Since the 2009 release of the hit song “Dog Days Are Over,” Florence Welch of Florence and the Machine has received immense praise. Her band has gone on to release four albums and they are just as unstoppable as they were ten years ago.
Florence and the Machine released two new songs, “Moderation” and “Haunted House,” on Thursday Jan. 24. This new material marks a quick turnaround as the band’s most recent full-length album, High As Hope, was released just seven short months ago.
“Moderation” is recognizably a song by Florence and the Machine, but it does have a different feel from the last album and past songs.
This song is more aggressive because it lacks the soothing background of harps that are featured on most of the band’s work, opting instead for stronger instrumentals throughout the song. Since it was recorded while the band worked on High As Hope, it didn’t make the cut for the album.
Welch discussed “Moderation” in an interview on Friday Jan. 25 conducted by Zane Lowe for BBC.
“It was one of those instant songs but didn’t fit with the theme of the record [bcause] I knew I wasn’t writing a relationship record,” Welch said. “It’s about reaching outwards and being cross that someone can’t give you what you want, but the chorus came from a childhood memory of being told off in church.”
“Moderation” might be described as a love song but calling it an anti-love song would perhaps be more fitting. With lines like “You think you need it / You think you want love / You wouldn’t want it if you knew what it was,” Welch is warning her younger self that love isn’t as simple as it looks.
Welch recalls being young and in church, conjuring images of a little girl receiving unsolicited advice at an age when romantic love isn’t even present.
The song title speaks to the difficulty in moderating how much of something—specifically love—a person ought to give to others. Some love too much, some love too little.
For Welch, it is “all or nothing,” according to the song. Love is complicated; it isn’t easy to manage the emotions that come with it regardless of one’s ability to moderate the amount of energy put into a relationship.
The B-side of “Moderation” is “Haunted House,” which is calmer than its sister song. “Haunted House” is also substantially shorter, coming in at one minute and 54 seconds. The song is hauntingly beautiful, showcasing Welch’s endless vocal abilities.
Her vocals are more isolated in this song than in “Moderation.” Despite the differences between the songs, both focus on the overarching theme of love.
Welch describes her heart as a “haunted house” filled with “things in there that scratch about.” Welch sings of the feeling of being trapped and unable to move on from the past, repeating “I’m not free at all” in the chorus.
Both songs are a surprise to listeners because they take the band’s lyrics and music in a new direction. “Haunted House” is a peaceful song to drift off to sleep late at night while “Moderation” is the type of song to wake you up in the morning, leaving listeners feeling powerful and unstoppable.
Each song is intimate and personal, allowing people to relate to them. It wouldn’t be wise to expect a new album any time soon, but maybe these songs are a taste of what is yet to come from Florence and the Machine in the future.