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Florence + the Machine

The song “Hunger” by the English indie rock band Florence + the Machine contemplates a relation between eating disorders and youthful loneliness. The singer Florence Welch has stated in interviews that this lead single from the album High As Hope originally started out as an autobiographical poem but morphed into this song throughout the years. As is common for the band’s work, the first verse sets up the main themes quite clearly: “At seventeen I started to starve myself / I thought that love was a kind of emptiness / And at least I understood then the hunger I felt / And I didn’t have to call it loneliness.” These themes are then used to build the idea of “hunger” into a metaphor for various ersatz practices, including sex, substance abuse and performing on the stage. The last line of the outro finally addresses the core desire behind all of these: “And for a moment I forget to worry.” On the one hand, this could be read as the ability to stop a religious quest for feeling loved, and on the other hand this could be seen as a final moment of bliss and closure in death.

Despite the relatively clear opening lines, the song’s ambiguous lyrics can be discussed on various levels, such as a discussion of eating disorders, a contemplation of loneliness, a religious allegory for Florence Welch’s own stardom, or through visual elements in the music video such as plants and statues.

· · 2018

Critical edition

Florence + the Machine. "Hunger." High As Hope. Virgin EMI, 2018. 4 min.

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In favour of this entry

  • Addresses current affairs
  • Charged with meaning
  • Students can identify with the text