Here, Florence Welch reflects on those holes in our psyche that we fruitlessly try to fill with obsessions or addictions. "This song is about the ways we look for love in things that are perhaps not love, and how attempts to feel less alone can sometimes isolate us more," said Welch. "I guess I made myself more vulnerable in this song to encourage connection, because perhaps a lot more of us feel this way than we are able to admit. Sometimes when you can't say it, you can sing it."
Welch hadn't intended the "Hunger" lyrics to be set to music. She explained: "This song was never meant to be a song. 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."
This was released as the first official single from High as Hope. The album title takes its name from the daily view of the skyline in New York where Welch mixed the record. The striking sight she felt was a stark contrast to the chaos of the wider world.
The accompanying music video was directed by Spanish director AG Rojas - who has worked with the likes of Calvin Harris ("Drinking From the Bottle
)" and Jack White ("Sixteen Saltines
"). The clip finds Welch letting loose and break out into dance at an art museum.
The song starts with Florence Welch referencing an eating disorder that she struggled with as a teenager.
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
Welch admitted to The Independent that she was tempted to change the lyric as she feared people would be angry with her for discussing her condition. "I never thought I would talk about it," she said. "I didn't really talk about it with my mum until really recently. So to put it in a song – it's like, what am I doing?"
Florence Welch explained to ABC Radio
that with "Hunger," she was trying to "Trojan-horse a really big, potentially totally unanswerable spiritual question into a pop song."
"'Cause if you don't know what is going on and you don't know what to do, you can dance about it!" Welch added laughing. "To all jump into the ball pool of sadness together seemed like a fun thing to do."
In an interview with Rolling Stone, Welch talked about her family's reaction to singing about her eating disorder, saying: "My sister was like, 'What are you doing? Are you OK? You haven't spoken about this even with Mom, and you've put it in a pop song? What's wrong with you?' I was like, 'Yeah, I don't know what I'm doing.' But it opened up a lot of stuff in my family that was good in the end. I did sit down and talk it through with my mom. But it's funny: With English people, you have the talk and then everyone just carries on, just like, 'OK, that's dealt with. We put that in the drawer and we go on."