her regain discipline and a newfound enthusiasm for her career. Her carefully rehearsed antics have propelled the band’s powerfully frenzied indie songs to new heights with every album.
So, when Welch read about choreomania, a historical concept involving a collective ritual of dancing until exhaustion, she was immediately fascinated by the idea. However, this album is more than just a product of idle pandemic desperation. A closer look into the songs and music reveals a much more passionate process.
Dance Fever, like all of Welch’s other works, is heavily conceptual. The themes of this album center on reclaiming the dancefloor, love, and your own identity. The vocalist casts out evil spirits by conjuring up images of sorcery and extrasensory perception.
Welch’s unique stage persona is unmatched. So, this may be the closest she ever gets to the pop and rock superstars who inspired her work. When she sings, “I’m free when I’m dancing”, she implies that if we are to die, it is better to go while dancing your heart out than to regret an uneventful life.
While the lyrics remain focused on a central theme, Welch’s music takes on fascinating forms. She transforms a filtered vocal line into an intentionally unsettling bevy of gasping sounds during the minute-long interlude “Restraint”.
“Daffodil” is interspersed with loud pauses for breath and the thud of drum machines. As a fluttering violin amplifies the urgent messages of the spiraling “Cassandra,” listeners can’t help but feel a sense of desperation.
Listening to “My Love” with its tear-streaked disco throb is a lot like having a cathartic cry while dancing to indie club music. Glass Animals vocalist Dave Bayley produced the song, which he frames as a positive vibe change. Welch presents romantic love as a complex tapestry of emotions, from lust to anguish to delight, and the song’s powerful beats emphasize this range.
“Free” is another uplifting anthem celebrating triumph over adversity. It draws on the fervor of Welch’s earlier work. This might be one of the band’s most jubilant choruses, which it elevates using twitchy percussion arrangements. Welch tackles the subject of overcoming fear with constant amazement that such bliss is even conceivable.
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