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Thursday, June 18, 2015 

A genuine question.

Has any other group as objectively rancid as Florence and the Machine managed to gain both commercial success and a pass from the critics?  The two other bands that came instantly to mind, Mumford and Sons, and Coldplay, don't really count as both have received the odd critical mauling and are sniggered about, if not to the extent of the mocking they receive elsewhere.  Plus, to be fair, Coldplay's first two albums aren't that bad.  Closest in fact might be Adele, but then I seem to be in the minority in finding her oeuvre (Rolling in the Deep excepted) insufferable.  Any suggestions?

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Florence Welch's stardom mystifies me more and more. Yes, she can belt it out, but that's about it - seeing her on Graham Norton the other week I noticed that her voice is really weedy & uncertain when she's not giving it the full elephant-seal-giving-birth treatment. She hasn't even got good material.

I've never seen a single negative comment about the Mumfords - other than from people who are actually into folk music - so that parallel may be better than you think.

Oh, there is much hate for the Mumfords, just google Bumford and Sons and you'll find it.

As for Florence, that's exactly it. Best example by far was her attempt to cover Halo by Beyonce - it is fingernails down the blackboard stuff.

This post was obviously triggered by her promotion to headlining Glastonbury with the Foo Fighters pulling out, not that they're much better either mind. I then remembered Kasabian headlined a few years back, although again, they have been subject to much mockery.

Not a band, but Taylor Swift? Can't do any wrong in the media's eyes over the last few years. All the fawning over 1989 last year was baffling.

Eh, she certainly does nothing for me, and Shake it Off is terrible (haters gonna hate, you could have been getting down to this sick beat) but I'm not sure she's quite as irredeemable as Florence, mainly because she personally isn't as irritating as her fans and said sycophants in the media. Point taken though. Beyonce also leaves me cold, and she's someone else nothing bad can be said about.

Don't know if I can answer your question, but yeah Florence & The PR Machine (as one online wag brilliantly put it) really is intolerable to me. It's not just the music or the flat out bellowing being used as a signifier of “passion”. What really gets me is the sight of the very comfortable upper middle class girl from South London (leafy Dulwich) putting on the "ooh, I'm so weird and arty, wooey wooey woo, let's go and hunt for some fairies" act. Besides she's not that deeply artistic when she has the usual coterie of stylists, designers, and video choreographer’s all offering assistance. Add to that that she quickly ran full on into the celebrity party circuit and the wholesome patronage of haut couture fashion designers. She took the dollar pretty quickly... All I see is another drama student raiding the dressing up box. Absolutely nothing more.

Sadly I think the shuffling of her into the Glastonbury headline slot will result in the kind of blind praise that you see so much of nowadays. I can see the headlines now, “Heroic, Triumphant, A Star Is Born etc”. Ugh! Nicky Wire was right. Build a flyover over the fucking thing.

Bands showered with a blind uncritical free pass? I never understood the Arctic Monkeys to be honest. Or The Strokes. Those suggestions make me sound the age I am, so I’ll settle for Royal Blood, who I just don’t get.

At the risk of sounding the “possible misogyny” klaxon I’d go for Rita Ora. The walking billboard and to me the perfect symbol of everything wrong with music and the music industry in the last few years. Her level of celebrity is far in excess of her musical and commercial achievements. I’d be amazed if there was a sponsorship or product placement deal she wouldn’t turn down. Or an envelope being opened she wouldn’t put in an appearance at. For a fee of course. And yet the critical silence is astounding. Would it possibly have anything to do with her being a Roc Nation client? Access to Beyonce, Kanye and Jay Z, but only if you provide a sympathetic platform for the rest of the B and C team? Nah. Couldn’t be.

If the truth of Watergate was “follow the money” then a lot of todays arts and culture circle jerk can be explained with “follow the management / agents”.

On a brighter note, this reminds me that at the end of the year we get your look back at the best and worst music, which is always a good read.

What annoys me most about Florence is Bat for Lashes does exactly what she does only with 20x more nuance and genuine artistry, and with a tenth, if that of the sales.

Can't agree on the Arctics I'm afraid. Their first album is rotten, definitely, but since they've grown into of our better bands I'd argue. The Strokes were mainly heralded because they came at a time when dance music was dominating, as it sort of is again now; their first album is good, after that, nothing there really. Royal Blood are unbelievably overrated; what they do, DFA 1979 do with far more wit and playfulness. Rita Ora, yes, completely ghastly; took over Jessie J's spot on the Voice, now going on the X Factor. What more is there to be said?

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