Laura Marling: Song For Our Daughter (Partisan/Chrysalis) Review | Under the Radar - Music Magazine
Monday, July 6th, 2020  

Laura Marling

Song For Our Daughter

Partisan/Chrysalis

May 12, 2020 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share


During a time where many artists are delaying releases and tours are being involuntarily canceled or postponed, Laura Marling instead rushes forward into the breach. Originally scheduled for an August release, Marling’s seventh solo album, Song For Our Daughter, was delivered decidedly early. Marling’s muse continues to guide her with conviction. Three years on from a broad take on femininity on the outstanding Semper Femina, her latest was written with a more focused vision of a future child in mind. Though self describing the concept as a strange idea, parents routinely hope for the future partners of their children not to be axe murderers, so planning a landscape for someone not yet here feels fully rational. 

The album is a delicate one marked by the simplest of harmonies and melodies derived from the best of the ’60s and ’70s stalwarts. Acoustic guitars, piano, layers of Marling’s vocals, and an occasional string arrangement provide the lightest of embellishments to her clear-eyed lyrics.  Opening track “Alexandra” is a genius level answer song to Leonard Cohen’s “Alexandra Leaving” that concludes with an unanswerable question. There are a few songs that get caught in the more maudlin end of the spectrum in the layered “Held Down” and “The End of the Affair,” but primarily each of the songs here distinguishes itself.

The jangly, raga-tinged “Strange Girl” is as perky and percussive as the songs get here and it’s a great summery sounding tune. An ode to an unnamed girl who is at turns strange, lonely, brave, and angry makes for universal appeal. Though Marling credits Paul McCartney as influencer on the demo-ish closer “For You,” the earlier “Fortune,” with its motherly advice seems as if its stark melody was taken from “Blackbird.” Another highlight comes in “Only the Strong” where Marling’s unadorned voice takes center stage as she sings of the “letters I wrote you in my mind.” The title track certainly stands out as well with its building swell of strings telegraphing an empathetic message to the daughter of her future. Marling cautions of “taking advice from some balding bore” while also promising to provide guidance in the form of a “book I left by your bed.” 

The historically retiring Marling has used the global pandemic as occasion to connect more fully with her audience. Both pushing up the release date of Song For Our Daughter as well as reaching out with numerous tutorials through social media has shown the utmost generosity of spirit. Though three years between albums proves to be Marling’s longest span, there is no doubt that her skills remain at peak level. Her catalog of albums began releasing shortly after her eighteenth birthday and Song For Our Daughter is a mature and worthy work to serve as her latest statement. That its simply stated statements resonate all the more in a quieter time go to show that Marling’s instincts to deliver this gift to our doorsteps early were perfectly timed.  (www.lauramarling.com) 

Author rating: 8/10

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Average reader rating: 9/10



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