- 09 Apr 20
A rich and vulnerable exhibition of one of the greatest songwriting talents in recent memory.
On Monday, without fanfare, Laura Marling announced she would release her seventh studio album Song For Our Daughter, 3 years and one month to the day after 2017’s Semper Femina. The reason to move ahead of schedule, in Marling’s own words, is this strange circumstance in which we all find ourselves. "I saw no reason to hold back on something that, at the very least, might entertain, and at its best, provide some sense of union", she says.
And there are definitely self-isolationisms on this record. In ‘Blow by Blow’, she trades her guitar for rare piano and delivers searing perceptivity in the form of a line that goes, “I don’t know what else to say, I think I’m doing fine. Trying to figure out what I will do with all my time”. On Song for Our Daughter, it's in description of the mundanity that Marling finds sublimity.
In fact, Marling’s voice revels in the ordinary – stretching out phrases one might say every day, languishing not in metaphors but in visceral, tangible life. Laura Marling is never one to be precious. What has made her career so interesting is the permeability of her poetry, which seems to transcend gender. She's one of the few female artists who is as much viewed a troubadour as Dylan, or Simon and Garfunkel, prolific and unafraid to bare her flaws.
After an early career that could, on paper, be described as fairytale, but was inwardly tumultuous for the singer-songwriter, Marling moved to Los Angeles and became a yoga instructor. She has now moved back home to England, and set up proper roots, a sentiment echoed in the penultimate track, 'Hope We Meet Again', which begins: "I've lived my life in fits and spurts".
If I Speak Because I Can chronicled her relationship to men, and Semper Femina acted as its antithesis, exploring Marling's relationship to women and herself, then Song for Our Daughter is the synthesis of the two: observations from a woman finally in a state of stability within herself and her relationships, but increasingly worried for the state of the world.
The titular track sees Marling transposing future generations into a single child of her own, composing a different kind of love letter – she reaches beyond the personal and extends to the masses, a vivid and unpretentious Earth Mother type figure. The only issue with Song for Our Daughter is that I wish it were longer. It's a truly stunning record in which to bask.