Ceremonials - Florence + the Machine
User Score

Universal acclaim- based on 201 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 6 out of 201

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  1. Nov 1, 2011
    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, 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.
  2. Nov 15, 2011
    Instead 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. Expand
  3. Nov 1, 2011
    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. 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. Expand
  4. Nov 4, 2011
    Ceremonials never deviates from Florence's fierce belting, which, while being one of her biggest assets, also tires quickly. There's nothing quite like Cosmic Love or Kiss with a Fist here, but rather twelve variations of Drumming Song and Dog Days Are Over. This is not to say that the songs sound the same or are bad (in fact, the first half of the album is phenomenal), but there certainly isn't much range. Expand
  5. Nov 1, 2011
    There is plenty to like about Ceremonials, the second album by Florence and the Machine, one of the most successful acts to emerge in recent years, but sadly there is also much to hate. Welch did not change the winning formula (and why should she?): dramatic vocals, massive drums, harps, strings, etc. are again present. Itâ
  6. Nov 1, 2011
    Ceremonials is the second album released by Florence And The Machine, and I wasn't really sure what to expect after the absolutely amazing album Lungs! But my worries were put aside almost instantly with the 1st song on the album, 'Only If For A Night' I was glad to hear that Florence did not change her style of music. (Not that she had any reason to) The instrumentals are just beautiful on every song! It is seriously all about the drums in Florence World! And Florence isn't like all these other 'auto-tuned, never actually heard of real music' artists out there today. She is one of these rare musical artists today that makes you feel emotionally connected to the music. Ceremonials is the best album iv heard for a while! Beautifully put together, amazing voice, amazing musical instrumentals, and best of all quite haunting! Expand
  7. Nov 1, 2011
    Above all this album is just so refreshing. It begins with twinkling piano melodies, sucks you right into hell with the brooding Seven Devils and then just when you think you have had enough it releases you. Didn't think it would be possible but i think this has actually beaten Lungs
  8. Jul 13, 2012
    Flo seems to think she has catchy choruses sussed - just bellow out the same line over and over. To be fair though this only really becomes irritating in the last 5 or 6 tracks, with the first half of the album almost reaching the brilliance of 'Lungs'. That's the main problem here - 'Ceremonials' was probably never going to live up to the high-standards set by 'Lungs' and the lack of diversity of 'Ceremonials', in comparison, may seem monotonous. Despite this, looking solely at 'Ceremonials', as we should, we have a very solid, well thought out album with some consistent production (or should that be over-production?) from the ever-amazing Paul Epworth. Highlights are "Breaking Down" (one of the two tracks Flo wrote on her own, truly highlighting her immense talent), "Shake It Out" and "Only If For A Night". Ultimately, you won't regret buying this album. Expand
  9. Nov 1, 2011
    There is so much more to Ceremonials than most albums released in the last few years. The lyrics are so rich and the music is undeniably unique. Florence's unbelievable voice has some how managed to get better. Florence has really stayed true to herself and her Machine. The songs are cohesive, but all so unique. I am spellbound by Ceremonials.
  10. Jan 29, 2012
    It's dark and grandiose, two things "Lungs" wasn't. It's a great improvement on the unstructured album that was "Lungs." Where "Lungs" found greatness in its imperfections, "Ceremonials" chooses to strive for perfection. It's a lofty goal, and "Ceremonials" is not perfect, but it is as close as possible. There is no moment as bright as 'Dog Days Are Over,' but "Ceremonials" makes up for this in the beauty of the anthem, 'Shake It Out.' Though heavy and sometimes overbearingly dark, it is an artistic and beautiful album, and possibly the best album of 2011. Expand
  11. Mar 12, 2012
    Right, so Ceremonials... The first three songs are just insanely good. Instantly accessible Flo at it's best. BUT. If you actually give this album the chance it deserves then you may find that the rest is about as far from filler as it's possible to be. In particular No Light, No Light, Leave My Body, and Heartlines are unsung heroes here. This is very easily my album of 2011, and unbelievably better than Lungs. See her live if you haven't already. Expand
  12. Jan 29, 2012
    "Ceremonials" is the complete opposite of Florence & The Machine's debut album "Lungs". The production is bigger, the lyrics are darker, and the sound is much more deeper than "Lungs". Each track delves deeper into your emotions and you can really relate to what Florence Welch is beautifully trying to say. All In All, Ceremonials is a powerful album. A
  13. Dec 11, 2011
    Once again, Florence + the Machine dishes out a rock-solid album. This one really shines with intensity, with almost every song being emotional and intense. "Heartlines", "What the Water Gave Me", and "No Light, No Light" really hit me hard, and they lift Florence + the Machine to new heights of artistry. If there is one thing that bugs me, is that they didn't deviate too far from what they're comfortable with. While the songs are superb, it seems like there could've been more - like they could've made this album even better. I also noticed that Florence's voice wasn't so heavily focused on as it was in "Lungs", which is a minor, but unfortunate, observation. Expand
  14. Nov 2, 2011
    It is the best album of the 2011, and she is clearly a brilliant with the lyrics and the vocals no doubt, I just can't get enough, so excited about the charts, I see more than one Grammy in the future.
