How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful - 4 years on

(c) Tom Beard

(c) Tom Beard

Florence + the Machine’s deeply personal, firestorm on an album How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful turns 4 years old this week. It was an album written during one of the lowest points of Florence Welch’s life, detailing a journey of heartbreak, through disbelief and anger, bargaining, and finally to release.

That’s what makes the album to special. The meandering journey of heart-ache and toxicity, and the struggle for something higher is a universal one; one we can all somehow relate to, whether it being experiences with a lover, a friendship, or just a rough patch in one’s life. It’s why this album has undoubtably been one of the best received from the band’s portfolio thus far, and to celebrate its cultural and personal significance to fans across the globe, we asked you to share with us the ways in which it has changed you, and we were moved by all of your stories and revelations. Whilst we couldn’t feature them all, here’s a selection:

It’s actually pretty difficult to put into words how important HBHBHB is to me. It’s honestly one of the most important things I’ve ever had in my life. It helped me recognize and deal with the trauma of an abusive relationship. Every song on the album matched my experience perfectly. It’s helped me forgive and be more kind to myself. To love myself. To love the fire within me but to also love my sensitivity. It’s gotten me through a lot of loss and heartache. It’s the source of my first tattoo. It’s helped me realize there is something beyond the pain of whatever I’m experiencing at the moment. To survive my circumstance. It made me feel understood and helped me find strength within myself when I thought I had nothing left to give. It gave me hope and determination. Very few things have had as much of an impact on my life as this album. I’ll be forever indebted to Florence for the honesty and wisdom she puts into her songs. I’ve even told my therapist about it, how these particular songs continue to impact my life and teach me valuable lessons. If I could only listen to one record for the rest of my life, HBHBHB would definitely be my choice.
— Heather
It changed me. I was going through a bad breakup and it really spoke to me. I love how third eye finishes with such a positive message. Also, I made my hubby fan of Florence. We danced to one of her songs on our wedding two months ago.
— Roberto
This album came when I lost one of my best friends in a car accident (strange when you see the Odyssey movie, isn’t it ?). The mourning took a lot of time and was so painful ... But listening to FATM helped me so much, “various saints and storms” was a great therapy to me. This year I had the chance to see them live, and I heard some songs that helped me during these hard times. So today it only means positive things and love :) <3
— Lara
“Make up your mind. Let me leave or let me love you.”
Didn’t think these words would ever mean so much to me.
Prophetic. Beautiful. Painful. Open. Florence.
— Sam
(c) Emma Isabella / Vincent Haycock

(c) Emma Isabella / Vincent Haycock

I was going through such a chaotic time in my life, all of which stemmed from my depression and my inability to deal with it. This album spoke all of the pain that I could not, and it reminded me of the hope and beauty outside of my sorrow. It’s deeply personal to me.
— Corey
Can we talk for a moment about third eye? this song is one of the reasons why I have tattoed one on my finger; this song means the world to me, it really lifts me up every single time, it basically reminds you how amazing you are no matter the heartache.
— Enrique
I found lungs and then ceremonials during a really dark time in my life and the music of those albums spoke to me so much then letting me know I was not alone and other people feel this way too. How big How blue How beautiful then came out and reminded me to celebrate all of the beautiful pieces of this life even through the craziness
— Natalie
This will always be on my top albums list. The images that the lyrics & melodies evoke in my mind are ethereal & otherworldly, and opens up my creative channels. Whenever I need to sink into myself, I go to this album. It takes me to another realm. A metaphysical masterpiece.
— Heather
In many ways. This album open my mind to a music that I never imagine can exist. She’s my star. My favourite song in the life is How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful. It’s my hymn.
— Marlén
Mother is life affirming. I belong to the ground now and it belongs to me. I love the way it makes me feel. Happy, sad, uplifting and beautiful. It’s a modern hymn celebrating our mother earth and how connected I feel to everything and everyone around me.
— Dave
It’s the album that came out in the year my life started rollercoastering, and it’s been the perfect soundtrack for it then, now and will be for a long time to come. Never knew I was a dancer till Delilah showed me how
— Federico
(c) Emma Isabella

(c) Emma Isabella

This album got me through the darkest, toughest time in my life. It held me when I had no one to & gave me a safe space to mourn & process, but still feel joy. It made me feel so understood & reminded me I was never alone. I’ll ALWAYS be grateful for HBHBHB.
— Daniela
It came at the right moment. I desperately needed someone who was able to put into words what I was going through ‘cause I could not.Some songs hit me harder than others (Mother, VSAS, Third Eye, Ship to Wreck, St Jude) but all of it and also the Odyssey had been cathartic for me
— Shelley
I got into FATM last year, and HBHBHB specifically helped me after my ex boyfriend (who was also my best friend) finally went our separate ways. I felt like the album truly related to everything I was going through and it helped me move on and finally feel happy and hopeful again
— Morgan
How Big, How Blue cradled me through one of the hardest times of my life, when I received news that turned my world upside down. Sometimes hard to listen now because of that, but so many pieces of that record are deeply important to me 💙 over the glowing hill I will conquer ✨
— Lindsay
My god words can’t even express, let’s just say that it changed my life forever. In good and bad, terrible ways. But Florence has been my north star since I was 17 and for that I am forever grateful. (God, this album is everything, the peak of her career however, in my opinion)
— Yousfi
It all started with Wish That You Were Here in 2016.
As a big fan of Tim Burton, I watched one of my most awaited film in 2016. It’s Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children. As the end credits goes by, I was definitely captured or hooked by the melody of the ending song credits. I waited it until the rolling credits then I saw the name Florence and The Machine. I searched and played it in Youtubr and it was definitely catchy and beautiful to listen with. Then I decided to download the band’s whole discography for being amazed by Florence’s powerful vocals. From Ceremonials, Lungs, How Big How Blue How Beautiful, Songs from Final Fantasy XV, High As Hope her singles Breath of Life, Over the Love, and some covers like Tiny Dancer, Halo and many more.
What caught me was Welch’s captivating, beautiful, melodious and powerful vocals. And special thanks to HBHBHB full music video. It definitely helped my depression by listening to her songs in the album. Third Eye really helped a lot as one of her most beautifully written, sung and delivered. It helped me to live and continue my life.
— "Horrid Henry"
My mental health has never been 100% but every time I listen I feel 100% because I go to another place where I can just be me and not worry about anything
— Jacintha

Thank you to everyone who wrote in to us, sharing their personal thoughts and stories. Feel free to leave your story in the comments below.

If you’d like to feature in one of our fan-feature posts, simply drop us a line using our submissions form.