Photo: Getty
by Ryo Miyauchi Ledger Line Music

Laura Marling | Songs of Our Daughter

July 23, 2020

Songs for Our Daughter is another in a run of lyrically-precise, sonically-varied Laura Marling efforts.

Songs for Our Daughter, Laura Marling’s seventh LP, finds the folk songwriter continuing to explore her femininity, as she did on 2017’s Semper Femina — but here, Marling approaches the subject matter with more focus. Part of this evolution comes from narrowing the scope of her record to address a more specific listener, whereas the previous release played out like a literary collection of different allegorical song narratives, stretching its thematic exploration a tad too broadly. Her new album, instead, unfolds more like a private letter to a younger generation:  specifically, her metaphorical daughter, as suggested in the album title. This shifting emphasis towards a more personal angle benefits the music as well, with Marling embracing a more pared-down sound, returning to the humble strums and close-mic’d guitar-pickings of her earlier records. The softer tracks on Songs for Our Daughter beg intimacy from the listener as the singer delicately sings of the wisdom rooted in her personal experiences, while the louder songs here speak to fostering community, music matching theme through a clear embrace of harmonies and inviting melodies. 

Marling’s lyrics are ones of shared perseverance: “No one was prepared /   but we all performed / like we’d done it all before,” goes one verse in “Blow by Blow,” a stark, piano-led account of a history of resilience. Her words are gently profound, and while they often talk of struggles specific to womanhood, they also refrain from coming off as prescriptive — these are candid observations, their impact building with distance. On tender tracks, such as “Only the Strong” and “Fortune,” dense messages are artfully communicated, with the flow of a casual conversation. Marling’s presence often feels effortless, but she’s also deeply aware of her authority here, consistently mindful of the stakes in choosing the right words — “I write it so I don’t forget / never let it get away/ I keep a picture of you / just to keep you safe,” she sings, as if reminding herself just exactly who she’s singing to and for.

Published as part of Ledger Line | Q2 2020 Issue – Part 1.