Ceremonials - Florence + the Machine
Metascore
75

Generally favorable reviews - based on 36 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 22 out of 36
  2. Negative: 0 out of 36
  1. Dec 13, 2011
    100
    Ceremonials is quite some achievement: an accomplished pop record infused with intelligence and imagination... It offers the final, conclusive evidence that she's a pop star to believe in. [Dec. 2011 p. 118]
  2. 100
    She crafts Ceremonials, a confident, unflinching tour de force.
  3. Nov 1, 2011
    91
    Ceremonials is Welch barreling off a cliff on wings made of dear-diary sentiment, art-school theatrics, and pure-cut sincerity, and somehow, against all odds, she manages to soar.
  4. As one of the last big album releases to close out 2011, it's highly fitting that Ceremonials should be considered perhaps the most beautiful and absorbing of them all.
  5. Nov 4, 2011
    90
    Ceremonials is truly one of the few recent pop LPs that works both as a collection of individual songs and as a true album, with the right balance and flow to keep the record captivating from start to finish.
  6. Oct 31, 2011
    90
    [A] rare sophomore outing that not only manages to avoid the slump, but bests its predecessor in the process.
  7. Oct 27, 2011
    90
    The only real criticism of Ceremonials is that this album is completely, relentlessly, Florence. Her fans will lap it up, while those who aren't keen on her will probably remain unconvinced.
  8. 88
    She's found a way to honor her Bjorkian appetites for lavish orchestral spectacle while finding the depth and subtlety of her voice.
  9. Nov 11, 2011
    80
    An ambitious LP like is, backlit by harmonies and dramatic chord changes, is the perfect vehicle to showcase her voice; a less talented vocalist would crumble under its heaviness.
  10. Nov 1, 2011
    80
    Welch offers a sumptuous, energizing experience that runs the gamut from ecstasy to fury and favorably evokes forebears like Annie Lennox and Sinead O'Connor and current peers like Adele.
  11. Nov 1, 2011
    80
    Florence and the Machine's second album is as dark, robust and romantic as ever, but a revving 18-wheeler is no longer the apt metaphor for Welch's voice.
  12. Nov 1, 2011
    80
    As polished and artistically challenging as that first effort was, this latest outing gets the most out of Welch's strengths as a songwriter by shooting for a higher degree of difficulty and achieving a greater level of proficiency.
  13. 80
    By taking what worked about Lungs and amplifying those qualities to a natural, satisfying conclusion, Florence has made a near-great pop record that should afford her the creative freedom to do whatever the hell she wants next time around. She may be away with the faeries, but she knows exactly what she's doing.
  14. Oct 31, 2011
    80
    The first four tracks of Ceremonials are essentially flawless....Ceremonials can't help but get weaker as it continues, a fact which owes less to the quality of the songwriting than to the album's length (it's over an hour long) and a far less dynamic second act.
  15. Oct 28, 2011
    80
    It's bigger, brighter and braver than what went before, and should elevate Florence even higher, with her Machine shoulder to shoulder.
  16. Oct 28, 2011
    80
    She really does sweep the listener away, spinning wild webs of sound and carrying us off to her own aural dreamland.
  17. Oct 27, 2011
    80
    Welch may never do anything as dangerous and uncouth as "Kiss" ever again. But even the threat of menace works wonders on terrific follow-up Ceremonials.
  18. Nov 29, 2011
    77
    Ceremonials is a sumptuously produced album of mystic pop anthems.
  19. Nov 2, 2011
    73
    Ceremonials abandons so many of the musical avenues she mapped out on Lungs and focuses instead on a monolithic sound that is certainly affecting but is becoming increasingly conventional in 2011.
  20. 70
    Florence and the Machine's second album is certainly a move in the right direction.
  21. Oct 9, 2012
    67
    Ceremonials is gorgeous head-to-toe, making grand statements with heavy syntax, but paradoxically, it's light as air.
  22. Overall, Ceremonials leaves everyone's opinions of Florence + the Machine in stasis; if you loved or hated her before, you'll still feel the same way, if you were unsure, you'll still be unsure.
  23. 60
    It's this robust fervor and subject matter that fire up and lift up many of the songs on Ceremonials, but the constant exhortation comes at a price. Listener fatigue sets in as the relentless, up-tempo pace and sharply exclamatory vocal tone overwhelms over the course of the album.
