Florence And The Machine, ‘What The Water Gave Me’

Florence And The Machine, 'What The Water Gave Me'


The first track to emerge from her second album

It’s a blessed relief to hear some new Florence after ‘You Got The Love’ attained the kind of blanket ubiquity that had us itching to hear something, anything, from her Flojesty other than the Candi Staton cover. But what’s surprising is how bloody good ‘What The Water Gave Me’ is.

It begins clothed in the kind of gravity-defying 80s goth which calls to mind early Cure or Siouxsie And The Banshees. Before taking in Enya, freak folk-like chanting and Bat For Lashes “on one”.

So what did the water give her? Some annoyingly frizzy hair and the slight smell of damp? No, lyrically she’s reclaiming her position as Queen of the (rather posh, it must be said) Hippie Goddesses.

With references to the sun, stones and Atlas the song is an ode to the ominous inhabitants of Flora and Fauna-ville. In this week’s NME, she said that the track is about “children who are swept out to sea, and their parents go in after them and try to rescue them.”


Vocally, the track is a lesson in restraint for the singer, who’s known for her clarion-like vocals. It’s not until the closing moments that she goes for it full pelt. Up until that point, she’s trying out her new, softly-softly vocal style which trills like she’s trying out her best Liz Fraser or Harriet Wheeler from The Sundays.

The track builds into the kind of re-affirming epic that anyone would be proud of. A great way to follow up ‘Lungs’. We think it’s a winner.

Florence And The Machine, ‘What The Water Gave Me’ – fans react

Florence + The Machine – What The Water Gave Me on MUZU.


Director: Paul Epworth
Record label: Island
Release date: 14 Nov, 2011