  15. Nov 26, 2011
    After finally managing to force myself to listen to Ceremonials for a third time, I can safely say my initial verdict was the correct one - Just about every song misses the mark on what it tries to achieve and they all suffer from the same problem of being over-produced and under delivered. In the end, a grand, sweeping sound throughout can't mask the half-baked lyrics and bad arrangement. Lungs was a masterpiece. This is utter crap. Expand
  16. Nov 23, 2011
    Com certeza, o melhor álbum de 2011. Tanto os vocais, quanto as letras e melodias estão perfeitas. O álbum já começa em alto nível, com Only If For The Night, as próximas faixas só mostram mais o conteúdo do mesmo, tanto Shake It Out, quanto What The Water Game Me. Never Let Me Go é um dos destaques do álbum, e, após duas faixas boas de se ouvir, chegamos a uma das melhores musicas do ano, No Light, No Light. A sequência Seven Devils, Heartlines e Spectrum é de perder fôlego. E, após a musica menos boa do álbum, All This And Heaven Too, temos uma das melhores sequências do ano: Leave My Body, Remain Nameless e Starngeness And Cham. Ambas são ricas em vocais poderosos, letras tocantes e intrumentais poderosos. O álbum é encerrado com chave de ouro com Bedroom Hymns. As próximas faixas, versões de demo e acústicas, são agradáveis, porém descartáveis. Expand
  17. Dec 12, 2011
    While Lungs was more eclectic (and appropriately body focused), Ceremonials dives into exploring the sometimes more elusive sacred aspects of experience, and ends up settling into a more cohesive sounding album. Listening to this album feels as serious and mysterious as the best of ceremonies, yet never as boring thanks to the percussive and epic anthems that call for us to sing aloud. "Thin Space" is a Celtic phrase used to describe places where the two worlds of spiritual and natural meet. Ceremonials is a thin space for me. Highlights are all the first 7 tracks together, and the last 2. Expand
  18. Dec 16, 2011
    Undoubtedly ceremonials that Florence was a gift bestowed on us in 2011.
    Florence sings with much more confidence, strength and softness, their vocals are divinely impeccable, making anyone listen to eventually become one of the legion of lovers of the art of Florence Welch and her band.
    The band gained more prominence brightness.
    Special mention to Shake It Out, a song that every time I
    hear it I feel my heart beat faster and radiates a joy in my face.
    A great and beautiful work
  19. Jan 16, 2012
    One of the best albums of 2.011. Great vocals, great production, great lyrics, Florence Welch is one of best vocalist from the UK. The best song on the album is Breaking Down eve thouhg I think All This And Heaven Too is such a masterpiece. This kind of albums makes me realize that not everything is lost when it comes to creatition of music and being successful with a different album.
  20. May 20, 2012
    Ceremonials represents a musical evolution from the previously released album "Lungs". It has more a dark sound to it (if you think of tracks like "Seven Devils" and "Only If For A Night"). The lyrics, as always are mystical and astonishing, indeed pure poetry. Many themes are spoken about in this album as spirituality, life and love. Florence has an unique voice that makes her stand out from the choir, you can hear in her singing influences by Stevie Nicks. She adds up a lot of drama to her singing which is, in my opinion, a great quality, since it intensifies the meaning of her lyrics. We definitely need more artists like Florence and the Machine. Expand
  21. Nov 19, 2013
    This album changes nothing of my opinions about the band other than that now, the band is just as important as Welch's vocals. It offers an eclectic set of sounds with great musicality. "Only If for a Night" opens the album promisingly to join "Never Let Me Go", "Spectrum", and "Seven Devils" being the tracks that stand out the most.
  22. Dec 1, 2013
    This album is perfect. Florence's ethereal voice is back, and draped in melodic perfection throughout the 12 tracks on this standard disc. 'Spectrum' and 'Shake it Out', 'Never Let Me Go' and 'Leave My Body' are all standouts.

