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Useless Magic: Lyrics and Poetry

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Lyrics and never-before-seen poetry and sketches from the iconic vocalist of Florence and the Machine Songs can be incredibly prophetic, like subconscious warnings or messages to myself, but I often don't know what I'm trying to say till years later. Or a prediction comes true and I couldn't do anything to stop it, so it seems like a kind of useless magic.


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Lyrics and never-before-seen poetry and sketches from the iconic vocalist of Florence and the Machine Songs can be incredibly prophetic, like subconscious warnings or messages to myself, but I often don't know what I'm trying to say till years later. Or a prediction comes true and I couldn't do anything to stop it, so it seems like a kind of useless magic.

30 review for Useless Magic: Lyrics and Poetry

  1. 4 out of 5

    Kai

    ”I guess I won't write poetry I'll just stare at my phone for fucking eternity” a mood

  2. 4 out of 5

    Amalia Gkavea

    ‘’Songs can be incredibly prophetic, like subconscious warnings or messages to myself, but I often don’t know what I’m trying to say till years later. Or a prediction comes true and I couldn’t do anything to stop it, so it seems like a kind of useless magic.’’ Florence Welch Important information: My mother has been successfully initiated to Florence coven. Mission accomplished. Who wouldn’t fall in love with this outstanding book? A sublime piece of Art by a unique artist. Florence Welch is l ‘’Songs can be incredibly prophetic, like subconscious warnings or messages to myself, but I often don’t know what I’m trying to say till years later. Or a prediction comes true and I couldn’t do anything to stop it, so it seems like a kind of useless magic.’’ Florence Welch Important information: My mother has been successfully initiated to Florence coven. Mission accomplished. Who wouldn’t fall in love with this outstanding book? A sublime piece of Art by a unique artist. Florence Welch is like an elf, a witch, a fairy, an Ophelia straight out of the paintings of Pre-Raphaelite artists. A songwriter and poet, inspired by mythology, Art, Literature. By life itself. So, let us leave the word to her… There’s a ghost in my mouth And it talks in my sleep Wraps itself around my tongue As it softly speaks Then it walks, then it walks Then it walks with my legs (“I’m Not Calling You a Liar’’) Now there’s no holding back, I’m ready to attack My blood is singing with your voice, I want to pour it out. The saints can’t help me now, the ropes have been unbound I hunt for you with bloodied feet across the hallowed ground (“Howl”) And oh, poor Atlas The world’s a beast of a burden You’ve been holding up a long time And all this longing And the ships are left to rust That’s what the water gave us ( ‘’What the Water Gave Me’’) And now all your love will be exorcized And we will find new saints to be canonized It’s an evensong It’s a litany It’s a battle cry It’s a symphony (“Seven Devils”) Oh the queen of peace Always does her best to please It isn’t any use Somebody’s got to lose Like a long scream Out there always echoing Oh what is it worth When all that’s left is hurt (“Queen of Peace”) I’m worried we are entering an age of rage Where only anger will be considered an asset And the gentle will be mocked, then eaten. Those with soft voices will have their tongues cut out, As punishment for not using them the right way. Don’t you know your words are weapons, Kindness is obsolete, As obsolete as handwriting, As obsolete as silence and darkness in a city. (“Rage”) Now, if this poem isn’t the truest mirror reflecting our screaming society and the mob of the Twitter rebels, hiding behind a screen and dreaming revolutions while sitting comfortably on their sofas, eating pizza, I don’t know what is… ‘’I don’t know what makes a song a song and a poem a poem: they have started to bleed into each other at this stage, You can have everything.’’ See photos of this glorious book on my blog: https://theopinionatedreaderblog.word...

  3. 4 out of 5

    Laura

    Florence Welch has been such an important person in my life for years now. Her music is one of a kind, her words full of meaning that can left you feeling so full or so empty. Everything is full force or simmering within your veins. I love it all.

