Studio album by Florence and the Machine
Released October 28, 2011
Recorded 2010-2011
Length 55:58
Label Island
Producer Paul Epworth, James Ford, Charlie Hugall, Ben Roulston, Isabella Summers, Eg White
Ceremonials is the second studio album by English indie rock band Florence and the Machine, released on 28 October 2011 by Island Records. The band started working on the album in 2010 and finished it in 2011. The standard edition of the album was entirely produced by Paul Epworth, who also worked prominently on the band's debut album Lungs (2009).

Background Edit

NME magazine confirmed that after the release of the song "Heavy in Your Arms" for the soundtrack to The Twilight Saga: Eclipse, lead singer Florence Welch entered the studio for a two-week session to record with producer Paul Epworth, with whom she worked on the band's debut album, Lungs. She said that the two recordings that came out of that session were inspired by science because "a lot of her family are doctors or trying to become doctors, so much of her conversations are fixated on medical stuff."[1] In an interview with the Gibsonwebsite on 17 February 2011, guitarist Rob Ackroyd stated, "Work on the second album has begun with Paul Epworth and there is talk of booking out Abbey Roadfor a month in April/May to record."[2] In June 2011, Epworth told BBC 6 Music that the album would probably be finished "by the end of July" and described the sound as "a lot less indie and lot more soulful". He also indicated that there were 16 songs up for inclusion on the album, but that this would be reduced upon the time of release.[3] Pitchfork Media confirmed on 23 August 2011 that the album was produced solely by Epworth.[4] On 12 September 2011, Canadian radio broadcaster Alan Cross revealed that Florence and the Machine's second album would be titled Ceremonials. He also commented on the album by saying, "I've heard a little more than half the record and it is big, soulful and powerful. Think Adele or Tori Amos but with some serious Kate Bush DNA, especially with the rhythm section."[5]

Promotion Edit

Florence and the Machine embarked on several live performances to promote Ceremonials. The band premiered four tracks from the album—"Only If For A Night", "Never Let Me Go", "Heartlines" and "Spectrum"—at The Creators Project, a partnership between Vice and Intel, in Brooklyn's Dumbo neighbourhood on 15 October 2011.[6] They launched the album with an exclusive gig at the Hackney Empire in London on 25 October, which was live-streamed on The Guardian website. On 1 November, they performed "What the Water Gave Me" and "No Light, No Light" on the British music television show Later... with Jools Holland. On 6 November, the band made their first appearance on The X Factor, where they performed "Shake It Out" on the double elimination results show. "Shake It Out" was also performed on the Irish late-night talk show The Late Late Show (28 October), The X Factor Australia (15 November) and Good Morning America (21 November).

Singles Edit

"What the Water Gave Me" was released on 23 August 2011 as the first taster of Ceremonials. The single debuted at number 24 on the UK Singles Chart.[7] It saw moderate chart success elsewhere, reaching number 13 in Ireland, number 15 in New Zealand and number 35 in Australia.

"Shake It Out" was released as the album's official lead single on 30 September 2011. It premiered exclusively on XFM London on 14 September 2011. The song peaked at number 12 on the UK Singles Chart, becoming Florence and the Machine's fourth top-20 single.[8] Internationally, it reached number two on the Irish Singles Chart,[9] while charting inside the top 20 in Austria, New Zealand and Norway, the top 30 in Germany and Switzerland, the top 40 in Australia, and the top 50 in Sweden.[10]

"No Light, No Light" was released on 13 January 2012 as the second single from the album. The single reached number 63 on the UK Singles Chart.[11] The accompanying video, released on 18 November 2011, caused controversy after it was accused of racism due to its perceived use of blackface by an actor in the video, and was also criticised for its depiction of voodoo.[12]

"Never Let Me Go" was released on 30 March 2012 as the third single from the album. The music video was released on 7 March 2012. The track charted at number 82 in the UK,[13] while reaching number three in Australia, the band's highest-peaking single in that country to date.[14]

A remix of "Spectrum" by Scottish DJ and producer Calvin Harris, titled "Spectrum (Say My Name)", was released on 5 July 2012 as the album's fourth single. It became the band's first number-one single in both the UK and Ireland.[15][16]

"Lover to Lover" was released as the fifth and final single from the album on 30 November 2012. Directed by Vincent Haycock, the music video debuted on 19 November and features a new single version of the song.

