Florence & the Machine’s version of Hospital Beds is not just a song.
It is a euphoric eulogy to times gone by, a celebration of nostalgia-ridden memories yet to be written.
Being that it is a cover of Cold War Kids’ 2006 track from Robbers & Cowards, Florence’s hauntingly beautiful spin gives this song an additional level of insight previously unseen. If you were to compare the original version to Florence & the Machine’s, you would notice the latter is far more stripped back than the former. I think the decision to use just an acoustic guitar and a few drums behind Florence’s voice suits the song just as well as the more diverse instrumentation of the original version suits its respective self.
If you listen closely, you can hear the beginnings of what Florence & the Machine is as a band today. From the memorable a cappella verse to open this song, to the explosive yet abrupt ending 2 minutes later, it’s easy to hear the emotion the 3-piece version of the band put behind this recording. This song was included as a B-Side to this band’s most popular hit, Dog Days Are Over, during its initial release. I think, after one listen, you can tell why Dog Days got to be so popular. Hospital Beds is simply a different kind of song.
I chose to write about it because of its value in my own life -- it was the first song I heard by this band, and it was the first song I performed at my own first show. Middle school me didn’t do it any justice, because I hadn’t yet experienced for myself the types of joy and misery Florence expressed through her slightly-older mind. That didn’t stop me from trying though, because there is no one, young or old, who does not know the exquisite pain of celebrating the past through reliving its memory.
Listen to a more recent version of this song (from April 16th, 2015) here.