After revealing the music videos for “What Kind of Man” and “How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful,” Florence and the Machine moved to premiere the music video for her next single, “St. Jude.” Vincent Haycock, who has previously worked with Calvin Harris, Lana del Rey, and Paul McCartney, directs the new music video. The video is very similar to “What Kind of Man” as Florence Welch is dealing with past affairs, missteps, arguments, and all the emotions of a slippery relationship on the rocks. It’s a gorgeously somber look deep into the soul of Florence as she’s “trying to find the meaning.”
The video opens with a swarm of insects in the sky, while a topless woman with long red hair, who oddly resembles Florence from behind, kneels on the ground and her arms lifted up. The video pans away until we see a man, who is a little bruised up, is holding Florence and they are both standing in pouring down rain. The house they are in is barren, dilapidated, and worn. It’s very obvious that there’s some trouble between the two of them, and they seem to be at their emotional breaking points.
As Florence walks away down the street, she passes by a swarm of children playing, which signifies the lack of children in her own life and the lack of a solid family structure in her relationship. She keeps walking, and we see the same woman from the opening shot, who is still facing away from the camera. Now, she is at the forefront of some rustic church, still on her knees. There’s obviously some disconnect between where Florence is at physically and emotionally. She’s having trouble focusing, dealing with life, and finding the right space to thoroughly think through her current emotions.
The gorgeous one-take, right at dusk, is a wonderful capture of the expressive emotive nature of “St. Jude.” As Florence ever so gently sings the pre-chorus, we understand the grounding behind her words, as the camera depicts her drenched in water, looking lost, and trying to find herself. “And I’m learning, so I’m leaving / And even though I’m grieving / I’m trying to find the meaning / Let loss reveal it / Let loss reveal it.” Through leaving the one she cares about and loves can she fully find her true self. In the chorus, she sings, “I’ve always been more comfortable in chaos,” which makes sense given the overtly expressive and grandiose nature of Florence and the Machine. However, on “St. Jude” we see a naked and stripped down version of the pop sensation, and it’s as moving as she’s ever been.
As the video ends with Florence falling harshly to her knees, with her arms spread out, looking up at the swarming locust, we realize she has found herself. Even though, her current state has her helpless, drenched, and drained of energy, she has finally come full circle and a step closer to figuring out her current mindset towards her relationship. If the next few singles and videos off of How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful are as bold, brilliant, and impassioned as “What Kind of Man” and “St. Jude” are, then Florence may be hitting her artistic peak and breaking new grounds very soon.