By Courtney E. Smith
We’re half-way through 2015, so staff members at Radio.com are spending the next few days writing about our favorite songs of the year so far.
“Ship to Wreck” by Florence + the Machine is a Rorschach test of words, a breakup described in the language of a fever dream by a sea-captain. Killer whales swim all around and she’s Ahab-ing some kind of Moby Dick. It’s a song you have to listen to a dozen times to just figure out if she sung the words you think she sung, and what dozens of red-eyed mice have to do with the aggressive line, “Do you want more?”
That’s the wax and wane of her tone that makes this such a great song to my ears: the sarcasm dripping from Florence’s “darlings,” the hard hit on “teeth” followed by the lilting, drawn out sing on “sleep.” It sounds like you’re talking to someone who is only half-aware you’re in the conversation. And then the power behind her voice on every “wreck,” now that is the secret to creating an anthem that no one ever talks about. You’ve got to belt.
How many alt-rock songs lately have been piano driven? Not that many, which makes it stand out when you hear it on a playlist or on the radio. As someone who was forced (yes forced!) to take piano lessons as a child, I appreciate that. If you ever figure the lyrics out, you’ve also got to get past the downward chord progression that starts the song and decorates the chorus.