This edition’s subject line is taken from Florence + The Machine’s new track, King.
In it, Florence Welch explores the price of making art as a woman, writing in the opening lines:
We argue in the kitchen about whether to have children / About the world ending and the scale of my ambition / And how much is art really worth
“As an artist, I never actually thought about my gender that much, I just got on with it. I was as good as the men and I just went out there and matched them every time. But now, thinking about being a woman in my 30s and the future, I suddenly feel this tearing of my identity and my desires. That to be a performer, but also to want a family might not be as simple for me as it is for my male counterparts"
The song continues:
But a woman is a changeling/ Always shifting shape/ Just when you think you have it figured out/ Something new begins to take
Writing for Nylon
, Steffanee Wang interprets the line “strange claws… scratching at my skin” as representing Welch’s foreign desire of suddenly wanting a family:
“I never knew my killer would be coming from within,” she sings, characterizing her own bubbling desires as a force that could potentially kill her career.
For me, it definitely felt like I would have to choose, depending on how I wanted to use my body for the next couple of years. And the rage was so acute. It was frustration as well. Just the frustration, which I think is the scream at the end of it. I think a reading of this song would be to oversimplify it, to be like she’s against these things. I am not a mother, I’m not a bride. And the rage is not that I’m against them, it’s the rage that actually, I feel completely split. I feel like I’m being torn in two.