Today I welcomed a change of pace from the barrage of headline pop acts in the 2010s, as I listened to the #5 folk album of all time, as rated by nme.com, “Once I Was an Eagle” by British folk singer Laura Marling. I can’t say I was fully captivated by the album, and at times it even felt a bit like a chore, but like most albums along the way, I did find some memorable highlights.
In simple terms, the more energetic and up-tempo the song, the more likely I was to enjoy it. And on top of it all, I must give her tremendous credit for not only her songwriting, but her guitar playing is top notch. The one single from the album is “Master Hunter”, and it is one of the bolder songs on a mostly subdued record.
“Undine” is a pretty melody that oddly has some very similar note sequences to “Stairway to Heaven”. Even with that observation, I no more think she borrowed or stole from that song anymore than Led Zeppelin “stole” the song from Spirit, in their much-renowned legal case in recent years. Some notes just work together, and on its own, “Undine” is very much its own tune, with nice bluesy touch to the guitar.
My favorite track over all is “Where Can I Go”, another of the more energetic songs on the record, and this is the one time I caught myself reaching to turn up the volume as the song builds in the second half. It really is the best song on this record if I am voting. The last song I will single out is “Pray for Me”. The chord sequence and musical structure of this song is really inviting, and in general, there is a stark contrast between the songs I singled out and the rest of the album, which did not really inspire either me or my son, who was along for the ride. Like many of these artists, I will hang onto my discoveries and press on.