This song is Florence Welch's homage to the American singer-songwriter Patti Smith.
Oh Patricia, you've always been my North Star, oh
Polaris, commonly the North Star or Pole Star, is a yellow-white supergiant in the constellation of Ursa Minor. It is the brightest variable star in the night sky and has been used for navigation purposes since the medieval period. Welch is likening Smith to the stellar object saying both have guided her on her way, and have been a constant presence in her life. She told the BBC:
"I've always loved her and it was actually through her writing that I feel I really got to know her. She writes about life in such a beautiful way that it seems to endow even the smallest things with a sense of spirituality or reverence. Whether it's going to the coffee shop or what you eat for breakfast in the morning. She kind of elevates everything and it was like a little north star to follow as like how to have a creative life as a whole."
Welch talked about this song and Smith's influence in a Rolling Stone interview. "I was thinking about how to live creatively without chaos," she said. "Her writing was like a blueprint. She seems to bring such reverence to the act of living that I find so inspiring."
KT Tunstall's 2005 hit single "Suddenly I See" was also inspired by Patti Smith, in that instance by Robert Mapplethorpe's photograph of the punk icon on the cover of her 1975 album Horses.