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Once I Was An Eagle

4.4 out of 5 stars 102 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Audio CD (27 May 2013)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Virgin
  • ASIN: B00BQWR9BO
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  Vinyl  |  MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (102 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 7,429 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
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Product Description

Once I Was an Eagle is the fourth album from folk singer-songwriter Laura Marling, following three critically acclaimed albums--two of which were nominated for the Mercury Music Prize. The album was produced by Ethan Johns (who also drums on the record) and features the tracks "Where Can I Go?" and "Master Hunter".

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Red on Black TOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 27 May 2013
Format: Audio CD
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 a 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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Whether directed at Mr Mumford, other suitors unknown or maybe even in some cases herself, the songs in this collection deal with love, betrayal, hope, anger and, a word tellingly used more than once here, naivety. There have been some great break-up albums over the years but this may just be one of the greatest - it will take time to assimilate and compare it properly it to the likes of Blood on the Tracks, Nether Lands and Rumours, but what is clear already is that this is a work of astonishing quality from one so young. The excellence of the lyrics are especially worthy of note in this context - from the glorious early triptych of I Was An Eagle, You Know and Breathe (tracks 2, 3 and 4) to the final track Saved These Words, the lyrical maturity exhibited here is truly extraordinary. I wanted immediately to check what albums Joni Mitchell had produced by the same age - and the answer is none! The comparisons to Mitchell will be inevitable not only lyrically but also in terms of her singing style and her music (which is reminiscent of Hejira in places) but Laura is clearly her own person and treading her own path to mega-stardom which will come sooner rather than later on this evidence. An outstanding achievement.
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This is the fourth album from the English songstress de jour Laura Marling. I think it is probably one of her best, it is certainly her most consistent. Marling has written what sounds like a very personal and meaningful set of songs, her writing has certainly matured and flowered over the last couple of releases. Teamed with Ethan Johns, the album is filled with her distinctive powerful voice leading us through tales of love, betrayal, loss and other griefs. There is an undercurrent of anger in her voice, as well as heartbreak. Just behind her voice is a deceptively simple sounding backing, that perfectly supports her voice where needed, erupting into outspoken bridges bursting with energy that breaks up the record and prevents it becoming one note dreary. The tone is firmly rooted in some of our folk traditions, but Marling is a bit of a musical magpie, and there are stretches that are influenced by Led Zeppelin and Pink Floyd (indeed, the bass line from `I was an Eagle' seems to have been lifted wholesale from Pink Floyd's `Fearless' on the `Meddle' album). Stand out tracks are the energetic `Master Hunter', with Marling's superb fast singing, and `I was an Eagle', with a great lyric (and bass line).

A great album, from a great singer/songwriter. I feel that as well as her best lyrics to date, her teaming with Ethan Johns has produced a sound that totally suits her, and is quite spectacular. 5 stars for this delight of an album.
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This is a solid effort; the lyrics are very good and I cannot fault the musicianship. Where this album falls down compared to Marling's previous releases is that most of the songs are of the quiet-musing type and, as such, there are very few points where the listener would be made to look up and take notice. Personally, I think her second album is the best she's released so far in terms of production and variety of material.

However, the first four songs are pleasant to listen to, especially with the segue from one to another; Master Hunter also provides a rare (and welcome) change in dynamic.

Moving away from the music, where this release really falls down is the packaging. I have no problem with the digipack format (it takes up less space on the shelf, after all), but with this album the disk and the lyric sheet are just shoved into a cardboard sleeve with nothing more substantial to protect the CD - personally I'd expect a bit more for the price.
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