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on January 11, 2012
My son in college played me a couple Florence tracks in the car. Based on those, I bought both her CDs (Lungs and this one) at the same time.

I read the low reviews regarding Ceremonials on this site before the purchase, and had my doubts. Being the 48 year old grumpy misanthropic guy that I am, rarely am I touched in any deep way by modern musical efforts. I prepared for some level of disappointment.

Sure, there are a couple tracks that, for whatever reason, don't speak to me as strongly. But my God - the many wonderful moments of brilliance on this CD are overwhelming.

Sometimes in life you come across a thing of such pure beauty, such unmitigated connective joy that it leaves you breathless. "Heartlines" is precisely this sort of item.

Florence and the Machine have given us all a precious gift.

The last time I felt this way was the first time I heard Mary Fahl sing.

Conclusion - get the bloody CD. Worth every penny.
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on June 16, 2015
i love music! Always have, always will and my taste in music is wide ranging from rock to hip hop to latin and every decade from like the 60s through current music. I was introduced to Florence + The Machine by my younger brother back when "Lungs" was released and I immediately fell in love. This is seriously like the perfect album to listen to on my "dark" days when I need a good brooding album. Seriously, this is one of the best second album releases; I cannot even describe the passion and power that Florence exudes. If you loved "Lungs," make sure you get this album!!!
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on December 28, 2011
"Ceremonials" by Florence + the Machine is definitely one of the best albums of 2011. Florence Welch and that stunning, out-of-this-world voice of hers finally won me over when I heard "No Light, No Light" on the radio. It's hard to believe how that song makes me feel so many complexed emotions, and goes through so many different layers. Starts off real quiet and hits you right in the gut once the chorus kicks in...amazing! I knew I just had to buy "Ceremonials", and her debut album "Lungs" and I'm so glad I did! The deluxe edition is worth every penny! There is not one bad song on this album, every track is full of passion, longing, guilt, and there are even songs about death. "Leave My Body" is about wanting to die but the music and lyrics are so sexy and hypnotic, you don't know whether to cry or to smile? "Seven Devils" is a haunting song and I have to admit, parts of it scare me! That's what is so special about "Ceremonials" - Florence pulls you in, you believe every word she sings. The best track by far is the opener, "Only If For A Night". Musically, it's one of the most provocative songs I've heard all year! "Spectrum", "Heartlines", "Bedroom Hymns", and "Breaking Down" are standouts as well but like I said, every song is a gem! I highly recommend this album and white girl got some soul on "Lover to Lover". You have to hear it to believe it...enjoy!
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on September 28, 2014
This group really has a unique sound. They have enough pop to keep the drones entertained but have the uniqueness to capture the interest of musicians. Florence's lyrics and singing always paint a picture that could be perceived different by everyone. This album is just as good as Lungs. Some tunes to note. Shake It Out is an uplifting song that is great to listen to if you have a lot on your mind. Musically and lyrically it is inspirational. Breaking Down is a deep rhythmic song that takes you on a cerebral journey. It is great if your mind needs to wonder into the ambiance of good music. Lastly No Light, No Light again could have multiple meanings. It is just a great tune.
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on November 24, 2011
When describing the album Lungs I think of dark almost gothic undertones and pounding drum beats. That, or you have ethereal and vulnerable moments as you do in the song "Cosmic Love". Ceremonials is the yang to the yin offering light to whatever haunts you. The two albums are different when it comes to the mood they offer and I can understand why some people might be dissapointed by the lack of "shadows" in this album. Or the lack of a certain "feeling" that Lungs genertated. Ceremonials for the most part is uplifting, almost spiritual; in the song "Shake it out" Florence tells us that its hard to dance with the devil on your back, so shake him off. Some songs have an almost choir like quality with multiple voices for the chorus. What you can expect from Ceremonials is the continued quality of Florence's voice, dramatic instrumentals punctuated by percussion, and that certain magic thats so unique to this artist. I am incredibly partial to the album Lungs and I believe my fierce love for it makes me more biased towards anything new. However there are worth while songs in Ceremonials and you can bet the live performances will rock you off your feet. By now you might be wondering if Ceremonials is better than Lungs... I dont think that it is, however I dont think you should miss it either.
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on November 7, 2011
Ceremonials is about pushing through a new vision with the power of a locomotive. New found lyrics that punctuate the songs like Muhammad Ali floating like a feather and stinging like a bee. New depth and imagery transcending the entire album with the energized perfection of a rapidly maturing and confident artist who is coming into her full measure of power. Unlike previous work, Ceremonials is layered with heavier visions that stand alone and sound out a clarion call to attain a full measure of understanding independent and thoughtfully measured and beautifully considered. Florence Welch is a haunting soul that's so inescapable in her wonder once you've become wrapped in her spells you never want to leave her, and she never does. There is less heartbreak and vulnerability in Ceremonials, it's more of a celebration of discovery of growing into new layers of skin and textures of the soul and consciousness while being authentic and true to oneself unafraid. Bold and relevant, natural and effort laden with intensity that penetrates the listener through every atom of our being, becoming part of us and walking along side us long after the last note of the last song has been heard.
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on November 26, 2011
The sophomore offering by Florence Welch and mates are a testament of the band's maturity over just two years since Lungs. While Lungs was grand and cosmic, Ceremonials is darker, mature and definitely soaring. There are many references to religion, beautifully written and performed hauntingly by Florence. Once she sings, one's emotions fluctuate as she delivers each song wholeheartedly. I especially like Never Let Me Go, a song about dying and how it liberates. Shake It Out is an intense song about leaving your emotional baggages behind and movin' on. Then there's the opener Only If For A Night, Heartlines, Spectrum, All This and Heaven and What The Water Gave Me. Every song on the album speaks for itself. The bonus track, Remain Nameless, sounds almost like across between Bjork and Depeche Mode until Florence adds her stirring touch. A strong contender for the album of the year.
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on January 28, 2012
I was so excited to learn that Florence + the machine was releasing another album! After thoroughly enjoying their first 2 releases (Lungs, and Lungs-the b-sides),I snatched this one up the day it was released on Amazon. And it did not disapoint. Compared to their first album, this one has more slow gorgeous "ballad" type songs, with a good mix of upbeat tracks as well. The harps and keyboards are more in the backround than they are on the first album, but you don't really notice because the focus is on Florence's voice.
I believe this stayed in the cd player in the car for a month (maybe two) straight when first obtained before I was ready to listen to something else.

