The London-bred Florence + the Machine frontwoman, 25, who just released her ''MTV Unplugged'' live album and is currently touring the U.S., talks to EW about the songs that shaped her
The first song I was obsessed with
There was a lot of early Green Day, and a lot of No Doubt’s Tragic Kingdom. The first single I bought was Eminem‘s [right] ”My Name Is.” That song was really big for me.
The song that reminds me of my first kiss
I was 11, and it was on a trampoline. I was listening to a lot of grunge at the time, so it’d probably have to be a Hole track like ”Violet.” I remember feeling like, ”Oh my God, that was gross. I’m never doing that again.”
The song that reminds me of home
I guess it’d have to be an English song, like ”Underwear” by Pulp, which I’d listened to growing up. Or maybe ”Heaven Knows I’m Miserable Now” by the Smiths. It always reminds me of London.
The song that makes me think of my family
I remember listening to Velvet Underground’s ”Venus in Furs” while riding around in the car with my dad. And [psych-rock legends] Love’s ”AndMoreAgain”! That’s a favorite of my dad’s old records. And ”Silent Night,” the hymn. My grandmother would make me sing it every Christmas, and she would weep.
The song that reminds me of college
Joy Division’s ”Love Will Tear Us Apart.” We used to go to the indie discos and dance wildly to that. Oh, and Simian Mobile Disco’s ”We Are Your Friends.”
The song that always makes me cry
”Lacrimosa” by Mozart. That’s a real tearjerker. Just listening to it — it’s so heartbreaking.
The song that reminds me of my first love
I first fell in love with a guy who was in a punk band called the Ludes, so I was mainly listening to his music. It’s pretty obscure, so I’m not sure if anyone would know it, but I guess I’d have to pick ”Girl With One Eye” — a Ludes song that I used to cover live and then later recorded for our first album.
The song people might not expect me to love
[Luniz’s mid-’90s rap classic] ”I Got 5 on It.” Amazing! The bass line is so incredible. It’s, like, spooky and sexy at the same time.
My favorite song to perform
Right now I’m enjoying performing ”Shake It Out,” just because it’s a really good one live. It’s kind of about getting through something or seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. When you’re on tour and things can get worrying, that song’s always a good one. But I’ve gotten tired of singing ”Howl,” just because it’s really hard on my voice.
The song I wish I had written
”Green Grass” by Tom Waits [”right”]. Really, anything by Tom Waits. I wish I was Tom Waits. His songs are so visceral and bloody. I just love his use of imagery.
The songs I play when I’m getting ready to go out
”Bad Girls” by M.I.A. And it’s got the best video. Absolutely incredible! The best I’ve seen in years. I also like to play Azealia Banks”’212” when I’m about to go out. And the Drake album Take Care is a really good one too — I think Drake [left] makes everyone want to party.
My karaoke jam
Bonnie Tyler’s ”Total Eclipse of the Heart.” That one all the way. I really go for it and belt it out.