    Deluxe Edition packs an extra 8 acoustic tracks..... worth the extra buck if you've got it!
  23. Nov 12, 2011
    Just as dark and haunting as it's predecessor - though it doesn't always live up to the standard of lungs, It still remains one of the greatest albums of the year, and far better than anything Adele has done.
  24. Nov 26, 2011
    A brilliant album!!!! I would say that the song "Never let me go" is one of the best song I've heard in a long time!!! I love Florence!!!The rest of the songs are great too:-)
  25. Nov 3, 2011
    I had high expectations for this album coming in and I'm glad to see they've been more than met. I have to agree with a lot of people that this is likely to be my favorite album of the year. It's the only reason I'd bother to write a gushing review of it. If you loved or even liked Lungs you will love this. It is bigger, badder, longer, darker and just all around greater. I can understand how this music isn't for everyone, but I think almost any fan of great singing can find some songs to like from this band. There's a great variety of sounds, but if you like heavy drums or harps especially you'll love this. Strangeness and Charm is my favorite song, but they are all quite stellar. Also, the deluxe edition has 20 songs and is an hour and a half long. That's a lot of great music. Enough said, at the very least give it a try. Expand
  26. Apr 19, 2012
    The term 'samey' hasn't been trundled out since the last four Oasis albums, but it perfectly fits here. Don't get me wrong, I like FATM, they sound good. This album however just feels like the cuts from the first album that weren't good enough. Download "Shake It Out", forget the rest. Definitely over-rated.
  27. Jul 27, 2012
    It's not easy as my scores get the highest, but flatly "Ceremonials" deserves a majestic acclamation. It's not just a mixture of different styles, but all these are just one body. No doubt folk influences forge a straight, clean and welcoming path. Miss Florence does not miss any details. There is no empty space in this album. Very continuous, filler and captivating. "Ceremonials" graduates with honours. Expand
  28. Nov 3, 2011
    Florence has always been one of those beautiful acts that are always there on your iPod should you need something powerful to play in your ears, for me. This album, however, has made her so much more.

    It's powerful, a power that exceeds even the near flawless 'Lungs'. It carries with it the haunting edge 'Lungs' also held, but plays on it in far more straight-forward ways, a hurricane
    in musical production and voice, though she equally explores softer melodies, wind instruments and sweeter singing, reminiscent to my 'Lungs' highlight, 'Blinding'.

    This is not to mention the fact that Florence Welch is one of the best songwriters in recent memory, let alone singers. She's truly crafted herself a niche in music and still manages to feel like a breath of empowering, fresh air on every listen. It's thus far, for me, the quintessential album of 2011.
  29. Nov 6, 2011
    This may not be the absolute best album of 2011 but it definitely deserves to be a contender for that title. After such a strong debut album it looked like Florence Welch and her band wouldn't be able to beat it, but with Ceremonials they did. It is more consistent sounding then Lungs and even more outrageously beautiful and well orchestrated. This album is darker than Lungs for sure, but also more artistic and beautifully expressive. 10 out of 10! Expand
  30. Jun 29, 2012
    Before buying 'Lungs', i bought 'Ceremonials.' When I first heard this album. I thought it was phenomenal. But after listening to 'Lungs', 'Ceremonials' became overshadowed by Flo's debut. The album is great, it really is. But, there is something missing that was constantly in Florence + The Machine's 'Lungs.' The album is more soulful. And it contains as much gloom as its predecessor. The first track, Only If For A Night, is the best track in the album. The lyrics are nothing we hadn't already seen on 'Lungs.' Shake It Out is an anthemic masterpiece. And Breaking Down has Florence's most pop-sounding production ever. The worst tracks on the album are the spooky Tim Burton film-esque Seven Devils, the boring and charmless Leave My Body and the tribal Heartlines. But, most of the album is great. The album incorporates new genres not explored in 'Lungs.' The disco-ish Spectrum is a prime example. Another one is Lover to Lover which sounds very jazz adult contemporary and not exactly indie pop or art rock, like most of Flo's work. But overall, the album is not quite the masterpiece of 'Lungs', but it is pretty darn close. It may be the most soulful approach we may ever hear from Florence + The Machine. Expand
  31. Nov 13, 2011
    She got it again! With astonishing lyrics, and a calmer voice, Welch brings up again the power of Kate Bush in the 80s, and manages to do with brilliant musics. With the hit of this year, 'Shake It Out', and the tracks 'Never Let me Go', 'Heartlines' and 'Spectrum', we get from her a new person, a new concept, a new beatiful album!
