Laura Marling - Once I Was an Eagle
Critic Score
Based on 33 reviews
2013 Ratings: #12 / 960
Year End Rank: #33
User Score
Based on 229 ratings
2013 Ratings: #30
May 27, 2013 / Release Date
LP / Format
Virgin / Label
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lauramarling.com / Website
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CRITIC REVIEWS

100
The Telegraph

Marling is never likely to be a fixture of the pop charts. But Once I Was An Eagle is a masterpiece, and, at 23, she’s still only getting started.

91
A.V. Club

Whether or not Marling’s huffy folk music is your brand of gin, it’s hard to deny the markings of such a raw talent. Eagle is a master class in creation.

91
Pretty Much Amazing

Once I Was an Eagle is a singular achievement: a haunting record, peopled with aural ghosts that come gradually crawling from out of the grooves.

90
The Fly

It’s the longest and best Laura Marling record yet: a 63-minute modern folk opus that should earn the Hampshire lass her third Mercury Prize nomination.

90
musicOMH

Sandblown and enigmatic, these are English folk songs that at times sound as if they’ve been established in the canon for umpteen years, yet the filter of tradition yields strangely enigmatic results; songs that are readily self-aware, but also conjure something unknown.

90
DIY

On ‘Once I Was An Eagle’, though, Marling proves that while she might remind people of Joni Mitchell, John Mayall, or anyone else you can shake an acoustic guitar at, she is not simply an imitative by-product. 

90
NME

'Once I Was An Eagle' is an intense, internal record with a clear emotional arc. The portrait it paints of the author is not always flattering, but the truth rarely is.

90
PopMatters

Once I Was an Eagle is a bold work that, in theory, shouldn’t work—a lengthy, near-concept album about emotional availability—but Marling makes it into one of the year’s essential releases.

90
No Ripcord

There are two primary things that make Once I Was An Eagle take flight: Lyrics and progression, which together make the album intelligent, confident, and, perhaps most importantly, recursive. 

85
The 405

Marling is at a peak of confidence, and it wouldn't be too remiss of me to suggest that Once I Was An Eagle is her best album yet; better individual songs may lie elsewhere, but her new record's cohesive nature makes it much more of an adventure than what came before. 

85
The Line of Best Fit

Marling has delivered Once I Was an Eagle with a charisma lacking in most of her peers, and the poise of a far older hand. She’s no longer one of the country’s most exciting prospects; she’s one of its greatest songwriters.

85
Paste

Once I Was An Eagle is a remarkable feat of personal reflection that reveals more of its intricacies with every listen. 

81
Pitchfork

It’s expansive and ambitious, and divorced of all the tweedy preening and aw-shucks raggediness the idea of “folk” has accumulated in recent years. It's dark, it’s angry, it’s even sexy, in a sly, subtle way.

80
Consequence of Sound

On her fourth release, Once I Was an Eagle, Marling physically and metaphorically sheds any notions of fragility with songs that are captivating and complex.

80
Spin

Marling has always trafficked in understated elegance, but she's firmly in attack mode here. Mostly against herself.

80
Beats Per Minute

Eagle is definitely Marling’s most considered work, and most of that comes simply from the fact she’s stripped away a lot of the decoration, and yet ultimately it feels easy for her, if not a little predictable.

75
Under The Radar

Once I Was An Eagle is Marling's most fully-realized release yet, a quasi-conceptual record that traces a path from naivety through harsh experience and eventually to consequent enlightenment.

74
Sputnikmusic

Marling fares well throughout the release because she’s out in the open-- no longer hidden behind walls of varying sound.

70
Drowned in Sound

To create something so ambitious and interesting almost single-handedly, and to already sound ready to head off to the next level, would give anyone a massive boost of self-confidence and drive to see what else they could achieve.

70
AllMusic

Marling is an old soul through and through, and her remarkably timeless voice, idiosyncratic lyrics, and increasingly impressive guitar chops help to elevate the album's less immediate moments

MinatoArisato
65
An alright folk album that maybe drags on just a bit too long.

Best Track: Little Love Caster
Worst Track: Master Hunter
winitheju
85
Don't know why I hadn't reviewed this, but it's mighty good
mbertels
93
I love folk music, but a big problem I have with it (and other genres too, to be fair) is that any given album - on its own - might be very enjoyable. But it sounds just like every other album being put out by dozens/hundreds of artists that all kind of sound the same. Little of it feels particularly unique.

This is not a problem this album faces. Once I Was an Eagle is unique and beautiful. It all ties together like a compelling narrative. It sounds like the way you feel when you watch a ... read more
sumrapsungs
100
a triumph.
95
This album made me question so many other albums I enjoy. It has become one of the benchmarks on what I consider a well put together album as far as son structure, order, etc.
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Track List

  1. Take the Night Off
  2. I Was an Eagle
  3. You Know
  4. Breathe
  5. Master Hunter
  6. Little Love Caster
  7. Devil’s Resting Place
  8. Interlude
  9. Undine
  10. Where Can I Go?
  11. Once
  12. Pray For Me
  13. When Were You Happy? (And How Long has That Been)
  14. Love be Brave
  15. Little Bird
  16. Saved These Words
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Added on: March 8, 2013