  4. 5 out of 5

    ✘✘ Sarah ✘✘ (former Nefarious Breeder of Murderous Crustaceans)

    ➽ And the moral of this reread is: Saint Florence please pray for us puny mortals. (Florence Welch prayer candle available for sale here. A joke this ain't not.) [April 2019] I want to be Florence Welch when I grow up. “I make songs to tie people to me, With a ribbon of fantasy around their necks Such a beautiful bow That I hold in my fist. And will not let go.” · Drumming Song · How Big How Blue How Beautiful · Big God · You’ve Got the Dirtee Love · Dog Days Are Over · Cosmic Love · Delilah · Rabbit ➽ And the moral of this reread is: Saint Florence please pray for us puny mortals. (Florence Welch prayer candle available for sale here. A joke this ain't not.) [April 2019] I want to be Florence Welch when I grow up. “I make songs to tie people to me, With a ribbon of fantasy around their necks Such a beautiful bow That I hold in my fist. And will not let go.” · Drumming Song · How Big How Blue How Beautiful · Big God · You’ve Got the Dirtee Love · Dog Days Are Over · Cosmic Love · Delilah · Rabbit Heart · Patricia · Never Let Me Go · St Jude · Shake It Out · Howl · Hunger · Queen of Peace ·

  5. 5 out of 5

    kimberlina

    florence welch is my wiccan gf

  6. 5 out of 5

    Harry McDonald

    ((God knows how I managed to acquire a copy of this a week before its publication fate – bought it at the same time as I bought the latest album, High as Hope. Foyles on Charing Cross Road had a few rogue copies out so I bought one before they realised what they’d done.)) Useless Magic is the first collection of writings (verses?) from Florence Welch, most notable for being the frontwoman of Florence + The Machine. She’s often acclaimed for her vocals, and the band is often praised for the brilli ((God knows how I managed to acquire a copy of this a week before its publication fate – bought it at the same time as I bought the latest album, High as Hope. Foyles on Charing Cross Road had a few rogue copies out so I bought one before they realised what they’d done.)) Useless Magic is the first collection of writings (verses?) from Florence Welch, most notable for being the frontwoman of Florence + The Machine. She’s often acclaimed for her vocals, and the band is often praised for the brilliant noise that it makes, but her lyrics are rarely commented on. Seeing them here, stripped of their music, stark on the page illuminates firstly, just how brilliantly Welch captures sadness, and secondly, just how dense they actually are. Packed with literary allusion and mythic inspiration, each lyric seems to be in conversation with something else, be that another text, or something larger. Organised here by album, you can chart how the almost triumphantly drunk Lungs give way to the darker, more difficult, water-soaked Ceremonials, through to How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful, which certainly seems to be Welch at her happiest, to the latest lyrics of High as Hope, which are subtler, more subdued. The book itself is shot through with imagery; lyrics are separated by and punctuated with photographs, paintings, postcards, scraps of Welch’s handwriting (one of the most pleasing things about this book is learning that just like me, Welch seems to write on anything and everything she can get her hands on.) Some of the images are recognisable, like The Lady of Shallot, others are not, more obscure references to pop-art, and many are Welch’s own. The images, like the lyrics, shift as the book progresses. It feels completely seamless, after all, Welch herself looks as though she’s toppled out of the frame of a Raphaelite painting. The most interesting part of the book is the part that hitherto has been inaccessible to her fans, that is, her poems. She writes in her brief preface that she is unsure what marks a poem as different to a song, but from a reader’s perspective, it seems that her songs weave her life into a tighter patchwork of allusion and repetition, focusing on moments, whereas her poetry feels more overtly confessional, or autobiographical. In shorter, clipped verse (apparently Nick Cave helped her edit) she covers more ground, sketching out swathes of her life in no times at all. And as you read, you start to notice recurring ideas, words. Some are more obvious than others – Ceremonials is famously full of songs about water – and others accumulate, ideas of ghosts and gods, demons and drink, years and arms. It feels larger than words, which is I suppose what makes them brilliant lyrics. They feel mythic, magic maybe – useless or otherwise.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Katie.dorny

    This was okay for me. I enjoyed seeing the visuals that accompanied the songs (poems) but other than that it did not blow me away at all. It just seemed a bit like a scrapbook - it was cute but 90% of it wasn’t original material for the book. For some reason I thought it would be. I love Florence and the Machine and I’m glad I read this. It’s lovely to look through.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Adelina

    I LOVE YOU FLORENCE YOU BEAUTIFUL FOREST NYMPH

  9. 4 out of 5

    Nina

    "I guess I won't write poetry I'll just stare at my phone for fucking eternity"

  10. 4 out of 5

    Makenzie

    I'M SO EXCITED THIS IS A THING!!!!!!!

