Florence Welch of Florence and the Machine, has just released her debut book, Useless Magic. Published under Penguin Random House and released yesterday, July 5th, this collection of personal poems, illustrations, and more is stunningly unique, and something you definitely don’t want to miss!
Image via Amazon
Florence and the Machine formed in 2007 in London, consisting of Florence Welch, Isabella Summers, and a blend of other guest artists and musicians. By 2009 they’d released their debut album, Lungs, packed with the popular chart toppers Dog Days Are Over, Kiss with a Fist, and You’ve Got the Love, and rapidly gained international fame.
Since the start of her career, Welch has always brought something entirely otherworldly to the table; her voice acting as an instrument all it’s own, on par with the voices of artists like Kate Bush or Björk, giving her music a dream-like quality and creating a sound you recognize as hers the moment you hear it. Her past work has had a much bigger instrumental sound (including the use of wind chimes, drumming on multiple surfaces, bells, electric guitars, etc.) while her newest release, High as Hope, feels more stripped-down and raw; her voice feels more conversational, her lyrics more poetic. This is also the first album on which Welch herself is listed as the producer.
Listening to this album feels more personal; Welch has been open about much of the lyrics deriving directly from poems and journal entries (Hunger smacks you right from the get-go with it’s opening line, as does Sky Full Of Song with the bridge “I thought I was flying but maybe I’m dying tonight“) creating a listening experience that feels completely relatable and entirely human.
And now, with the release of Useless Magic, Florence Welch has taken the full dive into letting us truly see her inner world. Reading this collection feels as though you’re reading someone’s journal filled with their direct and most personal thoughts; not to mention the mystical, ethereal quality Welch is famous for seems to pour from within the pages, giving the collection a prophetic-like feel.
Image via Amazon
This book is beautiful in how it shows someone as their most realistic, not-always-put-together self. Welch is open about her struggles with eating disorders, alcoholism, anxiety, and more; she writes of those who’ve hurt her, of the things she feels afraid of, of the things she feels ashamed for having done. There is no sugar-coating here, no rose colored glasses, nor smoke or mirrors. It’s the sort of work you’ll read and think, “oh my god, I’ve felt that way, too!”
Useless Magic is the more than simply another inside look at a successful artist and her musical process; it’s a look at someone in all of her graceless, messy, miserable, terrified, and fallible humanity. It’s clouded and scribbled and just so, completely gorgeous in how heartbreakingly relatable every word, note, poem, and illustration are. (Being a person is scary; none of us really have any idea what we’re doing or why we’re here or if we’re living our lives the way we were meant to, and Welch has been fearless in opening up about that.)
Image via Amazon
Watching an artist blend poetry with music, and openly speak about the power poems and writing and words can hold, is so exciting. I’m a big believer that reading poems and writing your own (in whatever way feels right) can cause you to grow, shift, change, and realize thoughts and you feelings you never knew you had. Poetry can sometimes tend to gain a bit of a bad reputation as something boring and difficult to understand because of the way many school systems teach us to read poems from a technical, as opposed to emotional, standpoint; it’s refreshing to see someone who holds such a powerful place in the mainstream media release poems; now fans of Welch who may not have necessarily considered themselves fans of poetry before will be buying and reading a book of poems, and that’s insanely cool. (This all part of the poetry-community’s plan to get everyone in the world to read poetry, obviously. We’re after a poetry-ruled world, baby!)
Useless Magic will allow you to see someone in an intimate light we are rarely granted. You don’t want to miss this, order here! Also, be sure to check out Florence Welch’s Instagram-based book club, Between Two Books, now!
…a prediction comes true and I couldn’t do anything to stop it, so it seems like a kind of useless magic.
Featured Image Via Marie Claire UK