Today’s Song: Florence and The Machine’s “Wish That You Were Here”

"Wish That You Were Here" - Florence and the Machine

The most impressive set of lungs in the industry have returned as Florence and the Machine release a new track for Tim Burton’s film, Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children (September 30th). This has been Florence’s second contribution to a soundtrack this year, having recently recorded three outstanding tracks for the Final Fantasy video game series.

While the Final Fantasy tracks have, so far, been the more commercial successful for the London band, “Wish That You Were Here” is without a doubt the more anticipated of the two for both fans of Burton and the band itself. Welch’s renowned, whimsical vocals and art-pop sound are a perfect backdrop for Burton’s infamous scenes of twisting trees, gloomy palettes and underworld aesthetic often captured in his films, making this one of the more interesting artistic collaborations of 2016.

Watch: “Wish That You Were Here” – Florence and the Machine


"Wish That You Were Here" - Florence and the Machine

“Wish That You Were Here” – Florence and the Machine

The film follows the journey of a young boy battling a world of evils after tragedy struck in his personal life. The song’s lyrics open up on the fear of loneliness and isolation, supported and enhanced by Welch’s skilful ability to take a theme and showcase it using just her voice. Florence Welch (lead vocalist), dominates the sound with her vocals as the sole instrument, aside from the booming percussion of every chorus for emphasis and that extra kick of power, making the track quite minimalist in style when it comes to the verses and opening, further adding to that running theme of isolation.

The track opens with a single chord; repeating itself over and over barely noticeable. This quiet sound sets up a stark contrast against Welch’s vocals when she eventually comes in, quiet but still powerful. In the build-up to the chorus, the iconic, stamping drumbeat of the Florence and the Machine sound greets us with a thumping build-up to the almighty chorus, yet still not even these drums can match the ferocity and power in her vocals. Even when immersed in the themes of despair and sadness, Florence and the Machine still manage to create something uplifting and strong with the help of soaring melodies and a continuous rhythm to keep the listener anchored.

Then something broke in me and I wanted to go home.

The lyrics only enhance this ballad, planting layers and layers of depth behind a beautiful track as Florence and the Machine delve into what it means t be lonely and living in constant fear of the world beyond your comfort zone. Taking this concept, they have managed to recreate the idea as not something to be fearful of, but something to celebrate in this ceremonious lament to battling our inner demons and coming out on top. This theme has appeared frequently in many of the band’s previous releases such as their critically-acclaimed debut album, Lungs and 2011 release Ceremonials. This single only further solidifies Florence Welch’s role in the industry as one of the most empowering contemporary female artists.

Slowing things down, the bridge of the song takes a dramatic turn as we revert back to the eerie opening of isolated vocals and intimate silence, coupled with the almost gospel, orchestral sound that is Florence and the Machine.

And now I’m reaching out with every note I sing,
And I hope it gets to you and whispers in your ear.

All these factors build up to a grande finale once again as Welch gets hell for leather with the final chorus. Your journey is ending with one final bang and all fears have successfully been conquered. This roaring conclusion goes hand in hand with the image of a courageous princess moments after she’s taken danger into her own hands and slain the dragon. A fiery finish to a truly spectacular track.

“Wish That You Were Here” flows from scene to scene, bringing you along on an adventure with just the song alone. It’s hard to imagine how impactful it will be when mixed with the cinematography and story-telling magnificence of Tim Burton. Hopefully, this will be chosen as a key track for the film rather than as a simple credit-roller. If placed correctly, this could meet all expectations for the impressive Burton/Florence collaboration everyone has been waiting for.

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Watch: “Wish That You Were Here” – Florence and the Machine

Christine is a freelance journalist from Ireland. A BritPop enthusiast and serial concertgoer who spends a good portion of her time writing long-winded Twitter analyses on the solo careers of ex-boyband members.