Like most Sensitive New Age Guys (henceforth: snags) with Jesus hair in the 90’s, I did the female vocalist thing (I saw Lilith Fair during its first tour in Montreal!) and spent time being madly in love with Sarah McLaughlin, Kate Bush, Tori Amos, Jann Arden, Kate Pearson, and… I don’t have time to go through the whole list.

Much like with the Led Zeppelin and Guns and Roses phases, the female vocalist phase passed as well… and, much like with the Zep and G&R, it didn’t completely go away. It just makes room. I’m always pleased, however, when I find something that reminds me of those old albums and occupies my brain for a week.

The new Florence + The Machine album, Ceremonials, has currently taken up residence in my brain.

The music (minus the vocals) reminds me of Annie Lennox’s stuff (I’ve flashed back to Medusa a couple of times while listening to this) and the voice reminds me of… don’t laugh, Celine Dion (except Celine Dion makes me think “she has all of the technical skill in the world, but she’s phoning it in” when she’s not going full-on Adult Contemporary and Florence makes me think that she actually means it when she puts it all out there).

The “Shake it Out” song is getting airplay now (I’m sure you’ve heard it… and if you haven’t, oh… are you in for a treat!):

This album has a lot going on, though. It flows and ebbs and swells and if you have a female vocalist phase behind you, you will feel these songs like you felt those. Here are two of my other favorites from the album (but, seriously, the whole thing is good).

See? Absolutely gorgeous. You should get Ceremonials and remember.

So that’s my recommendation for you this week.


Jaybird is Birdmojo on Xbox Live and Jaybirdmojo on Playstation's network. He's been playing consoles since the Atari 2600 and it was Zork that taught him how to touch-type. If you've got a song for Wednesday, a commercial for Saturday, a recommendation for Tuesday, an essay for Monday, or, heck, just a handful a questions, fire off an email to AskJaybird-at-gmail.com


  1. Speak for yourself. I still enjoy Sarah McLachlan’s first three albums, Dido, Jem, Goldfrapp, Imogen Heap, Natalie Merchant, Steve Jobs’ last contribution to pop culture (aka Feist) et al. The female voice is simply more appealing to me than the male.

    Spot on with the link between the music on Florence’s new stuff and Annie Lennox, although the women have very different voices.

      • Maaya Sakamoto for me. I’m a sucker for people who write their own songs (and know their own voices; hers doesn’t have fantastic range)

        • Don’t forget that a lot of the stuff in Cowboy Bebop was actually sung by Mai Yamane.

          • A lot of the stuff in Cowboy bebop was sung by mumbly joe and steve comte (who still can’t escape Japan, even after an earthquake. he tried, though.)

  2. I totally see what you mean about the Annie Lennox thing.

    One of the things I have really enjoying with female artists these days is all of the 60s & 70s retro stuff that’s coming out. I loved the Amy Winehouse Back to Black, but have been really loving a lot of the others. Some current faces on my playlists are:

    Noisettes – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KRFHiBW9RE8&ob=av2e

    Melody Gardot – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4Eb651s_o1Q

    Sharon Jones – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s0iGhFwZx6c

    April Smith & the Great Picture Show – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LPXu7grYRCc

    Eliza Doolittle – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lDkqTxv6ZRo

    Nellie McKay – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6q6HKiF83aI

    Anyway, I love this trend and hope it sticks around for a while.

  3. “Haunted” by Poe shows up in my mixtapes every so often. Also “Burnt Out Star” by The Verbs.

    Really, nobody sings a ballad like a woman.

      • I guess I’d allow that once in a while a man can sing a good ballad. Most of the time it just comes off as whiny, though. (Note that I don’t consider a love song to be a ballad, even though a love song might be about a lost love. And I freely admit that, here, I’m starting out with a desired goal and arranging facts to fit that picture.)

  4. I’m not really a SNAG, and I’ve never had Jesus hair but Florence and the Machine blow me away.

    • Thanks for giving me the final nudge I needed to pick up her album.

      I’m enjoying the heck out of it.

      • No problem. Once I get around to Vampire the Masquerade (it’ll be after Skyrim at the earliest, so it could take some time), I’ll get back to you on what I think of it.

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