  11. 4 out of 5

    Ana

    “I don’t know what makes a song a song and a poem a poem: they have started to bleed into each other at this stage.” It surprised me how, reading them stripped of their catchy melodies, the lyrics that stood out to me weren’t necessarily those of the songs I like to listen to on repeat. I loved this scrapbook-type collection of notes, paintings, polaroids, postcards, maps, which chronicles her creative journey and shows how she seems to find inspiration in everything that surrounds her.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Silvia

    Holy fucking shit Florence

  13. 5 out of 5

    Rue

    Okay. Woah. Um... I listened to 4 albums back to back. It somehow felt like a whole new experience because I went through the lyrics along with it this time. I think there are some days when you let the melody take control over you and the other days when you let the lyrics sink in. I felt both today. And Now I am all charged up!! Okay. Woah. Um... I listened to 4 albums back to back. It somehow felt like a whole new experience because I went through the lyrics along with it this time. I think there are some days when you let the melody take control over you and the other days when you let the lyrics sink in. I felt both today. And Now I am all charged up!!

  14. 5 out of 5

    Lucy

    Can I give this book 5 stars already?

  15. 5 out of 5

    Anneloes

    Considering how much I love Florence, how could I have loved this any less? It's like her soul.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Iulia

    I'm not a Florence and the Machine fan, but I did enjoy going through this book. However, for my taste, there were far too many song lyrics and far too few poems. On the bright side, the arrangement of pictures and notes give Useless Magic a cute, charming quality, which I suppose would be even more appreciated by a devoted fan of their music.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Devann

    actual rating: 2.5 I really like Florence + the Machine but I just don't understand the 'point' of this book. Most of it is literally just reprinting the lyrics of every song off every one of her albums. I mean ...yes she has great lyrics but that is why I LISTEN to the MUSIC, or if I need to look a lyric up there are about 50 websites dedicated to just that. There are a handful of original poems at the end, but the majority of the text here is stuff we've already seen [or heard]. There's some co actual rating: 2.5 I really like Florence + the Machine but I just don't understand the 'point' of this book. Most of it is literally just reprinting the lyrics of every song off every one of her albums. I mean ...yes she has great lyrics but that is why I LISTEN to the MUSIC, or if I need to look a lyric up there are about 50 websites dedicated to just that. There are a handful of original poems at the end, but the majority of the text here is stuff we've already seen [or heard]. There's some cool drawings, pictures, and artwork [both original and reprints of classic pieces] but overall it's just not enough to sell this book for me.

  18. 5 out of 5

    shar

    there’s something magical about her and her writing that hits you where it hurts - it’s a really raw and stark honesty i haven’t seen in anybody else, or connected to as much. i’ve listened and kept up with florence for six years, and this honesty of hers hasn’t changed but she’s gotten alot better at expressing it, especially with this album. so glad she’s published this collection of lyrics and poetry, it’s a slice of beauty that’s kept me alive for so long x

  19. 4 out of 5

    Décio Coelho

    "To give yourself over to another body That’s all you want really To be out of your own and consumed by another To swim inside the skin of your lover Not have to breathe Not have to think But you can’t live on love And salt water’s no drink We're dying of thirst so we feast on each other The sea is still our violent mother The blood round here pours down like water Each wave a lamb lead to the slaughter And like children that she just can’t teach We break, and break, and break And break ourselves upon the bea "To give yourself over to another body That’s all you want really To be out of your own and consumed by another To swim inside the skin of your lover Not have to breathe Not have to think But you can’t live on love And salt water’s no drink We're dying of thirst so we feast on each other The sea is still our violent mother The blood round here pours down like water Each wave a lamb lead to the slaughter And like children that she just can’t teach We break, and break, and break And break ourselves upon the beach" To me, one of the most powerful poems Welch has ever written.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Dominic

    Useless Magic is a music fan's dream! I'm pretty sure someone unfamiliar with Florence Welch (or her band, Florence + the Machine) would find this book worthwhile, although anyone would have to admit that the book is oh so pretty. The rich maroon cloth binding to the stunning photography on heavy paper—it's essentially an Instagram feed in book form. If you are new to Florence, go listen to her records and fall in love with her! But for longstanding fans, this is such a special glimpse into the Useless Magic is a music fan's dream! I'm pretty sure someone unfamiliar with Florence Welch (or her band, Florence + the Machine) would find this book worthwhile, although anyone would have to admit that the book is oh so pretty. The rich maroon cloth binding to the stunning photography on heavy paper—it's essentially an Instagram feed in book form. If you are new to Florence, go listen to her records and fall in love with her! But for longstanding fans, this is such a special glimpse into the creative mind of the artist. It includes nearly all her lyrics, a handful of poems, and a ton of sketches and jottings ripped from journals and stray pads of paper. Her lyrics really hold up to being read without the music to accompany them, and the poems definitely felt like a glimpse into her writing process. It's such a beautiful package that I'm left wishing I could have a book of this quality for all of my favourite singers. (Hint, hint, Tori Amos. Please do something like this.)

