If Blue Could Be Happiness, LP | Florist | 2017
by Allison Gliesman
In their second full-length album, bedroom folk-pop outfit Florist offers a lesson in beauty that is beautiful in and of itself.
There isn’t a moment of this record that feels unintentional. With swelling synths and squeaky strings, If Blue Could Be Happiness continually demands attention in its understatedness. Subtle textures and cleverly simple instrumentals fold neatly in support of Sprague’s gentle melodies, wrapping you in a warm blanket of sound.
These soundscapes are the perfect vehicle for Sprague’s lyrics, matching the same delicate complexity with lines that feel more like candid thoughts, transporting you to an almost tangible place. Their lyricism unravels the intricacies of being alive with a unique voice that holds both innocence and wisdom, allowing color and light to orchestrate shifts in mood.
In “What I Wanted to Hold,” they call upon colors like yellow, violet, and blue to construct a clear sense of nostalgia as it relates to the impermanence of life. Sprague tiptoes around the idea of death with an oddly optimistic attitude, using it to emphasize the beauty in fleeting moments as they insist, “I’m alive and I’m okay / The air is light blue today.”
Alternately, white and grey take the foreground in “Understanding Light.” With an almost opposite outlook, they describe an emblematic “darkness” and take a more frank approach to death that’s manipulated by fear. Through soft twinkles of piano notes and wind-like sounds pulling you into a melancholic dream state, Sprague asks, “Why can’t I find a place to hide from the darkness? / I want to live in the blueness,” yearning for the return of color and light to their life.
Sprague takes a particular interest in the color blue, as evidenced by the work’s title, contrasting its common links to sadness by using it to render feelings of joy and hopefulness. This speaks to how arbitrary our preconceived views can be and how we can alter our own personal perspectives to see life however we choose.
With If Blue Could Be Happiness, Florist maintains a gorgeously engaging look into the fragile beauty that surrounds us. In its closing, Sprague’s chosen final remark is, “I understand the birds now that I’ve learned some things,” spitting you back out into the reality of the world with a greater awareness of its vibrance.