“My Boy Builds Coffins” - Florence and the Machine
It is immediately evident that this rendition of the song is quite different from the one featured on Florence Welch’s debut album Lungs. I believe I picked up this deeper, reverberating track in early 2009, before the hype began to build for this English artist and her band, the Machine. My first instinct tells me that I lifted it from a recording of a live performance that struck me as powerful and clear enough, but it may have been from one of the many many demo EPs and the like I was collecting at the time. I labeled its album name as “pre-Lungs” for lack of alternative. Unfortunately, I could not find it for sale anywhere when I looked today for the sake of this post, so you’ll be hard pressed to find it somewhere other than on YouTube or here.
Regardless of its origin in my personal collection, this raw, big recording of “My Boy Builds Coffins” is a favorite out of my entire musical library. Welch has mentioned that the inspiration for its lyrics came from dating a fellow at one point who skipped a date with her because he had to build an actual coffin to use in the cover art of his band’s album. Of course, the story told in the song is more extensive. It can be interpreted to simply praise the work of an otherwise thankless laborer, or to muse upon the Great Unifier that is death.
Meaning aside, though, it remains one thing: a song to be belted out with every last bit of air in one’s lungs and all of the heart between them.