A “Deluxe” Review

As a general rule, I hate the “deluxe” album. As someone who worked in music retail, I have an extra reserve of hate for them based on endless customers complaining that “they’re expected to buy the album….again?” Of course the worst is the greatest hits collection with those two extra songs there to annoy the devoted fans who already bought every album the artist ever released, but I digress, we’re discussing the “deluxe” album. In my experience “deluxe” is a meager handful of additional tracks, heavily featuring demo versions (and often times demo versions are better left unearthed) and remixes (which I sometimes enjoy, but to buy an album a second time for a few remixes….not likely). Now you can understand why despite how much I enjoyed the Florence and the Machine album “Lungs”, I kept turning my nose up at the “deluxe” edition out on store shelves.

Well one day in a moment of weakness and curiosity I finally picked it up to see what was so darned “deluxe” about this version of “Lungs”. I bought it that day, so as you may guess a lot. Let’s break it down for you. There are 11 additional tracks. Yep. Eleven. As in someone took the dial for “Lungs” and turned it up to 11. So there is a whole second disc of “deluxe”.

How many demo versions? One. The track “Ghosts” is the origin of the song “I’m Not Calling You A Liar” from the original album. Although not a revelation, it’s quirky and slightly more uptempo feeling demo was fun, and not a regrettable addition. Remixes? I’m going to stretch and say two. The deluxe disc features a remix of “Dog Days are Over” by Yeasayer. Honestly, not that impressed. However, there is also “You’ve Got the Dirtee Love” as performed at the 2010 Brit Awards. Since this introduced me to Florence and the Machine, I’ve got a soft spot for the performance. Also it is a fun mash up of Florence and the Machine’s “You’ve Got the Love” and Dizzee Rascal’s rap “Dirtee Cash”, so we can call that a remix if you like. (Fun fact: Florence won for best British album of the year at that show and Dizzee won best British male.)

A few other common tropes for the “deluxe” album are tracks from other compilation albums and covers of other songs, and the “deluxe” “Lungs” has those too. You’ll find “Heavy in Your Arms” which was originally on “The Twilight Saga: Eclipse” soundtrack. I still haven’t seen the movies, but I really should just man up and buy all the soundtracks because I seem to like every song I hear from the darned things, and this song is no exception. It’s almost a death march sound chronicling the overwhelming, unbearable, weight that love can have on a couple. As for the covers, they’re the real stand outs for me. So much so I’m going to toss a couple of videos at you!

Florence and the Machine take Robert Palmer’s gritty, grinding, and all around universally accepted as bad ass song “Addicted to Love” and turn it into a more delicate, pulsating version. (By the way, there was no “official” video for this song but this guy made a video for his Media Studies course at The New School in New York City, so I thought, why not share his work with more people.)

The other stand out cover is “Hospital Beds” which was originally done by the Cold War Kids. The live clip I’ve got here highlights Florence’s powerhouse voice as she adds her personal touch to the song.

Now would be a good time to remind you that there are a few totally 100% new tracks on here too. Technically I think they were part of some iTunes deal, but they’re new to me, so I’m calling it new! These songs reaffirm that Florence continues to have a crazy good voice, an ability to write compelling complex lyrics, and an adventurous spirit when it comes to making music.

Here is a live performance of “Swimming”.

Yes, I bought “Lungs” again, and I don’t regret it one bit.