There’s an intimacy that exists between someone and their favorite blanket, pillow or stuffed animal. An intimacy similar to the feeling of lying in bed when the sun is up in the morning and hearing the birds outside. That feeling of comfort, desire to move and daunting self reasoning to get out of bed is what Laura Marling captures in her newest album “Song for Our Daughter.”
Recorded partially in her home studio, Marling presents these intimate feelings that never leave your bedroom through her sparse instrumentation and storytelling lyricism. The lightness and airy quality of her guitar playing accompany what sounds like a vocal performance of her diary, or like it’s named, songs for an imaginary daughter.
Reminiscent of Joni Mitchel or Sara McLaughlin, the bare-bones aesthetic of the music pairs gently toned guitars and pianos with light orchestration under bare lyrics of maternal worry, the abuse of innocence and the remorseful tears of a broken heart. The songs take a direct approach through conveying the story as experienced specifically from an experienced mother.
Tracks like “Alexandra” and the eponymous “Song For Our Daughter” are from the perspective of a worried mother, trying to keep their daughter safe from what harmed her. These stories and songs mirror the pain her daughter feels like on the track “Held Down.” “It’s a cruel kinda twist that you’d leave like this, Just drop my wrist and say ‘Well that’s us done.’”
Marling uses her own life and pain to form this narrative in a reflective way that has come with age. She presents this cycle of innocence, corruption and reflection through the story of a mother and her daughter despite Marling not being a mother herself. The somber and watchful attitude eventually morphs into one of reflection as the character of the daughter becomes older and adopts a reflective tone.
The album has a cathartic finish with “The End of the Affair”; a track about a couple that loves each other, but the conscience of both involved leads them to dissolve their relationship. The last two tracks “Hope We Meet Again” and “For You” sees Marling’s character showing maturity and potentially understanding true love and what comes with it.
A quiet listen, and an intimate look at Marling’s thoughts on love and growing up as a woman, she describes the album as being “stripped of everything that modernity and ownership does to it…essentially a piece of me, and I’d like you to have it.” This album shows a lot of maturity and offers strong storytelling from Marling that invites contemplation and reflection on the listeners’ own choices on love and life.