Laura Marling recently released her newest album „Short Movie“ and of course it is brilliant and smart and beautiful and because I don’t really want to write about it just yet (having only listened to it half a dozen of times), I picked this first single which – as some other songs – have a sound that is very much like New York in the late 70s, early 80s and at times has just the right amount of Bruce Springsteen (without merely copying it) and even some harsher postpunk-vibes of feminist heroes of the past (Patti Smith, maybe?).
The song starts with a sober clarity but gets more and more manic as the protagonist realizes how scared she/he is of the loneliness and therefore escapes into a relationship that might or might not be real but definitely is not the solution.
Is it still okay that I don’t know how to be alone?
Would it be okay if I’d just came home tonight?
We stay in the apartment on the upper west side
And my worst problem is I don’t sleep at night
Woman downstairs just lost her mind
And I don’t care how, I surely don’t care why
Why I know false hope
(and maybe that woman downstairs is the protagonist her/himself or a fear of her/him)
The strength in Marling’s voice – when she’s not consciously and rather impressively fluctuating through the stages of despair – is one of her strengths as a musician because to show vulnerable narrators, we don’t need vulnerable, thin and shaky voices. Strong people can falter just as easily and have the same fears (and maybe more) than those flittering vocalists with their breathy, hardly audible sighs of sadness. No, Marling is one of the great songwriters who make all those tender flaws seem so much more powerful by having this very strong, nearly aggressive clarity in which they are presented. There is doubt and there is fear, yes, but the narrator knows this and decides to let them be, to fight or to leave them. These are bright paintings with broad strokes (not a single one seems hesitant) and they carry all the subtleties in the final image which is yet another song and another album to dive into for a while and feel the cold waves of Marling’s voice and the soft rush of her guitar play.