Picks and Pans Main: Music
Florence + the Machine
The year began with Adele defying the sophomore slump in spectacular fashion. As the year winds down, another soulful British chanteuse-Florence Welch-releases a sublime second album that just may be even better than her first, 2009’s blow-you-away Lungs. (Interestingly, both this and Adele’s 21 feature writing and production by Paul Epworth.) Possessing an almost mystical power, Ceremonials feels like the anointment of a new rock goddess. Indeed, Flo sounds as if she is leading a warrior tribe on tracks like the rousing “Shake It Out,” with its chant-like chorus, while there’s a goth spookiness to cuts like “What the Water Gave Me” that will put a spell on you.