Regular readers of this blog will by now be well aware of our fixation on Florence Arnold (‘Florrie’), a twenty-something British singer-songwriter who is relatively well-known on the London music scene but is not yet regarded as a national treasure; this has bothered us for some time now, especially given that we can’t help thinking that almost any other of the 192 UN member states would have accorded this status to her long ago. However, we have simultaneously sensed question marks over her branding: in particular, her videos have tended to lack an overarching identity that would make Florrie a corporate religion in her own right.
On 5th February 2016 the Florrie music and marketing machine crunched into a new dimension with the release of Real Love. This success of this song – which has already registered over 500,000 YouTube views in a little under five days – would appear to represent a major triumph for Florrie. And unlike her previous videos, the Real Love clip features a story, of sorts: a sleazy-but-amiable fashion photographer guides our stunning heroine through a series of unlikely assignments, and after a brief sojourn in a retro-disco both characters are seen presumed drowned in the photographer’s swimming pool.
But once again after watching a Florrie video, we feel compelled to ask the same old question: is this lively collection of Vogue spread clichés really the best clip that could have been released? Would it have been so hard to depict an actual love story with customised iconography, particularly given the proximity to Valentine’s Day? After some contemplation, the relative depth of the Real Love movie only goes to highlight just how far there is to go in constructing the Florrie brand; with an anthemic dance track as infectious and joyous as Real Love and a supremely talented and telegenic pop artist singing it, Florrie should surely be rivalling PSY – and she fully deserves that level of ubiquity.