  24. Jan 10, 2012
    60
    For all the florid curlicues and crescendos, Welch's second album is light on true beauty, real idiosyncrasy. [Dec. 2011, p.94]
  25. 60
    What's offered on Ceremonials is solid, even a cut or two above solid. But it doesn't move the band forward.
  26. Nov 3, 2011
    60
    Like Mickey Mouse conducting the ocean in Fantasia, she often seems more a celestial vessel for the heady energy and abstract imagery than a relatable character--a balance she doesn't always strike.
  27. Nov 3, 2011
    60
    Instead of Lungs' largely charming yet discombobulating diversity, Ceremonials suffers from a repetitiveness that's akin to looking at a skyline filled with 100-story behemoths lined-up one after the other, blocking out everything but their own size.
  28. Nov 1, 2011
    60
    As a second album, it is perfectly acceptable and there are many aspects of it to admire. But the static present on much of Ceremonials cannot quantify the record as anything but a regression in broader terms.
  29. Nov 1, 2011
    60
    As it stands, the best that could be said about Ceremonials is that it's a pleasant enough listen that will change absolutely nobody's mind about Florence and her machine.
  30. 60
    But in cementing one style, some of the possibilities offered by Lungs have been choked off.
  31. Oct 27, 2011
    60
    This is all grandeur without any grace.
  32. Oct 27, 2011
    60
    Ceremonials always sounds wonderful--producer Paul Epworth has created a warm, soft, four-poster featherbed of sound for Welch to emote over--but it never really satisfies.
  33. 50
    In making the songs so monumental, Florence and the Machine have also made them impersonal.
  34. 50
    For a while, it's promising: "Only If for a Night" pits Welch's soulful-and-strange vocal gymnastics against a firecracker beat and a gang of chorus chanters. But elsewhere, Ceremonials feels drained of personality.
  35. Nov 11, 2011
    40
    The result is exhausting, an album of songs that all want to be showstoppers. [Dec 2011, p.86]
  36. Oct 31, 2011
    40
    Ceremonials never comes down off the high precipice.
User Score
8.9

Universal acclaim- based on 213 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 53 out of 57
  2. Negative: 1 out of 57
  1. Nov 1, 2011
    10
    I can honestly say that is album is the best album released in 2011. There is no contest. The sound is like nothing you have heard before, theI can honestly say that is album is the best album released in 2011. There is no contest. The sound is like nothing you have heard before, the vocals are breathtaking and the production is perfection. As much as I liked "Lungs" it does not compare to "Ceremonials". It is an experience, It cannot be explained! you have to live it to understand. Full Review »
  2. Nov 15, 2011
    4
    Instead of a nuanced, eclectic collection of songs similar to Lungs, Florence has decided that every second of Ceremonials must sound exactlyInstead of a nuanced, eclectic collection of songs similar to Lungs, Florence has decided that every second of Ceremonials must sound exactly like biggest moments of Dog Days are Over and Cosmic Love. What happens is that all of the songs start to blur together in their big drum, harp, and choir sameness. Highlights include Only If For A Night, Breaking Down and What the Water Gave Me. The rest of the songs are essentially re-writes of those tracks except the failed Adele-esque adult contemporary of Lover To Lover or the embarrassing kid's Halloween movie level of spookiness of Seven Devil's. Full Review »
  3. Nov 1, 2011
    9
    In an era of pop music full of insipid one hit wonders and autotuned abortions it's really refreshing to hear an album like Ceremonials. ForIn an era of pop music full of insipid one hit wonders and autotuned abortions it's really refreshing to hear an album like Ceremonials. For anyone who's heard Lungs, it shouldn't be a surprise that this delivers in areas where other pop albums simply can't. Ceremonials, like Lungs before it, provides an interesting juxtaposition of glossy synths, natural instrumentation and organic drum patterns topped off by Florence's brilliant vocal delivery. However, the mood of Ceremonials is what sets it apart from its predecessor. Whilst Lungs was springlike and frequently jubilant, Ceremonials is more like its slightly more subdued autumnal counterpart. That's not to suggest that Ceremonials is at all joyless, far from it, but there are moments of frosty atmospherics in between Florence's blustery vocals. Full Review »