“Hunger” is the second single off of “High As Hope”, the long awaited album from highly praised British indie band Florence + The Machine.
“At seventeen I started to starve myself/I thought that love was a kind of emptiness/And at least then I understood then the hunger I felt/And I didn’t have to call it loneliness”. This is how Florence Welch opens “Hunger” – straight to the point and filled to the brim with emotion, much like her other songs. The opening line sets the theme for the rest of the song, as Welch uses her experiences with eating disorders to describe the hunger she felt in other parts of her life. The pre-chorus is comprised of Florence admitting that no one ever found an answer to their loneliness, but it’s fine because they can have fun and use their bodies, and to not let anyone get them down. The chorus consists of Welch singing “we all have a hunger”, over and over. “I thought that love was in the drugs/But the more I took, the more it took away/And I could never get enough/I thought love was on the stage, give yourself to strangers/You don’t have to be afraid”. In the second verse, Florence sings how she thought she could find love in drugs, but just realised that it was extremely self-destructive and hurtful to herself, and the more she indulged in it, the more of herself she felt she was losing. She also sings how she thought that love could be “giving yourself” on stage to people you don’t know, so she would no longer be afraid. The track ends with the post-chorus, with Welch singing that it’s Friday Night, and she’s going to wear her pink dress even if people make comments about it.
“The song was never meant to be a song,” Florence Welch stated in a post on her Instagram. “It was a poem, written in an effort to understand the ways I looked for love in things that were not love. I was never thinking it would be a song, but maybe that’s the point. And by singing it out loud, together we become a choir, a chorus, higher than the hurt, louder than loneliness.” But this isn’t all Welch has said about the song. She also told Annie Mac that the song is also “a celebration of how much I see young people changings things, like, ‘No, I wanna look this way.’ They’re just so switched on and engaged and they’re not gunna be told how they should look and behave. I was really lost when I was a teenager, I was really confused and sad, so I feel really inspired by the young women I see today.” Welch also stated how hard it was for her to release the track, as due to the sensitive nature of the song (discussing eating disorders), and how it was only a topic she had recently discussed and been truthful about with her mother.
The music video has over 23 million views and was directed by AG Rojas, who also directed another track of hers “Sky Full of Song”. The video shows Florence singing and dancing in the halls of an old mansion, with the occasional shot of black and white shots of groups of men either on their own or together. There is also a statue shown throughout that starts off being covered with a blanket, with holes in it. As the music video progresses, the statue slowly gets covered with plants and flowers, perhaps signifying the hunger that’s been filled. The video ends with a completely covered statue, and the words “How many have to die so that you can feel loved.”, show on a black screen.
Release Date: 3rd May 2018
Song Length: 3:35
Songwriter/s: Florence Welch, Emile Haynie, Thomas Bartlett & Tobias Jesso Jr.
Album: High As Hope (2018)
Music Video Release Date: 3rd May 2018
Music Video Director: AG Rojas
Music Video Producer: Park Pictures
Chart Rankings: It reached #1 in the US Billboard’s Adult Alternative Songs chart, #41 in the UK Singles Official Charts, #6 in New Zealand, #20 in Belgium, and #2 in Iceland.