Favorites on this album are:

Never let me go
No light, no light
Leave my body
Remain Nameless
Strangeness and Charm
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on November 1, 2011
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.

Never Let Me Go - The beginning of the track confused me for a minute, before I really started getting into this one. A rather slow one from Florence, opening with a soft piano track and only faint drums to carry it along, alongside loads of harmony from Florence, and a loving, sweeping chorus.

Breaking Down - Starts with what sounds like a harpsichord, with a bouncy drum track, and never lets up from there. I was reluctant at first, but the harpsichord sounds proved addicted, and I'm really loving this song now. The echoing sound from Florence's voice in this one is wonderful!

Lover to Lover - Easily one of the most dance-worthy songs on the album, it sounds quite a lot like an old gospel song, which Florence's giant voice fills perfectly. The jazzy piano and the clever harmonies work wonders.

No Light, No Light - The opening of this one really kept me on my toes, as I had no idea where this one was going. The verses are so different from the chorus, but they work together wonderfully, in a big, open-space, song.

Seven Devils - Oh my god, one of the most haunting songs I've ever heard. One of my favorites. The lilting, creepy, fearful edge of the piano and strongs, conbined with a urgent sense in Florence's voice equates to one of the most stunning songs on here.

Heartlines - An aching song of what seems like some sort of love, as Florence sings over a thrumming bass line and pounding drums, with a sparkle of harp on the edges. The powerful chorus is just amazing!

Spectrum - Opening with a soft humming high violin note, as Florence sings softly over the soft music. Florence's wodnerful voice really shows its range, as we move into the throbbing chorus, settling down as the song moves to a close.

All This and Heaven Too - A quicker song, opening with sparse intrumentals, before moving into a driving chorus, as the background vocalless singing carries the song beautifully.

Leave My Body - Opens creepily, and when Florence begins to sing, the song continues the almost creepy edge, but cools off a bit, intul we pull into the haunting chorus, as Florence croons 'I'm gonna leave my body, I'm gonna lose my mind...'

Remain Nameless - Opens with a deep bass line, computerized drum beats, and echoing, haunting vocals. Sparse intrumentation, with a creepy drive the entire time, as Florence sings about how she wishes to 'remain nameless... Live without shame...". The music keeps to a stready thrum in the background during much of the song, focusing mostly on Florence's vocals and lyrics. This one has a great dance beat though, and really manages to be amazing.

Strangeness and Charm - Relentless voice, relentless music. Just plain fun, with a driving beat, loads of vocals, and a sweeping chorus. I'm glad I got the bonus tracks, especially because of this.

Bedroom Hymns - Really fun beat at the start, with a distorted electric guitar. Florence's vocals come in quickly, and carry the song on a long jaunty path. Definently has a religious feel to the song, as Florence sings about 'Jesus on the mind', and how she's 'already on her knees', as the song sweeps forward.

What the Water Gave Me (Demo) - A really interesting version of What the Water Gave Me. It starts with more of a synthesized song, instead of the sweeping music in the actual version, that makes this version sound more like a techno remix rather then a Demo. Fun nevertheless, but this one actually puts the emphasis on the chorus rather then the verses, which the actual song does in reverse.

Overall an amazing album. I'm so happy with it, and believe this is my favorite album this year.
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on April 30, 2012
so, im fairly new to florence and the machine, and wanted to test the waters with them because i had heard alot about them, and was very curious, so i bought both their albums, and im sooo glad i did, because now im seriously hooked!!... i absolutley am in love with this particular album, and like it alot better than lungs... florence welch is a truly beautiful woman with deep, powerful, thought prevoking etheral lyrics that one can relate to... i love how dark this album is as well... my two most favorite tracks on this album are "heartlines" and "all this and heaven too".... they are both so powerful lyrically and have awesome beats... i have now found a favorite band, and hope they contiune to release much more awesome music in the not so distant future... i highly reomend this band to anyone...
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