  21. 4 out of 5

    Meghan Hughes

    I found this book to be so beautiful. I love how the pages were filled with notes & to-do lists turned song lyrics or poetry. It had pretty little images, drawings, & scribbles of ideas woven between Florence's wonderful words. This woman is so talented. Reading her lyrics on pages was such a different experience than hearing the song or reading the lyrics on my phone. Her poetry section at the end was so great I wish it had been longer! This was a lovely read for me. Great coffee table book for I found this book to be so beautiful. I love how the pages were filled with notes & to-do lists turned song lyrics or poetry. It had pretty little images, drawings, & scribbles of ideas woven between Florence's wonderful words. This woman is so talented. Reading her lyrics on pages was such a different experience than hearing the song or reading the lyrics on my phone. Her poetry section at the end was so great I wish it had been longer! This was a lovely read for me. Great coffee table book for sure! This hardcover, fabric-bound book... It's too stunning to sit on a shelf! Wonderful... just wonderful.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Hayley ☾ (TheVillainousReader)

    I listen to Florence + the Machine every day. Her music has been there for some of the saddest and happiest moments of my life. I'm going to see her in September and I will cry. I. Need. This. I listen to Florence + the Machine every day. Her music has been there for some of the saddest and happiest moments of my life. I'm going to see her in September and I will cry. I. Need. This.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Candice

    I've wanted this one for a very long time and it was everything I wanted it to be.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Aljoša

    This book is a mix of poems and songs. As Florence puts it in the preface: "I don’t know what makes a song a song and a poem a poem: they have started to bleed into each other at this stage." I've already known the beloved songs because I love Florence, but I must admit that she'd picked the most poem-y (is that a word?) songs to put in this book. As for the original poems, I loved all of them and I liked the structure of this book. What I really love about this book are doodles and scribbles done This book is a mix of poems and songs. As Florence puts it in the preface: "I don’t know what makes a song a song and a poem a poem: they have started to bleed into each other at this stage." I've already known the beloved songs because I love Florence, but I must admit that she'd picked the most poem-y (is that a word?) songs to put in this book. As for the original poems, I loved all of them and I liked the structure of this book. What I really love about this book are doodles and scribbles done by Florence. Florence is always 5/5.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Jas

    I loved this. Though most of the book was lyrics from her albums, it was different reading the words. It was different seeing them alone, without the big gospel sounds typically accompanying them. I also noticed that I was mistaken about a few lyrics! The poetry section was also lovely. And the artwork and pictures were beautiful and fun.

  26. 4 out of 5

    britt_brooke

    “I make songs to tie people to me, With a ribbon of fantasy around their necks Such a beautiful bow That I hold in my fist. And will not let go.” - from the poem American Mother This was sort of a scrap book of lyrics, a few poems, notes, photographs, and artwork. It’s worth checking out if you’re a fan.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Margo Adeline

    "Say my name And every colour illuminates We are shining And we will never be afraid again" THIS! This is how I want my poetry to be. This is how I'd want my Instagram to be. Flornce Welch's entire being is just so dreamy and magical and of course the music is too good to not listen to. I'm listening to Shake It Out as I write this.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Courtney

    If you're a casual fan of Florence + The Machine, or just an admirer of her aesthetic this is a gorgeous book to have. I'm assuming all her super fans already own it but it really is just a lovely book. Beautifully put together it includes lyrics from her four studio albums in consecutive order and a collection of poetry at the end. Included is art, photography and notes Florence has written, it really is just a lovely, lovely book. Everything from the layout, to the font, the colours, seems to If you're a casual fan of Florence + The Machine, or just an admirer of her aesthetic this is a gorgeous book to have. I'm assuming all her super fans already own it but it really is just a lovely book. Beautifully put together it includes lyrics from her four studio albums in consecutive order and a collection of poetry at the end. Included is art, photography and notes Florence has written, it really is just a lovely, lovely book. Everything from the layout, to the font, the colours, seems to be extremely well thought out. If you know any of Florence's songs you know that she is very good at painting a very evocative and lush picture with her words. A new appreciation can be taken on with her song writing seeing her lyrics in the written form. It also made me revisit her debut album Lungs.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Marius Paulsen (Antari-kun)

    My god, I loved this poetry and lyric collection from the wonderful Florence Welch! Everyone should go read this and take it all in for themselves! She writes hauntingly, uniquely, amazingly poems and lyrics that will transcend life itself, but at the same time, it feels grounded in relatable life experiences. She is a goddess, but also the girl next door. How she does it, is beyond me. I love her songs and have been listening to the band for so long. But this is pure art and the book itself is My god, I loved this poetry and lyric collection from the wonderful Florence Welch! Everyone should go read this and take it all in for themselves! She writes hauntingly, uniquely, amazingly poems and lyrics that will transcend life itself, but at the same time, it feels grounded in relatable life experiences. She is a goddess, but also the girl next door. How she does it, is beyond me. I love her songs and have been listening to the band for so long. But this is pure art and the book itself is exquisite. Highly recommend it!

