Whether it’s the copious amounts of fanart with glittering, scaling tails or the trident-holding merfolk Lego sets we’re bound to complete in an hour, Halle Bailey’s much-buzzed-about take on The Little Mermaid has everyone opting out of the land to return to the sea, and Florence + The Machine is no exception! A disclaimer that their track ‘Mermaids’ doesn’t technically tie into the Disney flick—you know, in case you’re keeping your ears peeled for its haunting melody—but seeing upon scrolling through Florence Welch’s TikTok page that she was recently spotted in a bathtub, her own green tail flopping out of it with rustic foliage scattered around, we’re going to say that she’s one of us! Even if the writing process started all the way back in 2019, again, semantics!
All we know is that everywhere we look, we’re being pulled from the vampire and werewolf eras into one centered around the ocean’s mythology. It is a mythology with various types attached to it, meaning that different countries have their own variations of the mermaid, and now’s the best time to get into it, right? To do so, we’ve picked three different types—the siren, encantado, and aicaya—and attached them to a particular poem on Dance Fever (Complete Edition) that best conveys their aura. Our objective is that by the time you’re done with this article, you’ll know which mermaid best fits your personality and, therefore, which poem of Florence + The Machine’s we’ll have to look out for you speaking along to in an attempt to lure us to our deaths, all very true to the sacrificial nature of ‘Mermaids.’
So, generally speaking, if a warning sign were put up at your local beach stating which mermaids to stay far away from, it would definitely be the siren, the most egotistical of the bunch! Oh, and carry earplugs around them, too, because you never quite know when they’ll have you in a melodic trance. However, if we were to read into the psychological nature of sirens, we would arrive at ‘King (Poem Version).’ Essentially, whether spoken or sung, its lyrics speak of survival, particularly of being a woman in the music industry, starting from the very opening line, “We argue in the kitchen about whether to have children / About the world ending and the scale of my ambition,” on which one she should prioritize: her career or the desire to have a family.
The most striking lyrics are in the second verse: “And what strange claws are thеse scratching at my skin? / I never knew my killer would be coming from within”—and it’s uncomfortable and unsettling. That’s precisely what Florence’s lyrics do, though. When thinking about the siren, are they necessarily evil if the thing that drives them to kill is a body instinct? And in Florence’s case, something that’s supposed to be simple for a female cannot become so when figuring out if they should put their identity as artists second to their desire for family.
In comparison, an Encantado is a weredolphin you want around if you’re a fisherman, as they help them with their duties during storms, but if you’re a young girl, swiping left on them is probably the best thing to do! As part of Brazilian culture, every Festa Junina they go from being a playful pink dolphin into an attractive man, seeking to seduce and impregnate others. Yep, some dolphin-humans are lurking somewhere, and we’re not quite sure which contraceptive would be needed to opt out of it! Therefore, since it’s quite literally there in the title, we’re giving ‘My Love (Poem Version)’ to our lover weredolphins. “I don’t know where to put my love,” Florence sings during the chorus—hopefully nowhere near us!
Aicaya mermaids have a much softer vibe to them, being the martyrs of the Caribbean Sea. It’s all due to their tragic origin stories, starting as humans and then being banished to the waters, and since then, they have been scouring for other outcasts so they can be a part of their tribe and thus not alone. We’re also pretty sure one of them is called ‘Cassandra,’ and Florence penned a whole song after them!
Tbh, it is speaking of a mythological creature: the Greek Trojan priestess Cassandra, whom Apollo cursed after her mystical revelations weren’t believed. Casting herself into the role of Cassandra, Florence went from being able to predict the process of her music to being in isolation during the pandemic, not being able to tour. Thereby, her prophetic nature was lost.
To discuss ‘Mermaids,’ we must start with the harrowing production after the intro. We’re sorry, but there’s no way of escaping our squeal about it before we, of course, get into the more serious stuff like lyric analysis, but for now, we’re here. Just after the intro, if you need reminding, there’s this mixture of drums and horns. Imagine that sound can foretell any sort of emotion without needing to speak. In that case, this is feeling powerful enough for an army of mermaids to come out of the water, dressed to the remarkable nines, and creating an illusion of enchantment you can’t quite break away from, thirsting for blood or liquor. Florence said it first, but it’s a drunk girl’s anthem, “Sea foam woman on the shore,” and “And the dance floor is filling up with blood.”
Florence’s writing ability shines so brilliantly in the bridge, illustrating exactly what she wanted: being on the outskirts of a scene you once were involved in, full of life and hope. Throughout the song, she recounts the memories of when she was there, “It makes my chest hurt to think of it / Not of regret, but of missing that.” Still, the years have aged you a little, and by society’s expectations, you shouldn’t be involved in it. We’re far too mature to experience “cheerful oblivion.” Even more so, there’s a sense of the mermaids coming to that realization themselves because, despite it being this spectacle, Florence meticulously pens that they only come once a year: “And the mermaids, they come once a year / They climb the struts of Brighton Pier.”
Dance Fever On The Seabed
Which poem from Dance Fever (Complete Edition) is your mermaid’s call? Is it ‘King,’ ‘My Love,’ or ‘Cassandra?’ Let us know through our Twitter account, @thehoneypop. The band continues to be on tour, exploring Europe this time around, and it’s a beautiful place to hear the song live in person if you can make it. Check out the dates here!