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Once I Was An Eagle

4.1 out of 5 stars 64 customer reviews

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Audio CD, May 28, 2013
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Editorial Reviews

Laura Marling's new album, 'Once I Was An Eagle', the follow up to 2011's stand out 'A Creature I Don't Know', is a hugely ambitious album reflecting the poise and confidence of a songwriter far beyond her years (23). Recorded in the English countryside with longtime collaborator and producer Ethan Johns, the album's loose narrative traverses heartbreak, vulnerability, resurgence, confidence, and lastly contemplation. 'Once I Was An Eagle' steps farther outside the conventions of Laura's previous albums, an opportunity to fully explore her songwriting process while abandoning expectations.
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (May 28, 2013)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Ribbon Records
  • ASIN: B00BR1NFI0
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (64 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #37,581 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
While Laura Marling is sometimes compared to Joni Mitchell, the only resemblence I really hear, at least on this CD, is an interest in breaking up the traditional pop song structure a bit. Mitchell's music and voice are truly individual -- Joni's in a class by herself, in my opinion. No one sounds like her, but there are dozens of young singers out there now who have voices very similar to Marling's. She is also not the first pop artist who has made records with one song blending into the next (The Moody Blues were the first major artists to do this kind of thing as a regular method of making an "album"), nor does she break any new ground in the singer/songwriter confessional department (you can go back to Carole King and Laura Nyro to find the origins of that kind of thing). So what, exactly, is all the fuss about? Well, for one thing, Laura has a vocal delivery largely free of the kind of histrionics and pyrotechnics that define so many female pop singers nowadays. Although not as original or distinctive as, say, Suzanne Vega or Laura Veirs, Marling has that kind of hushed, intimate voice that draws you in and causes you to pay attention to her words. Here's where the going gets interesting. It took me a little while to warm to this recording, because upon first listen everything sounded musically alike. The accompaniment and arrangements could have used some more variety, I thought. Certain musical ideas repeat themselves through several tracks. But once I surrendered to Marling's approach, I began to pick up little nuances and intricate little instrumental flourishes (the Indian-sounding drone on "Breathe" and the pulsating organ on "Once" come to mind). The production values, due chiefly to Ethan Johns' sensibilities, are a tad on the muted side in places; another criticism I had.Read more ›
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Format: MP3 Music Verified Purchase
I had only heard her sing 2 songs on jules holland's show, but liked what I saw, so I took a chance. WOW! So glad I did. I have listened, start to finish, 6 or 7 times now and have been fully engaged each time. I knew I liked her voice and her lyrics were very interesting, but the instrumentation is awesome as well. I can hear many influences, Led Zeppelin (circa III), Joni Mitchell, Bob Dylan and most interestingly, solo Pete Townsend. It's pretty chilled out music, but there's an undercurrent of menace that you can feel throughout. I can't wait to hear more.
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Format: MP3 Music
Its official - we can now fully celebrate the fact that within our midst is the supreme modern songwriter with her remarkably short but productive career ranking her alongside the greats. The journey of Laura Marling from the sensitive bedsit balladeer of "Alas I cannot swim" to the epic solo sweep of this new album "Once I was an eagle" has never faltered or been side tracked. Her intensity of purpose has been such that her albums now punctuate time as landmarks and it is a damn painful wait until the next one.

Largely dispensing with her band, Marling has looked inwards and shines an often-dark light on her personal and romantic situation. The word "confessional" has always been a label applied to her but there is something altogether more penetrating and often hurtful at play in this record. Producer Ethan Johns has again let her songs expand and breath. This is exemplified in the first seven songs where Marling and Johns let them flow and in essence they morph one into the other in an almost seamless sequence. In the hands of a lesser songwriter this could be a stifling bore but Marling performs small miracles in these compositions. One unifying factor is a link through a frenetic guitar motif which harks back to the Indian themes of the Dharohar Project, but despite this these songs stand in their own right as an powerful statement where Marling snarls, emotes and accuses ex lovers of the ultimate romantic failing - sheer disappointment. In the stunning title track she ruefully reflects "I will not be a victim of romance/I will not be a victim of circumstance/Chance or circumstance or romance/Or any man who could get his dirty little hands on me".
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I've been following Laura Marling for awhile. I am impressed with her voice, arrangements, and songwriting. There is a subtle sensuality to her music. The uninitiated may hear several other singers in her music, particularly Joni Mitchell and perhaps Fiona Apple. I would argue that any similarity is superficial, and moreover, it seems to evaporate when I immerse myself in her recordings. Once I Was an Eagle is, as it should be, a progression from earlier albums. It is robust and gets richer with every time I play it. Highly recommended.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I've been listening to Laura Marling via youtube videos maybe once or twice a year for awhile now, but I never felt compelled to buy any of her albums. It was always, "Good, but I rather get _____." Then I heard the four track suite at the beginning of this album. You couldn't take my money fast enough!

Don't get me wrong. There are other good tracks with other good songwriting, but those first four tracks were like Nick Drake made a love child with CSNY and Joni Mitchell. This album is already a classic in my eyes.
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