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Florence and the Machine: Seven Devils Meaning

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Song Released: 2011


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[Florence]
Holy water cannot help you now
A thousand armies couldn't keep me out
I don't want your money
I don't want your crown
See I have to tell you
You're a ...

Holy water cannot help you now
See I've come to burn your kingdom...

  1. 1TOP RATED

    anonymous
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    Oct 22nd, 2014 10:54pm report


    This song could be (literally) about the 'seven deadly' sins that all people struggle with in their daily lives and that tear apart relationships. The nasty little things that cause evil and corruption in a persons life.

    The devils are the tempting thoughts that urge people to 'give in,' and do evil. They don't want your money, or your kingdom, or riches, but to corrupt and steal your happiness and your soul. 'Holy water can't help you now' because in the end it's up to the person being tempted to decide their choices, they can't hide behind anything. Not a 'thousand armies,' not other people, only yourself.

    All people, in relationships, in their jobs, and in their own heads, are always being assaulted to some degree by negative thoughts or urges that can be detrimental to them and those around them if they give in to those feelings. Unrestrained Lust leads to unfaithfulness and assault, Wrath can blind you and cause others harm, envy leaves you unsatisfied, greed can make you loose sight of truly important things in life, sloth (laziness) keeps you from your potential, gluttony keeps you from ever being satisfied and pride causes ignorance and false ego.

    Sin is considered to make a person spiritually 'dead', hence the lyrics 'I was dead when I woke up this morning and I'll be dead before the day is done'. Florence is stating the dark truth that these evils are always there and that people regularly participate in them; making you dead when you wake up, and, because even after realizing that you shouldn't do something people still do it, you are dead when the day is done.

    The song is a warning to be aware of the dark part of your mind, to acknowledge that is exists and what it can do to you so that you can try to fight it down before it kills your joy and steals your life. The lines 'it takes your heart, and it takes your soul,' describe this. While the lines 'its a battle cry' depict a persons internal struggle. 'it's a symphony' tells of how ingrained it truly is in a persons life, having already become part of someone's "song of life" and making it seem more appealing to draw people in.



  2.  

    anonymous
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    Oct 9th, 10:02am report


    Florence + the Machine (F+M) is very well known for the symbolism in her music. Often there are religious undertones as well. I don’t know how anyone doesn’t make those connections with Seven Devils. But what always interests me with music is how it can relate to other media. At the time in my life where I listened to the album Ceremonials I was getting into the series Battle Star Galactica (reboot). It is an excellent show before season 4 but what really resonated with me is how this song ties to the Cylons. The sound and religious undertones really support this. It is very interesting.

    ~ Holy water cannot help you down
    Hours and armies couldn't keep me out
    I don't want your money
    I don't want your crown
    See I have to burn
    Your kingdom down ~

    In the series the Cylons (very complex but simply put, humanoid robots) are mostly motivated to destroy the humans. Part of it is vengeance, part of it is religious. They have no interest in the possessions of the humans, the majority seek to destroy their civilization and advance their own. Their kingdom.

    ~ Holy water cannot help you now
    See I've had to burn your kingdom down
    And no rivers and no lakes can put the fire out
    I'm gonna raise the stakes, I'm gonna smoke you out ~

    In the series the Cylons employed weapons of mass destruction to destroy entire worlds and eradicate as much humanity as they could. There was nothing that could really prevent it. They also used the strategy of driving survivors out and collecting/exterminating them after flushing them out.

    ~ Seven devils all around you
    Seven devils in my house
    See they were there when I woke up this morning
    I'll be dead before the day is done
    Seven devils all around you
    Seven devils in your house
    See I was dead when I woke up this morning
    I'll be dead before the day is done
    Before the day is done ~

    The chorus sings of seven devils, which symbolically fits the Cylons as in the initial series there are seven Cylon models. Designed to look human and interact with humanity. Infiltrating society, often as sleeper agents. The only way to discern a human from a Cylon was initially to identify another member of the model (all models look mostly identical, hair color and other physical modifications could be made just like a human)(also it was probably very dangerous to be a twin D: ). This often meant a secluded group of humans would be harboring a Cylon agent completely unaware. Literally the seven devils could be in a house (or on a ship) unnoticed. Sometimes the Cylon itself is unaware of its true nature.

    ~ And now all your love will be exorcised
    And we will find you saying it's to be better now
    And it's an even sum
    It's a melody
    It's a battle cry
    It's a symphony ~

    This relates to several aspects of the Cylon human war. There are varying factors including the concept of sympathizers, which existed on both sides. It could also represent how the Cylons were attempting to blend genetically with the humans. (Weird, right?)

