Wednesday, 18 July 2012

Notes On Number Ones: Florence + The Machine - Spectrum

Florence + The Machine - Spectrum

This is quite interesting. Neither Florence or her Machine are particularly accustomed to the higher reaches of the singles chart. She'd come close to topping it before, with 'You've Got The Dirtee Love' peaking at Number 2, but had otherwise failed to make the Top 10 in 11 attempts.

Things have been different on the album chart - her debut 'Lungs', released three years ago, was a Number One and hasn't left the Top 100 since, selling over 1.5 million copies. Similar things were expected of the follow-up, 'Ceremonials'. Released in November, it debuted at the top, but hasn't sold anywhere the levels 'Lungs' did. Similarly, the singles from it have not exactly performed brilliantly, with only two of four making the Top 40, and only one having any real staying power.

So there's a sense that someone, somewhere has decided that things need to improve. And how, on a fifth single, do you go about that? Rope in Calvin Harris for a remix. It's very pleasant, if a bit by numbers.

Be under no illusion though. This was not a cynical move, purely designed to get Florence a hit and hopefully revive flagging album sales. No, she sought him out because "he has that blend of euphoric and melancholic which as an artist he has managed to perfect", so her intentions can only have been honourable.

This all suggests some 'intriguing' things about both act's respective careers at the moment. Florence, paragon of Real Music and Radio 1 figurehead, feeling the need to jump on someone else's bandwagon doesn't really reflect all that well on her. And does this mark the peak of Calvin Harris' imperial phase? In less than a year he's had three Number Two singles and been credited on two Number Ones, as well as producing another for Cheryl Cole. Chances are his next release, 'We'll Be Coming Back' (featuring another man on top of his game, Example) will also go straight to the summit when it's released on July 30, so he probably has more to come.

Despite what the crediting would have you believe, this song's success is mainly down to Calvin. Though it looks like a boon for Florence's future, the reality might be closer to the opposite.

These Are The Facts
Sales 64,816 (17th highest for a new Number One from 19 this year)  Chart 'Run' 104-1  
Airplay Chart 25 TV Airplay Chart 17 1201st UK Number One
Sources: This, this and this

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