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Ceremonials [2 LP]

4.7 out of 5 stars 502 customer reviews

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  • Ceremonials [2 LP]
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Editorial Reviews

Vinyl LP pressing. 2011 sophomore album from the British band led by singer/songwriter Florence Welch. Ceremonials is a stunningly accomplished record by an artist teetering on the wind-blown top of her game, an extraordinary testament to what Florence refers to as "my incorrigible maximalism". The pounding epiphanic positivism of `Spectrum'; the galloping massed-ranks majesty of `All This And Heaven Too' and `Shake It Out'; the triumphant emotional battle cries of `No Light No Light' and `Heartlines'. Spend a little time with Ceremonials and what strikes you first and foremost is the apparent confidence of its execution. Recorded with her full band over five weeks this summer in Abbey Road's legendary Studio 3, Ceremonials is another product of her long-running collaboration with producer Paul Epworth. Together they've created an expansive art-pop vision that can be both captivatingly tender while still frequently soaring to places where it can overwhelm the senses like an emotive tidal wave.
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Digital Booklet: Ceremonials
Digital Booklet: Ceremonials
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Product Details

  • Vinyl (November 8, 2011)
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Label: Republic
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (502 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #9,738 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
Ceremonials is a *really* great album.

When I was a teenager, I used to sit in my bedroom for hours and listen to music. Sometimes I'd draw, sometimes I'd do homework, sometimes I'd read, but listening to music was the primary activity. As I have gotten older, less and less music has inspired me to devote my full attention to it. Now music has become more of an accompaniment to my life, a sort of background thing.

Florence + The Machine changed that- when "Lungs" first came out, it took back my whole attention. Every time I heard it, I found something new. Every few weeks, my favorite parts of the album would change. I'm still listening to it all the time.

Now I feel EXACTLY the same way about "Ceremonials"- I can't stop listening to it, every time I do I hear something new, and several of the songs give me goosebumps. When I'm away from it, I sing the songs to myself and get excited about being able to turn it back on again. It's sort of like a place I want to keep visiting- I know that sounds hokey, but it's been so long since I've felt so excited about music, I am kind of giddy about it.

As a whole, "Ceremonials" is a bit darker than "Lungs"- there's less twinkling of the harp (don't get me wrong, there is still plenty of beautiful harp!), less hopeful whispering about happiness, but in its place are soaring moments of Florence Welch's FULL voice (she's a powerhouse) and range. Wow.

If you liked "Lungs" at all, then I would absolutely recommend "Ceremonials". There's no doubt that Welch is the exception to the rule when it comes to the second album curse- this is the perfect followup to "Lungs" and not only does it sound perfectly right, it also *feels* perfectly right. It's dreamy and bittersweet and sweeping and epic.

I highly highly recommend this album.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I was almost worried that Florence wouldn't be able to follow up on her absolutely perfect debut, but listening to the album (For the 6th time now) all of my fears have been eradicated. Absolutely stunning vocals and lyrics swell beautifully with dark, haunting, and exciting music, with the instrumentation flowing so perfectly into the songs!

This album easily tops Lungs' stunning sound and expands upon it. If you loved Lungs, you will love this even more, of this I have little doubt.

Only If For A Night - A stunning opener, which starts off softly with 'And I had a dream/about my my old school/and she was there all pink and gold and glittering', and those three lines just leave me feeling nostalgic already, as Florence thinks about her past. The music swells into the wonderful chorus, making this song the perfect opener.

Shake It Out - The second single released thus far, and lots of fun to listen to. A far more 'dancy' tune then some of the others, even with the really dark lyrics. The deep organ sound at the start really carries the song along. 'It's always darkest before the dawn...' Florence calls, as the song picks up, and the song's central thought it revealed, albeit through an exciting tune. Great song.

What the Water Gave Me - The first single, and possiblity my favorite Florence track of all time. The song, at over 5:30 long, is a winding stunner, as Florence croons about drowning herself 'Cuz they took your loved ones, but will return them in exchange for you'. She explains why she must die, and that 'she's a crueler mistress, and a bargain must be made'. Powerful lyrics, powerful vocals, haunting melodies, and amazing music tops my music list for quite awhile.
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Format: MP3 Music
For years I have always been wary of buying the 2nd album of an artist that I have fallen in love with because usually the 2nd album is a let down in more ways than one so now I rarely purchase the 2nd album after sampling the songs. With Florence + the Machine, I listened to the B-sides and didn't find any song that I liked which was sad since I absolutely LOVED every song on the first album.

So naturally I was expecting not to enjoy Ceremonials and it wasn't until I saw the video for "Shake It Out" and listened to the song that I became excited about the album. I sampled all the songs and noticed that although they were good, they were a bit different but I took the chance and downloaded the album anyway.

I must say that at first, there were only about 2 or 3 songs I liked immediately and they were Bedroom Hymns, No Light No Light, and Shake It Out. The rest of the songs didn't actually hit me until later because while I was listening to the album, I was craving Florence's voice that she belted out in Lungs but in this album, though she sounds magnificent, you don't get to hear her as well. In other words, with Lungs, it was as if Florence led the music but with Ceremonials, it's as if the music is leading Florence.

I've had the album for a week and I must say that I love it just as much as I did Lungs and there are songs that I listen to over and over again. But the only thing that is a let down (and a very small one) is the fact that due to all the instruments and choirs and back-up singers, you don't get to hear that AMAZING SULTRY voice that was the staple in Lungs.

If I had never heard Lungs and had only heard Ceremonials, I would think that Florence Welch was a pretty good singer.
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