    ~ Seven devils all around you
    Seven devils in my house
    See they were there when I woke up this morning
    I'll be dead before the day is done

    Seven devils all around you
    Seven devils in your house
    See I was dead when I woke up this morning
    And I'll be dead before the day is done
    Before the day is done
    Before the day is done
    Before the day is done ~

    The other aspect of the Cylons that I feel the chorus reflects is their life state. Cylons are at their purest form, machines. When they die, their consciousness is usually uploaded into a new body. Essentially they have icloud for their brains. Sometimes it cannot happen but in most cases it does. This results in the frequent demise of individual cylons but ultimately the death is meaningless. So they literally awake from “death” and in some individual cases they “die” again to be reborn multiple times.

    ~ They can keep me high
    'Til I tear the walls
    'Til I save your heart
    And I take your soul
    And what have we done?
    Can I be undone?
    In the evil heart
    In the evil soul ~

    Lastly this is relatable to some of the more specific Cylon moments. It relates to the guilt some members of the Cylon models felt for what happened to humanity. Also it can tie back to the immortality aspect of their existence and how it conflicts with their religion. It is not as concrete as many of the other examples, but there is correlation.

    ~ Seven devils all around you
    Seven devils in your house
    See I was dead when I woke up this morning
    I'll be dead before the day is done
    Before the day is done ~

    Ultimately did F+M really create this song to tie back to the Cylon race in BSG? Probably not. I do think it is intriguing how well it fits though. I hope if you read all this, you enjoyed it.



  3.  

    anonymous
    click a star to vote
    Aug 27th, 2014 8:59pm report


    It sounds like she is getting revenge on someone.

    "Holy water cannot help you now
    Thousand armies couldn't keep me out
    I don't want your money
    I don't want your crown
    See I've come to burn your kingdom down"

    Someone has done something to her and now there is nothing they can do to stop her from getting back at them.

    "For what has been done
    Cannot be undone
    In the evil's heart
    In the evil's soul"

    They have already done something and they can't take it back and now she is out for revenge.


    I saw in another interpretation that is sounds like revenge and after listening to it again a couple times and seeing the lyrics this is what is sounds like to me also. Hope this helps :)



  4.  

    anonymous
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    Jul 23rd, 2014 7:06pm report


    For those looking at it from a universe perspective just know this much.

    Devils can't cast out devils in the name of Jesus. Therefore, Jesus is not evil. Hence, Christianity is holy and real because you can cast out a demon in the name of Jesus Christ..

    I pray that those who read this will have their spiritual eyes opened in the name of Jesus Christ.

    Amen

    If Satan drives out Satan, he is divided against himself. How then can his kingdom stand? And if I drive out demons by Beelzebul, by whom do your people drive them out? So then, they will be your judges. But if it is by the Spirit of God that I drive out demons, then the kingdom of God has come upon you.

    http://bible.com/111/mat.‭12‬.26.niv

    This interpretation has been marked as poor. view anyway


  5.  

    anonymous
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    Jul 7th, 2014 7:53pm report


    Jesus it's just a song. Cool though.

    This interpretation has been marked as poor. view anyway


  6.  

    anonymous
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    Jul 5th, 2014 7:45pm report


    I take this as a direct challenge to Christianity/Catholocism in the way that the Seven Devils are what religion uses to control you(Seven deadly sins). We are all manifested by these same "Seven Devils" but only the Church offers a path to overcome. Florence is wiser and stronger than all of that in her infinite grasp of the universe and the powers at play and is leading the charge. Biblical imagery like that of "thousand armies" cannot keep Truths most ardent warrior out. Some of Gods own greatest creations(rivers and lakes) won't be able to save them from this onslaught. A nod to the materialistic irony of this organized religion, she states she doesn't want all their riches or their Gods crown just to make them no longer exist so we can all see the truth. Only thing missing here is a flood and an Ark.

    With triumph comes all effects of Christianity being removed("All of your love will be exorcised"), as if a demon itself and we'll be freed from the fear of the devils and the Churches control. Only then will all of their "sayings"(The Gospels)be realized by the world as hate and evil which is the paradox to Love and Good.

    Shes playing Devils Advocate and saying Christianity is actually evil and she's gonna smoke it out. Fear the Florence! Such a powerful piece! Instant favorite.
    wowoklol@gmailDOTcom



  7.  

    anonymous
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    May 8th, 2014 5:00pm report


    "Seven Devils" is a story of an uncontrollable and incomprehensible anger in a desperate attempt to convey Florence's own helplessness to her emotions. The seven devils refer to the biblical account of St. Mary Magdalene, who, as a prostitute, was possessed by seven devils that left her without her freedom or desire to do good. Only after Jesus exorsiced these demons was Mary Magdalene able to regain her self control and express thankfulness to her Savior, becoming a saint after her death due to her good works. Florence expresses this anger and uncontrollable drive to destroy in the form of the story of Mary Magdalene and the Seven Devils. However, unlike St. Magdalene, Florence does not overcome her demons, but succumbs to them, saying she will "be dead before the day is done," perhaps succumbing helplessly and happily now that she has been avenged.



