Laura Marling’s “Once I Was an Eagle” Explores the Heart’s Colder Recesses

Courtesy Ribbon Music

Fight disinformation: Sign up for the free Mother Jones Daily newsletter and follow the news that matters.

Laura Marling
Once I Was an Eagle
Ribbon Music

Is Britain’s Laura Marling the modern Joni Mitchell? Her stellar fourth album underscores the similarities, among them ringing acoustic guitar, insistent vocals that linger on high notes, and cliché-free songwriting rooted in folk-music traditions.

But Marling is nobody’s disciple, and the hour-long Once I Was an Eagle takes its own distinctive head trip in the course of 16 bracing tracks. Songs flow from one into the next like movements of a single suite as she reflects on desire, loneliness and the impulse toward self-realization that inevitably reinforces isolation at the expense of connection. “We are so alone / There’s nothing we can share / You can get me on the telephone / But you won’t keep me there,” she sings in “Master Hunter.” On “Pray for Me,” she declares, “I will not love, I want to be alone.”

While such sentiments might seem self-indulgent in lesser hands, she’s a reliably stirring chronicler of the heart’s colder recesses.

Listen…

A BETTER WAY TO DO THIS?

We have an ambitious $350,000 online fundraising goal this month and we can't afford to come up short. But when a reader recently asked how being a nonprofit makes Mother Jones different from other news organizations, we realized we needed to lay this out better: Because "in absolutely every way" is essentially the answer.

So we tried to explain why your year-end donations are so essential, and we'd like your help refining our pitch about what make Mother Jones valuable and worth reading to you.

We'd also like your support of our journalism with a year-end donation if you can right now—all online gifts will be doubled until we hit our $350,000 goal thanks to an incredibly generous donor's matching gift pledge.

payment methods

A BETTER WAY TO DO THIS?

We have an ambitious $350,000 online fundraising goal this month and we can't afford to come up short. But when a reader recently asked how being a nonprofit makes Mother Jones different from other news organizations, we realized we needed to lay this out better: Because "in absolutely every way" is essentially the answer.

So we tried to explain why your year-end donations are so essential, and we'd like your help refining our pitch about what make Mother Jones valuable and worth reading to you.

We'd also like your support of our journalism with a year-end donation if you can right now—all online gifts will be doubled until we hit our $350,000 goal thanks to an incredibly generous donor's matching gift pledge.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate