Florence and the Machine released a sweeping, string-laden ballad, “Sky Full of Song,” on Thursday. The track will be available on April 21st, Record Store Day, as part of a 7″ single. It’s the first new track from Florence Welch’s band since 2016.
“Sky Full of Song” centers on Welch’s robust vocals. She sings almost a capella; when strings and piano enter, it’s with a soft throb so as not to detract from her vocals. Welch’s aggression and complex desires fill a space. “I was screaming at my father, and you were screaming at me/ I can feel your anger from way across the sea,” she sings. Then, on the bridge, she’s swallowed by ambivalence: “I thought that I was flying/ But maybe I’m dying tonight.”
In a statement, Welch said “Sky Full of Song” came to her “fully formed.” “Sometimes when you are performing you get so high, it’s hard to know how to come down,” she said. “There is this feeling of being cracked open, rushing endlessly outwards and upwards, and wanting somebody to hold you still, bring you back to yourself. It’s an incredible, celestial, but somehow lonely feeling.”
In the video for the song, directed by AG Rojas, Welch spends most of her time lying on the floor with her right hand outstretched. When not horizontal, she sits on her knees as if about to pray, singing as she gazes upwards.
Florence and the Machine’s last album, How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful, came out in 2015. It reached Number One on the Billboard albums chart.