  8.  

    anonymous
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    May 4th, 2014 5:36pm report


    It is righteous destruction to the point of utterly annihilating one's existence. To kill is not enough; every last bastion of one's influence and achievement shall be completely obliterated. This is the only way to begin to move beyond the evil one has done, and the only way to restore balance. The seven devils are from the Bible, being the seven demons that plagued Mary Magdalene. We are told her affliction was so severe it was entirely debilitating, in effect destroying her life and identity. Only exorcism by the Messiah restored her humanity. In context, nothing short of define intervention can keep the punishment of ultimate torment from eradicating your being. I bring it now.



  9.  

    anonymous
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    Feb 12th, 2014 2:23am report


    I don't know the actual meaning, but is the soundtrack on a chapter of TV serie "revenge" and it's amazing how it fits the situation.



  10.  

    anonymous
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    Oct 5th, 2013 10:28am report


    Do at something to all of these interpretations, i have to say that i heard somewhere that this song was made for several different Tv shows/films

    This interpretation has been marked as poor. view anyway


  11.  

    anonymous
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    Sep 20th, 2013 9:19pm report


    It has to do with Doctor Who. The devils are his seven companions in a specific episode and how he turned them into weapons. It also refers to an episode where he knows that he will die before the day ends. Apparently She's a big Doctor Who fan.

    This interpretation has been marked as poor. view anyway


  12.  

    darkevee1030
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    Aug 3rd, 2013 8:13pm report


    i think its about 1.) it's about the evil or madness a man can have and when she said "she burn you kindom down" is meaning that it will destory everything you have 2.)it about you sins and evil a man can do. in both terms when she sang she "smoke you out" it means that it can follow you where you ever you go and you can't run away from it and holy water can't save you now it means either you've gone to far or that the deed was so evil nothing can wash it away. and basically when she say "she is dead in the mourning and is dead before the day is done means she either commited suside or she is planning to do it or people know what happened and is rioting up.



  13.  

    Awaken
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    Apr 9th, 2013 4:12pm report


    In the Lost Book of Mary Magdalen says this in chapter 8....
    Chapter 8:

    . . . it.

    10) And desire said, I did not see you descending, but now I see you ascending. Why do you lie since you belong to me?

    11) The soul answered and said, I saw you. You did not see me nor recognize me. I served you as a garment and you did not know me.

    12) When it said this, it (the soul) went away rejoicing greatly.

    13) Again it came to the third power, which is called ignorance.

    14) The power questioned the soul, saying, Where are you going? In wickedness are you bound. But you are bound; do not judge!

    15) And the soul said, Why do you judge me, although I have not judged?

    16) I was bound, though I have not bound.

    17) I was not recognized. But I have recognized that the All is being dissolved, both the earthly things and the heavenly.

    18) When the soul had overcome the third power, it went upwards and saw the fourth power, which took seven forms.

    19) The first form is darkness, the second desire, the third ignorance, the fourth is the excitement of death, the fifth is the kingdom of the flesh, the sixth is the foolish wisdom of flesh, the seventh is the wrathful wisdom. These are the seven powers of wrath.

    20) They asked the soul, Whence do you come slayer of men, or where are you going, conqueror of space?

    21) The soul answered and said, What binds me has been slain, and what turns me about has been overcome,

    22) and my desire has been ended, and ignorance has died.

    23) In a aeon I was released from a world, and in a Type from a type, and from the fetter of oblivion which is transient.

    24) From this time on will I attain to the rest of the time, of the season, of the aeon, in silence.

    This interpretation has been marked as poor. view anyway


  14.  

    Awaken
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    Apr 9th, 2013 4:23pm report


    I meant man made religion cannot help us, it's up to each one of us to embrace LOVE inside of us and resist the evil...then we will no longer be dead, we will come alive.



  15.  

    Awaken
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    Apr 9th, 2013 4:10pm report


    In my understanding it's about The ENEMY in our own minds that takes on 7 forms of evil. It is saying that man made religions(holy water) help us and armies(religion) cannot keep him out. 7 Devils all around us and inside of our house is like saying they are inside of our minds and our thoughts create them to manifest in our lives. All of our love will be exorcised(we be made weak to see how strong our love really is)
    They can keep me alive til i tear the walls
    til i slave your hearts and take your souls mean we give these devils the power by feeding them with fear, anger, revenge, selfishness, pride and it steals our souls. And then it's asking, can it be undone?



  16.  

    anonymous
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    Mar 16th, 2013 3:01am report


    I think Seven Devils is about a relationship/love (of any kind, not just romantic) that is killing the girl. "All your love will be exorcised" is her about to get rid of the source of her pain. "We will find all your saints to be canonized" the addictions/vices/faults of the other person will become hers or she'll start recognizing them, because once she's taken her revenge or gotten rid of the other person, she'll become a devil herself. I think that's why the last stanzas changed from "seven devils a all around ME" to "seven devils all around YOU" and from "They were there when I woke up this morning" to "I was dead when I woke up this morning". She's done things that "cannot be undone" and now she's a devil, she's dead in her soul and she knows it; she just waiting for the rest of her to follow. "I was dead when I woke up this morning; I'll be dead before the day is done."



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