Tour Edit

Main article: Ceremonials Tour Edit

To promote the album, Florence and the Machine embarked on their second worldwide tour titled the Ceremonials Tour on 13 October 2011. The set list includes songs from the band's two studio albums. The tour included numerous performances at music festivals as that is Welch's favourite way to perform live. During an interview with MTV News, Welch discussed the nature of the tour, saying, "In a way, it's not going to be too big a production; we've done a lot of quite extravagant stuff, and that's been amazing, but for this tour, it's definitely going to be about showcasing the music [...] The songs are going to be the most important thing. It will be heavily based on the music [...] no bells and whistles just yet, we're going to try and keep it quite pure." The tour ended in December 2012, after two years of worldwide touring.

Critical reception Edit

Ceremonials 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 75, based on 36 reviews. Laura Foster of Clash called the album a "confident, cohesive effort" and found that "[t]he steady hand of Paul Epworth on production has helped Florence to take the winning formula of her distinctive vocals and melodies, the twinkling harps and thundering drums, and augment it with string arrangements, subtle electro touches, and gospel choirs." Entertainment Weekly's Kyle Anderson praised it as a "confident, unflinching tour de force" and commented, "If her acclaimed 2009 debut, Lungs, was a scrappy shrine to survival and empowerment, its follow-up is a baroque cathedral, bedecked with ornate tapestries made of ghostly choirs, pagan-rhythmic splendor, and a whole lot of harp." AllMusic critic James Christopher Monger wrote, "Bigger and bolder than 2009's excellent LungsCeremonials rolls in like fog over the Thames, doling out a heavy-handed mix of Brit-pop-infused neo-soul anthems and lush, movie trailer-ready ballads that fuse the bluesy, electro-despair of Adele with the ornate, gothic melodrama of Kate Bush and Floodland-era Sisters of Mercy."[17]

Commercial performance Edit

Ceremonials debuted at number one on the UK Albums Chart, selling approximately 38,000 copies in its first two days of release and 94,050 copies altogether in its first week.[18] It fell to number three the following week, selling 58,278 copies.[19] On 2 December 2011, Ceremonials was certified platinum by the British Phonographic Industry (BPI), and by June 2015, it had sold 715,275 copies in the United Kingdom.[20]

The album also debuted at number one in Australia, Ireland and New Zealand, and was certified gold by the Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA) in its first week of sales.[21] It was ultimately certified triple platinum by the ARIA in early 2013, signalling shipments of 210,000 copies.[22] Selling 105,000 units in its opening week in the United States, Ceremonials entered the Billboard 200 at number six,[23] while debuting atop the Alternative Albums, Rock Albums, and Digital Albums charts. The album was certified platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) on 8 January 2015, and had sold 1,002,000 copies in the US by March 2015.[24]

Track listing Edit

No. Title Writer(s) Producer Length
1. "Only If for a Night"   Epworth 4:58
2. "Shake It Out"  
  • Welch
  • Epworth
Epworth 4:37
3. "What the Water Gave Me"  
  • Welch
  • Francis White
Epworth 5:33
4. "Never Let Me Go"  
  • Welch
  • Epworth
Epworth 4:31
5. "Breaking Down"   Welch Epworth 3:49
6. "Lover to Lover"  
  • Welch
  • White
Epworth 4:02
7. "No Light, No Light"  
  • Welch
  • Isabella Summers
Epworth 4:34
8. "Seven Devils"  
  • Welch
  • Epworth
Epworth 5:03
9. "Heartlines"  
  • Welch
  • Epworth
Epworth 5:01
10. "Spectrum"  
  • Welch
  • Epworth
Epworth 5:11
11. "All This and Heaven Too"  
  • Welch
  • Summers
Epworth 4:05
12. "Leave My Body"  
  • Welch
  • Epworth
Epworth 4:34

US deluxe edition and Japanese bonus tracks Edit

2012 digital deluxe edition bonus tracks Edit

References Edit