It was one of those days (and nights) when I get a panic attack because I have not found any new song to trip on in months. It was 2 am, and I was feverishly scrolling through some random playlist on YouTube. Tucked in there was a thumbnail picture depicting a whimsical hippie stop motion puppet show. The video was titled “Ghosts” by Laura Marling. Hmm. Interesting. Never heard of her.
Bare bones acoustic. Nice.
A slightly joyous, slightly melancholic melody. Very Nice
Then the words came in.
He walked down a busy street Staring solely at his feet Clutching pictures of past lovers at his side Stood at the table where she sat And removed his hat In respect of her presence Presents her with the pictures and says “These are just ghosts that broke my heart before i met you, These are just ghosts that broke my heart before i met you.”
Opened up his little heart Unlocked the lock that kept it dark And read a written warning Saying i’m still mourning Over ghosts, Over ghosts, over ghosts Over ghosts that broke my heart before i met you
Lover, please do not fall to your knees, it’s not like i believe in Everlasting love
For me, lyrics always matter the most in a song. To say that I was awe-struck by this song would barely begin to cover it. One after the other, i listened to every single track of hers i could find, pushing my earphones deeper into my ears to ensure i don’t miss a single chord transition. Night turned into day, days into weeks. I couldn’t get over this song for quite some time. Even when I did, I only moved on to another Marling song. I was hooked, to say the least, and over time I came to worship her work in a way. The obsessive trip was over in a couple of months, but she has stuck around on my phone playlist ever since (which says a lot, does it not?). None of the others have survived the shuffle, but her. I think I have said this to at least 5 people already, but i have got to say it again. If Laura Marling was a religion, I’d switch in a heartbeat.
The way I see it, there is none other like her. Why? Because lyrics. The effect of Laura Marling’s words is often the opposite of the effect of her music. Her melodies are simplistic as well as ingenious, and they make you feel relaxed and calm. But her words. They hit hard. They make you take a shocked step back from your own life and find it to be something entirely different from what you thought it to be. They are profound and question the basis of pretty much every common belief/emotion of the human race. Family, friendship, humanity, desire, hubris, envy, fame, love. (Latter more than others)
It seems like she saw too much, too clearly and too truthfully to now believe in any of the comforting concepts we usually surround ourselves with. There is a wisdom to her that some will find unnerving or cold. But, this isn’t someone who had a bad experience and hence became heartless, insensitive. This is someone who has been way too sensitive, absorbed every drop of life thrown at her, let it cut through to her being and has developed the capacity to understand so much that things hardly surprise her at all. It’s all just a matter of facts. Everything else is an interpretation.
I will leave the exploring of her work to you, but there is this live recording of two of my favorite songs (I was an eagle & You know) , that I want you to watch before you do that. I do not love this video because it is the best version of the song, but because of how she sings in this. Her face, along with her voice, becomes a vessel of the emotions that wrenched the song out of her. You see the pain of knowing too much. You see the frustration of dealing with someone who cannot comprehend her. You see the gritty resolve one acquires after he/she stands back up, no longer on the ground. There is a lot of art about the misunderstood, but Laura’s work stands for the not understood. You see her being in the deep end of the pool and very comfortable in the solitary circle of her own understanding of herself.
And It is moving. It is inspiring. Her music has been a major influence for me. It has played an important part in how I see the world, and myself in it, today. Her words have helped me understand a lot of things, understand others to an extent and deal with what came my way. I hope her words spread everywhere and resonate with more people. They will change for the better, I am sure.