Song(s) Of The Day 6/5/2013: Laura Marling - "Suite: Take The Night Off, I Was An Eagle, You Know, Breathe"

I'm writing album reviews again. I haven't written album reviews for about six years, maybe seven. I didn't particularly enjoy writing album reviews back then. I kind of thought they were a dying form of critique. Frankly though, every form of art criticism is reportedly in some state of decline these days. I also resisted quantified rating systems like stars or grades that most music publications use, although having to provide one was never a deal-breaker. I took the late Roger Ebert's view that star ratings were not a fair way to adjudicate films of varying genres, and also believed the star rating is often the only thing a lot of people bother reading in the reviews.

In the interim I developed this kind of study technique for evaluating music, which I used most frequently when I was about to interview a musician and didn't want to sound like an idiot. That paid off extremely well, so I figured I might be able to fashion actual reviews out of it, ones that weren't excruciating to write.

In one of my other jobs I found myself constantly returning to this website called Treble that had some interesting content, and album reviews with -- surprise! -- no star ratings. I thought I'd inquire of them, they seemed amenable, here we go. My first piece was on Laura Marling's new album Once I Was An Eagle, which turned out to be one of my very favorite albums of the first half of 2013. This WNYC session contains the first four songs of the album which are fashioned into a kind of suite. Or song cycle, or something.

I'm going to have to dust off the music critic terminology cheat sheet again, I'm a little rusty. What does "seminal" mean again?


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