This year, Laura Marling released her seventh studio album, the brilliant Song For Our Daughter, and completely took over my airwaves. Being a long time listener, I’m aware that there’s a large backlog out there (as there would be with any artist with seven albums) that might be slightly off putting for someone looking to take the plunge into Marling’s music. Luckily for you, I’ve taken it upon myself to rank all of the songs from her studio albums so that you can know where to start.
80. Interlude, Once I Was An Eagle (2013)
79. Little Love Caster, Once I Was An Eagle (2013)
78. Devil’s Resting Place, Once I Was An Eagle (2013)
77. Pray For Me, Once I Was An Eagle (2013)
You might be able to guess from these first four, but Once I Was An Eagle is not my favourite Marling album – while it certainly has its moments, it can at times get a little too meandering, a little too divorced from rhythm and structure and devolve into an aimless crawl. While it’s hard to find genuinely bad Marling songs, these four are the closest she’s been yet.
76. Night Terror, Alas I Cannot Swim (2008)
75. Master Hunter, Once I Was An Eagle (2013)
74. Breathe, Once I Was An Eagle (2013)
73. Don’t Pass Me By, Semper Femina (2017)
From Night Terror onwards, we are already in the realm of songs that are actually pretty good. Night Terror‘s second half is beautiful, but it’s somewhat let down by a lackluster start. The two Once I Was An Eagle tracks are also already leagues above the first batch of songs from the album.
72. Undine, Once I Was An Eagle (2013)
71. Salinas, A Creature I Don’t Know (2011)
70. Howl, Short Movie (2015)
69. How Can I, Short Movie (2015)
Undine, while a very nice song has difficulty standing out among some of the other tracks on its album. Salinas then, feels like one of Marling’s first real jaunts outside of the English folk genre, as she did through much of A Creature I Don’t Know, her third album. Short Movie was an album that didn’t click with me when it first released, but now, a few years later and it’s grown on me a lot in hindsight. Howl and How Can I have that warm sound unique to Short Movie among Marling’s discography.
68. I Feel Your Love, Short Movie (2015)
67. Your Only Doll (Dora), Alas I Cannot Swim (2008)
66. Don’t Ask Me Why, A Creature I Don’t Know (2011)
65. Once, Once I Was An Eagle (2013)
Short Movie was a move back towards rhythm for Marling after the wandering and pondering of Once I Was An Eagle, and although not one of her best, I Feel Your Love is a great example of that. It was a refreshing shake up for her music. Your Only Doll (Dora) is the closing track from Marling’s debut album, and listening back to it now, it’s crazy to hear how much younger her voice sounds at the time (she was only 18 when it released).
64. You’re No God, Alas I Cannot Swim (2008)
63. Soothing, Semper Femina (2017)
62. Nouel, Semper Femina (2017)
61. Strange, Short Movie (2015)
You’re No God is one of the catchiest songs from Marling’s debut, and one that shows her young age more than many of the others. On the flipside, Soothing and Nouel feel like two songs that come from someone much older than Marling (who was 27 at the time).
That wraps it up for the first installment. Check back soon for Part 2, where I’ll be continuing the countdown to the top!