Song for Our Daughter

Song for Our Daughter is the seventh studio album by British singer-songwriter Laura Marling. It was released on 10 April 2020.[2][3] It was co-produced by Marling with longtime collaborator Ethan Johns.[4] The album's title is figurative, with Marling writing to a fictional daughter.[4] Song for Our Daughter was nominated for the 2020 Mercury Prize.

Song for Our Daughter
Laura Marling - Song for Our Daughter.png
Studio album by
Released10 April 2020 (2020-04-10)
StudioMarling's home studio, London
Monnow Valley Studio, Wales[1]
Length36:29
Label
Producer
Laura Marling chronology
Semper Femina
(2017)
Song for Our Daughter
(2020)
Singles from Song for Our Daughter
  1. "Held Down"
    Released: 5 April 2020

Background and themesEdit

Marling described the album as "stripped of everything that modernity and ownership does to it... essentially a piece of me".[5] The songs are written to an imaginary child, with Marling stating it allowed her to offer her "all the confidences and affirmations I found so difficult to provide myself".[6] Marling was inspired by Maya Angelou's book Letter to My Daughter (2009), which she read a few years before the album's release.[4]

Writing and recordingEdit

The songs on the album were written primarily by Marling, except the title track and "The End of the Affair". The title track was co-written by Marling and George Jephson,[7] while "The End of the Affair" was co-written by Marling and Blake Mills, who produced Marling's previous album Semper Femina (2017).[8][9]

The songs were demoed in Marling's basement studio in her home in London. The album was co-produced by Marling with longtime collaborator Ethan Johns and was primarily recorded at Monnow Valley Studio.[10][4] Johns previously produced Marling's albums I Speak Because I Can (2010),[11] A Creature I Don't Know (2011)[12] and Once I Was an Eagle (2013).[13] The album was mixed by Dom Monks,[4] who previously completed engineering on I Speak Because I Can,[14] engineering on A Creature I Don't Know,[15] as well as recording and additional production on Once I Was an Eagle.[16]

Music and lyricsEdit

Compared to her previous album, Song for Our Daughter features more sparse and starkly minimal arrangements to create an intimate sound. Laura Marling's vocals are accompanied mostly by acoustic guitar and light percussion, but are backed at times by piano and string arrangements.[17][18][8] The string arrangements were arranged by Rob Moose.[19] Marling also employs intricate harmony vocals on the album,[6][18] including her layered vocal harmonies on "Held Down".[20]

"Alexandra" was inspired by Leonard Cohen's song "Alexandra Leaving".[21] Marling's song is about her fascination with Cohen's attitudes towards women. In an interview with Far Out Magazine, she explained, "He writes about women in such a beautiful way. It doesn't aggravate me that he lived the way he wanted to live. In fact, I think it's very brave of people to live that way."[22] "Only the Strong" borrows a line from Robert Icke's play Mary Stuart, which Marling wrote the music for.[22] "Blow by Blow" is a piano ballad written in homage to Paul McCartney.[21] "Song for Our Daughter" was influenced by Marling's recent studies in psychoanalysis and concerns "innocence being taken away prematurely" and preparing "the next generation in a way that you weren't".[22] "Fortune" is about a powerless woman unable to escape her circumstance, and is inspired by Marling's mother's "running away fund" that she has never used.[22][8] "The End of the Affair" is about the "infinite" nature of love and the "idea of a private mourning of love" which cannot be shared. The song's title is a reference to Graham Greene's novel of the same name.[22] "For You" is a love song inspired by McCartney, and features Marling's boyfriend playing guitar. It was recorded at home "on the fly" on her laptop and is included on the album in its original demo form.[22][23]

ReleaseEdit

The album was initially scheduled for an August 2020 release, however the date was moved forward to 10 April 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.[24][6] Marling herself commented on this, stating she "saw no reason to hold back on something that, at the very least, might entertain, and at its best, provide some sense of union".[25] "Held Down" was released as a single on 5 April 2020, alongside the album's announcement.[26] The album was released physically (on CD and both standard and marbled vinyl LP) on 10th July 2020.[27]

Critical receptionEdit

Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
SourceRating
AnyDecentMusic?8.6/10[29]
Metacritic89/100[28]
Review scores
SourceRating
AllMusic     [30]
The Daily Telegraph     [31]
The Guardian     [6]
The Independent     [32]
Mojo     [33]
musicOMH     [34]
NME     [35]
The Observer     [36]
Pitchfork7.6/10[8]
Uncut8/10[1]

Song for Our Daughter was met with widespread critical acclaim. At Metacritic, which assigns a normalised rating out of 100 from reviews from professional critics, the album received a score of 89, based on 19 reviews.[28] Aggregator AnyDecentMusic? gave it 8.6 out of 10, based on their assessment of the critical consensus.[29]