  30. 4 out of 5

    Tanya

    This full-color hardback is a beautiful thing to behold. From the cloth-bound cover with gold foil lettering to the heavy pages full of hand-written notes and sketches from journals and stray pieces of paper, it's essentially an artfully done scrapbook, and a gorgeous keepsake for any Florence + the Machine fan. "Songs can be incredibly prophetic, like subconscious warnings or messages to myself, but I often don't know what I'm trying to say till years later. Or a prediction comes true and I c This full-color hardback is a beautiful thing to behold. From the cloth-bound cover with gold foil lettering to the heavy pages full of hand-written notes and sketches from journals and stray pieces of paper, it's essentially an artfully done scrapbook, and a gorgeous keepsake for any Florence + the Machine fan. "Songs can be incredibly prophetic, like subconscious warnings or messages to myself, but I often don't know what I'm trying to say till years later. Or a prediction comes true and I couldn't do anything to stop it, so it seems like a kind of useless magic. As if the song is somehow speaking through me in its own language. And I am a conduit but totally oblivious to its wisdom. That's why poetry, or even having the lyrics written down somewhere, is strange for me. The act of singing gives the most mundane words and phrases reverence and glory. You can make a shrine out of anything. The song has its own personality, and is bigger and stronger than I am. With more to say, to just write something down and let it stay there, on the page, seems to me an enormously vulnerable thing." The book is divided into five parts: One for each album released thus far, and a first look at her poetry. In the preface, she mentions that she doesn't exactly know what constitutes the difference between a song and a poem, except that she feels the latter to be more exposing without the music to carry her words. The poetry and random doodles and notes (you know they're real because her handwriting was almost impossible to decipher in some spots, and some cringey grammatical errors were kept) were what I was most interested in, but reading the lyrics on their own, stripped from the grandeur of her voice and her often gospel-like, full-blown orchestral music, was a minor revelation on its own—I've been a fan since the Lungs days, but it took reading the lyrics printed out on a book page rather than an album booklet to fully appreciate that a lot of them really could pass for some beautiful poetry. The various lyrics-sections include all of Lungs minus the two covers, plus the b-sides Swimming, Bird Song, Are You Hurting the One You Love?, and Falling, and the standard edition tracklists of Ceremonials, How Big How Blue How Beautiful (plus Which Witch), and High As Hope—reading them in succession really makes you appreciate her journey of growth, from sadness, through darkness, into a more mature and subdued kind of happiness, but you'll also notice recurring themes, from the obvious (drinking crops up a lot all over the place, and Ceremonials is full of songs about water) to the more obscure (such as references to the pagan and religious). If you think her poetry will be as full of allusions and vague metaphors as her lyrics, you're in for a rude awakening; the very first poem throws a mention of an "aborted threesome" at the reader—no sign of lyrical "bedroom hymns". Her poems don't mince words, there isn't much to interpret because she bares it all, and as a result, they are obviously a lot more confessional and candid than her lyrics, although many seem to retain faint threads to songs—the most obvious such case was one of the poems (Oh You're a Real Man) becoming a verse in Patricia. I loved how a portrait of Virginia Woolf followed the lyrics of What the Water Gave Me, and that one of my all-time favorite Patti Smith pictures accompanied the lyrics to Patricia, one of my two favorite songs off the new record: She pays tribute to her muses, and it's lovely to follow the threads of inspiration. I wish it had included all the lyrics to her own songs, more poetry, or at least more content like lyrics annotations, but despite being a very quick read, it still manages to provide an honest glimpse inside the mind of a passionate artist. Often praised for her incredible voice, I feel that her songwriting, which is equally noteworthy, is mostly overlooked; perhaps this book will make a difference, and expose her as the clever lyricist that she is. “I make songs to tie people to me, With a ribbon of fantasy around their necks Such a beautiful bow That I hold in my fist. And will not let go.” ————— All my book reviews can be found here · Buy on BookDepository

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