Florence + The Machine – Kiss With A Fist

December 1, 2010

How can others condone any song that trivializes domestic violence?

Florence and the Machine single, Kiss With A Fist was featured on their 2009 Mercury Prize-nominated album, Lungs.  I am not a fan of Florence nor listen to Pop often but this song has resurfaced in our arena and needs a friendly reminder.

Originally, a great deal of confusion surrounded the song’s meaning. With lyrics such as “broke your jaw once before”, “split your blood upon the floor”, “you smashed a plate over my head”, “you gave a kick” and “I gave a slap” – the song was thought by many to be based on domestic violence, which Florence denied.

Florence explained the song’s meaning on her MySpace page:

“Kiss with a Fist” is NOT a song about domestic violence. It is about two people pushing each other to psychological extremes because they are fighting but they still love each other. The song is not about one person being attacked, or any actual physical violence, there are no victims in this song. Sometimes the love two people have for each other is a destructive force. But they can’t have it any other way, because it’s what holds them together, they enjoy the drama and pushing each other’s buttons. The only way to express these extreme emotions is with extreme imagery, all of which is fantasism and nothing in the song is based on reality. Leona Lewis’s “Bleeding Love” isn’t actually about her bleeding and this song isn’t actually about punching someone in the mouth.”

Florence further elaborated on her inspiration behind the song:

“I was 16 or 17 when I wrote this. I’d just fallen in love for the first time, and I’d also started hanging out with an older group of people, watching how their relationships worked. There was this one couple who were so cool, but so visceral and so intense. The guy never hit the girl, but I saw her lamp him a couple of times, and she’d always give as good as she got. But it wasn’t really physical violence, it was more about the fact that their animal passion for each other was the thing that was attractive for them. It was how joyful destruction can be, and how alluring it is to be in a relationship so fiery. There was never a dull moment when they were around. I don’t know how they do it! I’m a conflict avoider. I think I write about such intense things because I’m actually really bad at expressing anger.”

I personally question the song contrary to Florence’s explanations, artists and producers who have promoted the song, “Whatever the meaning, this is an exhilarating debut single” stated by MusicOMH.

It is so sad that so many people DO NOT know all of the types of abuse.  The majority of individuals when asked,  “what is the first thing that pops into their brain when I say the words “domestic violence or dating violence”? They immediately go to the physical aspect of abuse.  The black and blue bruises, the fat lip, the black eye….unfortunately there is so much education that needs to be spread about all forms of abuse.

Ms. Florence needs to be educated about the different forms of abuse as well as the warning signs and red flags.  An individual can be physically abused without even being hit. The continuous abuse in the forms of drama, emotional turmoil, stress, verbal abuse ALWAYS leads to physical abuse (hair loss, weight loss/gain, ulcers, IBS, headaches, acid reflux, etc.), “pushing each other’s buttons” leads to stress and stress takes a toll on one’s body.

How can you state that “it wasn’t really physical violence” when you saw a female “lamp him” when you were a teenager?  The was physical violence.  It’s NOT okay for a female to hit a male or vice versa.  The “animal passion” that you refer to IS DESTRUCTIVE.  It will not stop.  The impulsive behavior will lead to paths of destruction of both either together or in other relationships.

It is imperative to educate our communities and our children as to what is a healthy relationship vs. an unhealthy relationship.  This song is all about domestic violence and dating violence.  Florence’s  inspiration for writing this song is domestic violence even though she thinks/feels differently as to how individuals should treat once another.

It truly amazes me how artists get paid millions for producing such garbage and the fact that they are role models for so many people!  Why would anyone pay anything to listen to a violence-encouraging song?  To name a few artists that are and have benefited are, Rihanna, Girls Gone Bad, Rihanna accepts her fate as a now “bad girl” and uses her former abuses to justify her own future misbehavior; Russian Roulette,the music video featuring her being subjugated by a man with a gun and at one point, run over by his car.  Later in the video she gets shot through the neck while she’s writhing underwater; Rihanna and Eminem (Love The Way You Lie-), the song ends with Rihanna singing the chorus and reaffirming that she not only takes but somehow enjoys the abusive treatment she routinely gets; Sting, Every Breath You Take; The Beatles, Run For Your Life; Metallica, Die, Die My Darling; Eminem, Just The Two of Us and Jarvic Church, Run For Your Life.

A year later this song along with others are still on the air waves blasting on stereos and is extremely disturbing as it sure as hell promotes domestic violence and dating violence.  Some have even made it to the number one spot on the charts!

Singing about withstanding abuse and even coming back for more is not the message we want to be sending teenaged young women who find themselves in similar situations.  Not to mention it isn’t a good message to send to men: treat your women terribly and even the most seemingly gorgeous and successful ones will stick by your side.

Take care and STAY SAFE!


  1. December 1, 2010 at 11:13 PM

    UNBELIEVABLE: Eminem, Recording Academy nominated the resurgent rapper for 10 awards, including the biggest prizes: album, song, and record of the year. Eminem picked up his third Grammy nomination Wednesday night as his “Love the Way You Lie” was nominated for record of the year.

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