Out For Blood: A Singles Review of Florence + The Machine’s “Mermaids”


Female Rage season is upon us and Florence is out for blood


A haunting and confident offering from Florence + The Machine, destined to be a new soundtrack for those on the warpath

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Originally a incomplete demo from the album ‘Dance Fever’, ‘Mermaids’ has now been released with passion and purpose.

Florence has been teasing the release of ‘Mermaids’ on social media through a series of theatrical vignettes. Set to this new song, we find Florence drinking tankards of ‘blood’ in London pubs, fixedly marching across graveyards with overcast grey skies, and submerging herself in a bathtub drowning in leafy plants, giving the appearance of Ophelia with a full mermaid tail and long flowing red hair. With the release of these clips, the teasing of this new single has contributed a haunting, otherworldly anthem to this generation of women’s increasing appetite for representations of female rage. And now, ‘Mermaids’ is here.

via Autumn de Wilde

I love sinister music. I like songs you can daydream about bringing your enemies down to while stuck on a bus in Monday evening traffic. This song truly delivers. Florence describes the track as a mythology laden lovesong to drunk English girls, describing them as beautiful sirens that come to shore to drink and dance, at the small cost of sacrificing a human heart. ‘Mermaids’ is rich with anger, sensuality and an exploration of the darker aspects of womanhood, describing girls craving connection and to be desired, drinking themselves to ‘cheerful oblivion‘ in the pursuit of feeling this as intensely as you can manage. The lyric “You haven’t seen nothing ’til you’ve seen an English girl drink.” reflects on the cultural pride this country holds in drinking, before touching on the uncomfortable dark side that can often lie behind it.

via Duncan Barnes

The song begins with Florence reflecting on seduction, tinged with dark intentions, “I thought that I was hungry for love, maybe I was just hungry for blood”, sung with soaring vocals. A sinister marching rhythm of orchestral brass then sets the pace  to a story of beautiful, bloodthirsty sirens, dancing undetected within English nightlife. In this track, Florence alludes to troubling elements within her journey to sobriety, something which she has discussed with crowds in her recent ‘Dance Fever’ tour. Celebrating 9 years of sobriety, Florence has described a loneliness in fighting against substance addiction especially while on tour. We see this in the lyrics “I remember falling through these streets, somewhat out of place if not for the drunkenness. It makes my chest ache to think of it, not of regret, but missing that cheerful oblivion.” This highlights the heart of the battle towards self-care, knowing the complexity of how some experiences can make you feel, and then keeping yourself from ever experiencing them again. On a deeper level, this song describes both a desire for connection and a lack of control, tinged with power and anger.

Whilst it is not as instrumentally standout as other offerings from Florence and the Machine, the tracks this band continues to release are the diamond standard for introducing a powerful, ethereal escapism from normal life. There is no-one out there quite like them, and may they keep delivering.

‘Mermaids’ is out now via Polydor. You can listen to it here:


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