I Speak Because I Can - Laura Marling
I Speak Because I Can Image

Universal acclaim - based on 21 Critics What's this?

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Universal acclaim- based on 46 Ratings

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  • Summary: The second album for the British singer-songwriter was produced by Ethan Johns.
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 19 out of 21
  2. Negative: 0 out of 21
  1. The result is her first triumph: a collection of literary and emotional songs to have you whooping with joy or fighting off tears, with tunes that deliver new riches with each listen.
  2. Her second album is an enchanting collection of beautifully raw songs, the faint trace of tape-hiss in the quieter moments combined with the rootsy feel of songs.
  3. She found it in herself to make yet another gorgeous, melancholy, old-souled record.
  4. Marling combines craft, instinct, and emotion for a collection of tunes that showcase a variety of mostly acoustic moods but coalesce into a hushed, beguiling whole.
  5. 80
    Marling's second album is one of staggering maturity. An old-school folk album of the best sort. [Apr 2010, p.92]
  6. On I Speak Because I Can, her great leap forward after 2008's captivating Mercury-nominated debut, Marling deploys an archaic folk patois with convincing gravitas. [Apr 2010, p.118]
  7. At her best, she takes PJ Harvey and Nick Drake back to their primordial folk roots, evoking mean sex in overgrown glens and casual farmhand violence.

See all 21 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 7 out of 7
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 7
  3. Negative: 0 out of 7
  1. Nov 5, 2010
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. the folk and pop perfection of this year is Laura Marling...her incredible and amazing new album...shine...she is so talent and her voice is really beautiful...! this album is a masterpiece! Expand
  2. May 28, 2013
    Alas I Cannot Swim, was a record who's creator clearly felt torn between two places: being a London teenager and being a contemporary folk singer. It's fair to say that the folk came through a lot stronger on many of the tracks. However, it is unmistakably a teenager's album. Some lines like "If he [God] made in his image me then he's a failure too" and "Mom thinks that you're sad/ And that you're living alone/ And your friends think if you're sad/ You should call them more" they're remarkably insightful, true and a clever examination of a teenager's life, and mature, but not necessarily wise. Enter I Speak Because I Can. The older and wiser sister of Alas I Cannot Swim. It feels like twenty, thirty, even forty years older. But there's a youth about it, a freshness.

    This record encapsulates the sound of times gone by alongside a thin but precious streak of the future, that may one day come into realisation. Our teenage singer has become a woman, and her music, cold, sparse and delicately beautiful resonates throughout the album. The places in society and the role of women, and humans, are a central topic. Opener Devil's Spoke makes reference to king Odysseus, while Rambling Man alludes to Catherine of Aragon. Made By Maid describes a "babe atop a log" saved by a maid. The child grows up under her watchful eye, only to "blame me for every wrong ever he made". While these songs all take root from some catalytic piece of literature, it feels as though Marling relates with every character she brings into her musical idiom.

    I Speak Because I Can, the tumultuous closing track that swells from whisper to roar, draws inspiration from Penelope, the abandoned wife of King Odysseus: "My husband left me last night/ Left me a poor a lonely wife/ And I cooked the meals and he got the life/ And now I'm just out for the rest of my time" where inspiration is taken from, it feels like the result could be as much Marling's own perfectly phrased biographical statement "I speak because I can/ To anyone I trust enough to listen"

    That line itself sums up I Speak Because I Can as an album: Marling trusts those who'll listen to understand what is said, plain and true. Her crystalline delivery and thorny lyrics opening up a gift, to put it pretentiously. It's a wonderful statement in itself: music at its best is music that is listened to, not heard.
  3. GaryB
    Apr 9, 2010
    I Speak is beautifully written performed and produced. Laura Marling is an awesome talent.
  4. Kevin
    Apr 6, 2010
    A nearly flawless collection of British folk music in a contemporary setting. The Ms. Marlings of this world come by oh so very un-often! do buy this disc, don't wait for a stateside release. Collapse
  5. LauraO.
    Apr 7, 2010
    Loved the first one, but this one haunts. Brilliant.
  6. Sep 10, 2010
    Laura has a way to connect to her listeners on an emotional level that mainstream songs do not have today. Her songwriting is excellent and it some songs witty and even funny. Her voice is soothing and the guitar is mellow. Definitely worth a listen. Expand
  7. StephenB.
    Apr 12, 2010
    Love folk music and this is up there with the classics.

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