One of the features of iTunes that I like the most is the ability to surf through and see recommendations for artists that are similar to ones I purchase and/or already like. Last week while doing just that, I discovered Laura Marling‘s music. The following two songs are now stuck in my head — I can’t stop them from playing over and over and over again ….

Marling is an 18-year-old English folk-pop singer. This means that she’s another of the British musicians that I’ve recently come to love — I’m starting to wonder if I listen to anything besides British singers! (When I first asked myself that, the first thing that came to mind is that I’ve recently started listening to Annie Lennox’s last CD again, but she obviously doesn’t count since she’s Scottish. Oh well. I guess that just leaves Bishop Allen.)

Marling previously released a couple of EPs and then released her first full album, Alas, I Cannot Swim, earlier this year. There are moments when her voice hits a certain pitch or inflection that remind me a lot of Kate Wolf‘s voice and style (or maybe it’s a cross of Wolf and Adele). Parts of this song, “New Romantic,” kind of illustrate what I mean:

I think what I mean is that I could imagine Kate Wolf singing this song, if she were still alive, of course.

Marling’s video for “Cross Your Fingers/ Crawled Out of the Sea” seems like a throwback to older videos, like something you might see in the ’80s or early ’90s. I like that about it.

I also like this song:

I like the line, “If they want you, then they’re gonna have to fight me,” combined with the folky strings. The masks also remind me of a Doctor Who episode!

“Ghosts” is also a good track:

I like the idea of presenting your new love with the “pictures of the ghosts who broke my heart before I met you.” She doesn’t write like you’d think an 18-year-old would write. Her lyrics are much more complex and interesting than what’s being put out by American teen-aged pop singers. And the way she sings these lines illustrate what I mean about her sounding like Kate Wolf:

Lover, please do not
Fall to your knees
It’s not
Like I believe in
Everlasting love

I read an interview with her in which she describes her lyrics as being stream of consciousness. I like this aspect of her work and I think that’s what gives it its complexity. I’m not at all sure what “Cross Your Fingers” is about or what it means, but I love it. I love the way it sounds and I love the way the lyrics are put together.

Overall, Laura Marling has joined my list of recent favorite British musicians. I can’t quite rank her as high as Duffy or Amy Winehouse, but she’s really close. And the more I listen to her music the more I like it. So maybe soon she’ll be up there with them. In the meantime, I’ll be singing,

I jumped into your grave and died,
And on my word you’ll give up your whole life for me
And you’ll be reborn bigger and stronger and less alive…

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