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MTV Presents Unplugged: Florence + The Machine - Florence + The Machine

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Genre: Indie Rock & Punk / Artist: Florence & The Machine / CD / Audio CD released 2012-04-09 at Universal / Island

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      21.08.2012 08:51
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      Live album from Florence + the Machine

      It's common for artists at some point in their careers to record an 'Unplugged' set for MTV - a live, stripped down selection of their songs. One of the latest artists to do this was Florence + The Machine, and as a fan, I purchased this album, out earlier this year.

      There are two versions of the product available: one CD with a DVD included and one CD only, which is the one I have. It currently costs £6.99 from Amazon, which is where I purchased it.

      The CD consists of eleven tracks recorded during the set. There is a heavy bias towards her most recent studio album Ceremonials: six out of the eleven are from that CD. Drumming Song, Cosmic Love and Dog Days Are Over are taken from Florence's first album Lungs, while two cover versions - Try A Little Tenderness and Jackson - add some variety. It's perhaps natural to focus on more recent songs but it's a bit of a shame not to hear some of her other earlier tracks.

      Florence's songs are often dramatic or loud, but here they are stripped down to basics: soaring orchestral arrangements give way to gentle piano and more subtle effects. This works incredibly well on some tracks, such as the haunting Only If For A Night and Never Let Me Go, where the beautiful melodies are able to stand out, but less effectively on others such as Drumming Song, which sounds rather odd without the trademark drums. In general the CD is more relaxing than the studio albums, and it's interesting to hear different versions of some of my favourite songs.

      The first (and only) time I saw Florence live, I wasn't impressed: it was at the Blur gig in Hyde Park in 2009, and I hadn't heard much of her stuff. All she seemed to do was stand on stage and wail. She's much improved since then: her vocals aren't perfect, and you can tell she's singing live, but she can hold a tune and a note (a bit too much so, at the end of Try A Little Tenderness), and her voice is distinctive, strong, yet often ethereal. The stripped-down nature of the songs allow her voice to really shine, rather than be overpowered by the music.

      I do like Florence's dramatic, loud and over the top music, and in some ways it's a shame that the drama has been lost on this recording. Having said that, I enjoy hearing the songs in new ways, and they sound more raw and atmospheric. I would recommend this CD both to fans, and to non-fans who would prefer 'quieter' versions of many of the famous songs.

      Track Listing
      1. Only If For A Night
      2. Drumming Song
      3. Cosmic Love
      4. Breaking Down
      5. Never Let Me Go
      6. Try A Little Tenderness
      7. No Light No Light
      8. Jackson (feat. Josh Homme)
      9. What The Water Gave Me
      10. Dog Days Are Over
      11. Shake It Out

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    • Product Details

      Disc #1 Tracklisting
      1 Only If For A Night
      2 Drumming Song
      3 Cosmic Love
      4 Breaking Down
      5 Never Let Me Go
      6 Try A Little Tenderness
      7 No Light No Light
      8 Jackson (feat. Josh Homme)
      9 What The Water Gave Me
      10 Dog Days Are Over
      11 Shake It Out