This year, Laura Marling released her seventh studio album, the brilliant Song For Our Daughter, and completely took over my airwaves. I started a countdown of Marling’s best songs yesterday, and today we’re going to continue counting down as we head towards the very best of the best. Check out part one here.
60. Warrior, Short Movie (2015)
59. Darkness Descends, I Speak Because I Can (2010)
58. Little Bird, Once I Was An Eagle (2013)
57. Rest In The Bed, A Creature I Don’t Know (2011)
Warrior is an atmospheric track, Marling’s vocals laced with reverb and distinctly laced with Americana – somewhat unique for this classically folky English singer. I Speak Because I Can get its first entry on the list in Darkness Descends, a song steeped in layered vocals that both comfort and threaten. Little Bird’s sliding guitars soothe and offer a nice pick me up in its album.
56. Next Time, Semper Femina (2017)
55. The Muse, A Creature I Don’t Know (2011)
54. Wild Once, Semper Femina (2017)
53. Strange Girl, Song For Our Daughter (2020)
Semper Femina was the album that started getting me back into Marling’s music after I felt that Short Movie and Once I Was An Eagle weren’t quite as much of a fit for me as her earlier releases. Next Time feels the most reminiscent of her earlier songs, and is a great nostalgia hit for any long-term fan. Strange Girl marks the first of this year’s Song For Our Daughter and is the most lively song on the album, featuring some great lyrics, including the wonderful ‘Announced yourself a socialist to have something to defend / Oh, young girl, please don’t bullshit me’.
52. The Valley, Semper Femina (2017)
51. Worship Me, Short Movie (2015)
50. Short Movie, Short Movie (2015)
49. I Speak Because I Can, I Speak Because I Can (2010)
The Valley sounds exactly as you’d expect – its guitars caress and soothe, Marling’s vocals glide smoothly over the top, and the lyrics feel warm and tender. It’s hard not to imagine looking down into a village and seeing the lights in the houses as people go about their evening business whenever you listen. Short Movie (the track) has great drive to it, bringing a much more uptempo vibe to proceedings. It’s interesting to hear the tracks from both Short Movie and Once I Was An Eagle outside of their respective albums – they sound much better individually, which makes me wonder whether it was more a tonal issue with them which meant they never quite sat right with me.
48. Walk Alone, Short Movie (2015)
47. Alexandra, Song For Our Daughter (2020)
46. Held Down, Song For Our Daughter (2020)
45. When Were You Happy?, Once I Was An Eagle (2013)
Walk Alone features those electric guitars which, in Marling’s catalogue, are so unique to Short Movie, but in a much more calming atmosphere than some of the other songs on the album. Marling’s voice is particularly beautiful here. Alexandra‘s climax and Held Down‘s introduction are also moments or beauty that shine, even in their album which is so full of beautiful moments.
44. I Was Just A Card, A Creature I Don’t Know (2011)
43. The Beast, A Creature I Don’t Know (2011)
42. Love Be Brave, Once I Was An Eagle (2013)
41. My Manic And I, Alas I Cannot Swim (2008)
The dark rhythms of I Was Just A Card are a great contrast on their album to the languid start of The Muse, and they grab the attention just as much when you listen to the track by itself. The Beast is the ominous centrepiece of the album, an almost six minute long epic bringing in influences of rock, Americana, folk and blues to really show of Marling’s talents when it comes to crafting worlds in her songs.
That’s it for now! We’re halfway through our countdown, and it’s only getting harder and harder to rank the songs as we go. Check back soon for part three where we really begin to delve into Marling’s brilliance!