Breaking Down

Album: Ceremonials (2012)

Songfacts®:

  • Florence Welch, the frontwoman and primary contributor to Florence + the Machine, wrote much of her debut album, Lungs, about breaking up with her long term boyfriend, Stuart Hammond. The pair later patched things up and got back together but they eventually spilt up again. This track, which evokes both mental fragility and childhood fears was inspired by the ending of their relationship for a second time. Florence told Q magazine: "I really did feel like I was breaking down several times, it's true. Felt totally mad."
  • Some of the lyrics on Ceremonials are very dark, including those on this song: "All alone. Even when I was a child, I've always known there was something to be frightened of." Mojo magazine asked Welch if anyone expressed concern for her after reading the lyrics. She replied: "My mum did. I was like, 'I think this is part of my process of figuring it out.' I think she should be more worried if I'm not writing about it. 'Cos then I'd be internalising it, and that'd be worse."
  • The song's vintage music video includes footage of the band's tour across America as we see snippets of Welch and co in Los Angeles, Las Vegas and New Orleans. It was shot in an old-fashioned Super 8 film format by Tabitha Denholm, who is one half of the English indie/disco duo Queens of Noize. She has previously worked with Florence + the Machine on several of their previous clips, including the ones for "Cosmic Love" and "Rabbit Heart."

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