Ella Kemp of NME called the album "a graceful ode to resilience... it's an absolute triumph".[35] Alexis Petridis of The Guardian described it as being "alternately intimate, sneering and sad, and lavished with gorgeous melodies"; it was ultimately named album of the week.[6] Neil McCormick of The Daily Telegraph called the album Marling's "most measured and mature work" and praised her "skillful guitar playing" and "exquisite" harmonies.[31] In a perfect score review for Record Collector, Oregano Rathbone called the album "so uncannily, unreasonably and astutely beautiful that it meticulously sets aside every last one of your emotional checks and balances to wrap your core in a firm embrace."[37] In her review for Mojo, Jude Rogers praised the album's production and Rob Moose's string arrangements, and wrote that Marling's "voice has never been better, each syllable a shining pool of water, clear, vivid and beautiful."[33] Steven Edelstone of Paste called it "simultaneously Marling's most straightforward, musically simplistic record to date and her most beautiful release yet."[19] Laura Stanley of Exclaim! wrote, "Marling remains at the top of her game."[38] Tom Hull was somewhat less impressed, saying Marling has "never sounded more like Joni Mitchell, although my favorite Mitchell albums have a bit more spunk."[39]

In the review for AllMusic, Timothy Monger claimed that "At just 30 years old and with seven albums to her credit, Marling's songwriting has been honed to a level of literate maturity that few artists achieve in their careers."[30]

RankingsEdit

Critics' rankings for Song for Our Daughter
Publication Accolade Rank Ref.
Paste Paste's 25 Best Albums of 2020 – Mid-Year
13
Stereogum Stereogum's 50 Best Albums of 2020 – Mid-Year
19

Track listingEdit

All tracks are written by Laura Marling, except where noted.

Song for Our Daughter track listing
No.TitleWriter(s)Length
1."Alexandra" 3:19
2."Held Down" 4:07
3."Strange Girl" 3:21
4."Only the Strong" 3:20
5."Blow by Blow" 2:55
6."Song for Our Daughter"
  • Marling
  • George Jephson
4:06
7."Fortune" 3:55
8."The End of the Affair"
3:24
9."Hope We Meet Again" 4:05
10."For You" 3:57
Total length:36:29

PersonnelEdit

Credits adapted from Uncut.[1]

  • Laura Marling – vocals, acoustic guitar, electric guitar, güiro, production
  • Ethan Johns – production, drums, continuum fingerboard, Moog, resonator guitar, shaker
  • Nick Pini – bass, bowed double bass
  • Dan See – drums
  • Anna Corcoran – piano
  • Chris Hillman – pedal steel guitar
  • Gabriela Cabezas – cello
  • Dom Monks – loops

ChartsEdit

Chart performance for Song for Our Daughter
Chart (2020) Peak
position
Belgian Albums (Ultratop Flanders)[42] 86
Dutch Albums (Album Top 100)[43] 61
German Albums (Offizielle Top 100)[44] 80
Portuguese Albums (AFP)[45] 27
Scottish Albums (OCC)[46] 3
Swiss Albums (Schweizer Hitparade)[47] 78
UK Albums (OCC)[48] 6

