Florist – If Blue Could Be Happiness
Released Sept. 29
Florist has been one of my favorite bands since I first heard their beautiful track ‘1914’. This is their second full album, the first one being The Birds Sang Outside, available on their bandcamp. This album is a huge step up from their last album as I feel they really developed their sound. They didn’t try and reinvent themselves, which mostly leads to disappointment among fans, but they took what makes them unique and utilized it. The whole album has motifs of lightness/darkness, color, and nature. This is reminiscent of their previous sound, but again shows growth from their past works, as the lyrics are still fresh.
The only things keeping this album from being a 7/7 are the songs lacking slightly in variation, no matter how much I love the soft guitars and the dual vocals and the beautiful lyrics AND the end of ‘If Blue Could Be Happiness’ drags on maybe thirty seconds too long.
Blue Mountain Road
This song opens with a simple guitar, reminiscent of Florist’s old music, such as songs like Cool and Refreshing, but already you can tell there is development since their older music. The dual vocal effect, which will continue throughout the album, is something not many artists utilize, especially singer/songwriter type music. The slight difference in the voices creates a chorus effect that sounds beautiful, especially with her soft vocals. This song sets up the themes and motifs of color and light/darkness that are present throughout the rest of the album, not just in the song titles, but also in the lyrics.
“Don’t be afraid I’m not going away I’m just keeping track of my mental state
Don’t be afraid is what I always say but I am afraid I’ve always been afraid”
What I Wanted to Hold
This song starts off with lyrics about “yellow light on the wall” and talks about childhood flashbacks and daydreams. This is similar to the lyrics in Vacation – things you thought you would want when you were older. This song has an amazing nostalgic feeling, calling back to places you’ve visited or homes you no longer live in. The string part heard throughout the second half of the song is new for Florist and sounds cool under their signature soft guitar and vocals. It works for them, especially in this song.
The Fear of Losing This
Another song that utilizes the dual vocals, this track is quite slow and beautiful. This song legitimately made me cry. It’s about acknowledging the temporary-ness of everything and coming to accept it and love it. The instrumental section is complimentary to the verses and they fit together quite well.
“Now every night I pray to the stars I say please give me love or please just give me strength”
The first thing one might notice about this song, if listening to the album in order, is the quarter notes on the kick drum. Rhythmically, this song might be the most structured on the album, because the rest use mostly guitars and bass to keep the rhythm, but this one is a bit more arranged. This song is quite good, until the latter half when they utilize song abstract sounds. I’m not sure if they were going for whale sounds, but it’s quite strange. This isn’t necessarily bad and it does offer some variation.
Eyes in the Sun
This song asks and answers the question “What does it means to be alive?” by the end of the track, so you could say a lot goes on in the 2 minutes and 37 seconds. She continues the motif of lightness and darkness on this track, again utilizing the dual vocals. This song has a gorgeous string arrangement, which compliments the sound of the tune well. The theme of nature in this track is very distinct and references back to Florist’s hometown of the Catskill Mountains.
“can you see the stars in your dreams? And do they have a lot to say about me? I speak to the trees before I sleep and I can hear you whisper back to me”
Hold up! This song has a snare drum! I think I just witnessed the first snare drum on this whole album. This in itself is awesome, but the lyrics, synth, and harp in addition are so beautiful. This song is about needing to leave home, but promising to come back. It talks about leaving to become better and then coming back and showing everyone how far you’ve come. This song references the Catskill Mountains directly and talks a lot about nature. It’d be a great traveling/road trip song. This song is my FAVORITE TRACK.
Thank You Light
You may have guessed by now, but a typical Florist sound consists of guitar backed by cool abstract synth pads. This song is no exception, except it’s a bit faster paced, adding some variation to the album; I think I can actually bop my head along to this one!
“Cut apart my living body and put it in your arms and take me to the creek that runs behind my yard and after all that running I’ll be ready to float down”
If Blue Could Be Happiness
One expects a lot from the title track of an album and this song doesn’t disappoint. This song sounds the most ‘full’ of any song on the album, utilizing instruments in the low, mid, and high frequency ranges, again adding a distinct sound to this song that differentiates it from the other songs. Again, the dual vocals have the coolest effect that I wish other artists would utilize, but it gives Florist a very distinct sound from other bands. The end of the song does drag on a bit, but I’ll forgive them.
I normally don’t like instrumental tracks on albums, but this one is short and sweet and adds to the overall feel of the end of the album. I don’t have much else to say about it.
To end the album, they have this track, which perhaps has the best lyrics of the whole album, and finishes off the album with the quintessential Florist sound. This track is very outdoors-y and continues motifs of nature that we see throughout the rest of the album. The chorus effect at the end of this song beautifully ends the entire album.
“And it only gets harder cause I only love you more when I’m looking for home”