  32. Nov 1, 2011
    I love every bit of this album. I don't even know where to begin. Florence's voice, the mind blowing lyrics, and the perfect music. Chris's drumming and Tom's harp has never been better. It's just perfect.
  33. Nov 7, 2011
    This is one of the best albums of the year. I do not deny that Florence's big, glamorous chorus lines get a little repetitive, but I don't even care. "Ceremonials" is a sonic joyride and an emotional release. It's big, it's loud, and it's awesome.
  34. Nov 9, 2011
    By the 6,573rd time I'd heard "Dog Days Are Over", I was just about done with Florence + the Machine. But THIS-this is something entirely different. With "Ceremonials", Florence + the Machine successfully-VERY successfully-sheds their feel-good-just-for-fun indie-pop image and trades it for an epic, stadium-anthemic sound that's hard to put into words. There's so much winning on this album it's not even funny. The only bad thing here is that the best song on the album ("Only if for the Night") is done away with on the first track. Album of the year? Quite possibly. Expand
  35. Nov 12, 2011
    Best album of the 2011. Why Adele, Amy, Beyonce, etc.. Florence Welch is the queen of the 21st century. Songs: "What the water gave me", "Breaking down", "No lights, no lights", " Lover to lover", "Spectrum", "Leave my body".
  36. Nov 15, 2011
    Lacks the raw emotion in "Lungs" that I connected to, but makes up for it with experimental sounds not found in the "normal" popular music and is still able to find a balance between her voice and the instrumental. Word of advice: It's an epic album, and should be treated as one. Takes many listenings to fully digest it, but once you hear, it never leaves your head and that's the power of Florence and the Machine. The reason why the album isn't as good as her first album "Lungs" is because the producer Paul Epworth, creates a sound equal to that of her voice and the wail of her voice is lost in the exotic sounds that make the album worth a listen. There is an edginess that was present in songs like "Kiss with a Fist" and "Girl with One Eye" and "I'm not Calling You A Liar" that is missing in the new album and is replaced with pulsing beats and Olympic chorus chants that seem to elevate Florence in a totally different.
    I think a metaphor is best to describe "Lungs" and "Ceremonials". In "Lungs" Florence makes you want to rip off all of your clothes and dance in the woods. In "Ceremonials" Florence bombards you with godly chants that make you want to release your voice along with her just so you can survive her epic album that fills your heart with admiration and trepidation.
    Florence has proven with her sophomore album "Ceremonials" that there are many paths she may choose to take but which ever one, she is calling the shots and she will burst into any genre with power and might without sacrificing her artistic judgement. If you haven't listened to Flo, take a look at a couple of her well known songs (Dog Days Are Over and I'm Not Calling you a Liar) before you jump into her music. If you allow her to slowly take over you with one or two songs, you will find yourself in countless showers, wailing along with her in her two gorgeous albums. She is an artist whose burgeoning career has only begun with these two albums and she will continue to become an inspirational artist to many. Expect her to join the British movement along with her British brethren: Adele, Duffy, Lilly Allen in changing American music for the better--a movement started by the Godmother of British blue soul--Amy Winehouse.
  37. Nov 22, 2011
    I'm obsessed with this cd. SO many great songs on here. I can't give it a 10 because there are two that I don't care for. Breaking Down and All this and Heaven Too just don't do it for me. Bedroom Hymns, Seven Devils and Only if for a Night...I'm in love!!!
  38. Nov 26, 2011
    I was watching SNL the other night, when Florence and the Machine came on. Now normally, I fast forward my DVR past these segments, because honestly, the sound makes almost everyone sound horrible and 7 out of 10 bands or acts, I just can't stand. I was pleasantly surprised by Florence and The Machine. They remind me of a Female led Coldplay.. but better. I thoroughly enjoy at least half of this album, and that being said, is an accomplishment for any band these days. Expand
  39. Apr 3, 2012
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. "Ceremonials" is a magical and unique journey. Florence Welche takes us through her ups and down with soothing, angel-like vocal, accompanied by the perfect instrumentation. Expand
  40. Mar 25, 2012
    amazing album!!! made me buy her other album and fall in love with this band from the beginning. shake it out is pure genius. that song speaks volumes.
  41. Apr 30, 2012
    Fantastic vocal this is a great band, Florence and the Machine is a complete band experience, best album of 2011, different from Lungs, more romantic and gothic as Lungs was punky and sharp. Watch for the third one, it could be a chart buster.