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b c O'Connell, Sharon. "Laura Marling - Song For Our Daughter: Accomplished singer-songwriter loosens the ties that bind on her seventh". Uncut. No. 277 (June 2020 ed.). p. 24.
  2. ^ "Laura Marling - Shop". Laura Marling. Retrieved 6 April 2020.
  3. ^ "Laura Marling's 'Held Down' Announces Her Seventh Album, 'Song For Our Daughter'". Uproxx. 6 April 2020. Retrieved 6 April 2020.
  4. ^ a b c d e White, Caitlin (10 April 2020). "Laura Marling's New Album Is a Pivot Toward 'Hopefulness'". Spin. Retrieved 11 April 2020.
  5. ^ "Laura Marling". Laura Marling. Retrieved 6 April 2020.
  6. ^ a b c d e Petridis, Alexis (9 April 2020). "Laura Marling: Song for Our Daughter review – the intimate album we need". The Guardian. Retrieved 11 April 2020.
  7. ^ "Credits / Song For Our Daughter / Laura Marling". Tidal. 10 April 2020. Retrieved 17 April 2020.
  8. ^ a b c d Myers, Owen (11 April 2020). "Laura Marling: Song for Our Daughter Album Review". Pitchfork. Retrieved 11 April 2020.
  9. ^ Murphy, Sarah (28 November 2016). "Laura Marling Announces 'Semper Femina' LP, Shares New Video". Exclaim!. Retrieved 17 April 2020.
  10. ^ http://www.monnowvalleystudio.com/clients/
  11. ^ Empire, Kitty (20 March 2010). "Laura Marling: I Speak Because I Can". The Guardian. Retrieved 11 April 2020.
  12. ^ Breihan, Tom (11 July 2011). "New Release: Laura Marling: A Creature I Don't Know". Pitchfork. Retrieved 11 April 2020.
  13. ^ Coleman, Nick (25 May 2013). "Album: Laura Marling, Once I Was an Eagle (Virgin)". The Independent. Retrieved 11 April 2020.
  14. ^ I Speak Because I Can (liner notes). Laura Marling. Virgin. 2010. CDVY3075.CS1 maint: others (link)
  15. ^ A Creature I Don't Know (liner notes). Laura Marling. Virgin. 2011. V3091.CS1 maint: others (link)
  16. ^ Once I Was an Eagle (liner notes). Laura Marling. Virgin. 2013. V3110.CS1 maint: others (link)
  17. ^ Maunier, Sean (16 April 2020). "Music Review: 'Song For Our Daughter' by Laura Marling". Metro Weekly. Retrieved 18 April 2020.
  18. ^ a b DeLuca, Dan (17 April 2020). "Album reviews: Fiona Apple is extraordinary again on the new 'Fetch the Bolt Cutters'". The Philadelphia Inquirer. Retrieved 18 April 2020.
  19. ^ a b Edelstone, Steven (10 April 2010). "Laura Marling's Stunning Song For Our Daughter Arrives Right On Time". Paste. Retrieved 16 April 2010.
  20. ^ Lockwood, Andrew (7 April 2020). "Laura Marling - Song For Our Daughter Album Review". Contactmusic.com. Retrieved 18 April 2020.
  21. ^ a b McGrath, Rachel (9 April 2020). "Laura Marling - Song for Our Daughter review: Superb collection full of romance and hope". Evening Standard. Retrieved 11 April 2020.
  22. ^ a b c d e f Whatley, Jack (9 April 2020). "Laura Marling welcomes herself home with 'Song For Our Daughter'". Far Out Magazine. Retrieved 17 April 2020.
  23. ^ Peirson-Hagger, Ellen (11 April 2020). ""To be creative, you need naivety": Laura Marling on lockdown, trauma and re-learning how to write". New Statesman. Retrieved 17 April 2020.
  24. ^ "Laura Marling Moves Up New Album to This Week, Shares New Song". Pitchfork. Retrieved 6 April 2020.
  25. ^ "Laura Marling announces album 'Song For Our Daughter' and shares 'Held Down'". NME. 6 April 2020. Retrieved 6 April 2020.
  26. ^ Corcoran, Nina (5 April 2020). "Laura Marling Announces New Album Song for Our Daughter, Shares "Held Down": Stream". Consequence of Sound. Retrieved 12 April 2020.
  27. ^ "Laura Marling Song for Our Daughter". www.piccadillyrecords.com. 10 July 2020. Retrieved 11 July 2020.
  28. ^ a b "Song for Our Daughter by Laura Marling Reviews and Tracks". Metacritic. Retrieved 14 May 2020.
  29. ^ a b "Song For Our Daughter by Laura Marling reviews". AnyDecentMusic?. Retrieved 11 April 2020.
  30. ^ a b Monger, Timothy (10 April 2020). "Laura Marling | Songs, Reviews, Credits". AllMusic. Retrieved 22 April 2020.
  31. ^ a b McCormick, Neil (9 April 2020). "This week's best new albums: Laura Marling, The Strokes, Chimpan A". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 11 April 2020.
  32. ^ O'Connor, Roisin (9 April 2020). "Laura Marling – Song For Our Daughter review: Songs as fragmented and beautiful as stained glass". The Independent. Retrieved 11 April 2020.
  33. ^ a b Rogers, Jude. "Now you see her: For her most immediate, heartfelt album yet, Marling forensically explores womanhood in glorious songs". Mojo. No. 319 (June 2020 ed.). p. 84.
  34. ^ Johnson, Steven (15 April 2020). "Laura Marling – Song For Our Daughter". musicOMH. Retrieved 16 April 2020.
  35. ^ a b Kemp, Ella (9 April 2020). "Laura Marling – 'Song For Our Daughter' review: a lifeline for turbulent times". NME. Retrieved 11 April 2020.
  36. ^ Empire, Kitty (19 April 2020). "Laura Marling: Song for Our Daughter review – better than ever". The Observer. Retrieved 20 April 2020.
  37. ^ Rathbone, Oregano. "Laura Marling - Song for Our Daughter". Record Collector. No. 505 (May 2020 ed.).
  38. ^ Stanley, Laura (10 April 2020). "Laura Marling Song for Our Daughter". Exclaim!. Retrieved 16 April 2020.
  39. ^ Hull, Tom (28 April 2020). "Music Week". Tom Hull - on the Web. Retrieved 9 July 2020.
  40. ^ "The Best Albums of 2020 (So Far)". Paste. 8 June 2020. Retrieved 13 June 2020.
  41. ^ "Best Albums of 2020 So Far". Stereogum. 10 June 2020. Retrieved 14 June 2020.
  42. ^ "Ultratop.be – Laura Marling – Songs for Our Daughter" (in Dutch). Hung Medien. Retrieved 31 July 2020.
  43. ^ "Dutchcharts.nl – Laura Marling – Song for Our Daughter" (in Dutch). Hung Medien. Retrieved 31 July 2020.
  44. ^ "Offiziellecharts.de – Laura Marling – Song for Our Daughter" (in German). GfK Entertainment Charts. Retrieved 31 July 2020.
  45. ^ "Portuguesecharts.com – Laura Marling – Song for Our Daughter". Hung Medien. Retrieved 7 June 2020.
  46. ^ "Official Scottish Albums Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 17 July 2020.
  47. ^ "Swisscharts.com – Laura Marling – Song for Our Daughter". Hung Medien. Retrieved 5 August 2020.
  48. ^ "Official Albums Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 17 July 2020.