  42. Jun 1, 2012
    I Love Every Single Song I Dont Understand Why This Album Has A Lower Score Than Lungs..
    I LOVE Lungs But I Really Love This Album!
    The Best Album Of 2011 (Next To Lady Gaga's Born This Way)
    Her Vocals Are Amazing..
    Take Hear Adele...
  43. May 30, 2012
    A very solid second album. The whole record has more darker tones than the first one. The songwriting is constant in quality and there are less fillers than the 1st album. Producer Paul Epsworth has done a tremendous job here! . Florence is definitely here to last, like it or not.
  44. Jul 10, 2012
    Yeah, Ceremonials is more 'cohesive' than Lungs, but it also lacks the electrifying spark that came with it. Does that ruin the entire album? No, but it's definitely not her best.
  45. Jul 22, 2012
    Ceremonials is really baroque and haunting and one of the best album released in 2011. Thanks to songs like What The Water Gave Me (a masterpiece!), Shake it Out, Leave My Body, Never Let Me Go and Spectrum this album won't leave your head & while listening to it you'll have the feeling of participating in some kind of old ceremony or ritual to get rid of the devil inside of you (or whatever, it doesn't really matter at all). Expand
  46. Oct 3, 2012
    I see lots of "smart" reviews, as if we, the users, are real critics in the music industry. It's true, the album is great, compared to these days music, which is absolutely rubbish. But perfection these days is a must, and unfortunately the album needed a little bit of mastering. Still, the album is fun, has clever lyrics, and Florence's voice is different from other female musicians.
  47. Apr 12, 2013
    My favourite album of all time.

    I challenge anyone to find a single flaw in Florence's masterful lyrics, incredible & coherent production as well as overall theme of the album.
  48. Dec 31, 2012
    Amazing album. Florence's powerful vocals alone would make it worth hearing, but it's much more than that, the instrumentals and choir give much deeper experience than the already great Lungs. The songs lost a little of the dancing feel of it's predecessor, it's more dark and complex without losing power. A really unique experience, when you think the best has passed, the last 4 songs show you were very wrong. Expand
  49. Jan 24, 2013
    Florence has gone much heavier on Cermonials. Her lyrics are darker, her tunes are moodier, and her beats are more powerful and deep - any previous fans of Lungs will not be disappointed.
  50. Feb 2, 2013
    Florence the Machine have done it again! Ceremonials is a great album, songs like "Shake It Out "Spectrum," and "Lover to Lover" are great examples. Although this album isn't as fun as Lungs, it still is wonderful, exactly what you would expect from Florence.
  51. Feb 21, 2013
    A masterpiece of Florence the Machine. An excellent elaboration of every minute of all the songs and an amazing voice of Florence Welch that simply transports us to unknown worlds of which we won't want to return.
  52. Mar 24, 2013
    This Album Is Just The Best Damn Thing I've Ever Heard!
  53. Nov 27, 2013
    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, 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.
  54. Apr 30, 2014
    Should have at least been nominated for Album of the Year, even if it doesn't win. The epicness of this album and the individuality of the songs match the theme of having ceremonials perfectly.
  55. Jun 17, 2014
    I love this album. It dives more towards art or arena rock with huge ballads, while featuring some genre-bending tracks such as "Lover to Lover" which dives into soul. As a whole, this album delivers an uplifting, deep, spiritual experience, as demonstrated by tracks such as "What the Water Gave Me" "Never Let Me Go" and "Shake It Out". With the beautiful voice of Florence Welch, and the instrumentals that enhance the experience even more, Ceremonials is no sophomore slump. Towards the end, some tracks become a bit diluted by over-production, but don't let that throw you off because the meaning, emotion, and spirituality in them still never disappoint. The only song that is truly disappointing on this album is Seven Devils, which seems a bit overdone and meaningless. Still, it features great tracks, some even written entirely by Florence herself (Breaking Down and Lover to Lover), that all demonstrate the talent and originality that this band has, even with a tad of over-production. Expand

Generally favorable reviews - based on 36 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 22 out of 36
  2. Negative: 0 out of 36
  1. Oct 9, 2012
    Ceremonials is gorgeous head-to-toe, making grand statements with heavy syntax, but paradoxically, it's light as air.
  2. 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.
  3. Jan 10, 2012
    For all the florid curlicues and crescendos, Welch's second album is light on true beauty, real idiosyncrasy. [Dec. 2011, p.94]