Sometimes I’m wistful for the early 70s Laurel Canyon music scene and the carefully crafted folk song. Then I step back and realize we have a couple of artists that are creating music just as invigorating and thoughtful as Joni Mitchell or Jackson Browne.
I’m talking about Courtney Barnett and Laura Marling and they both have new records out this week that are true albums in that they are complete works and not just haphazard songs that are slapped together.
Of course Courtney would probably the first to dispute any claims of brilliance on her part, “Put me on a pedestal and I’ll only disappoint you” she blurts out on “Pedestrian At Best”. It’s a lyric I can imagine Kurt Cobain admiring. Judging from the lyrical content and the way she loosely handles her guitar when she plays, I would think that Courtney has studied Nirvana albums and concerts many times over. It’s not to say she’s just rehashing Kurt’s rantings, but that she creating her own vision with a strong influence from the early 90s era with a clear bent towards how a 20-something views the world today. It’s just as exhilarating as it was when grunge ruled the world.
Laura Marling writes songs so personal that it’s almost like eavesdropping on a therapy session. “Is it still okay that I don’t know how to be alone”. “There’s a party uptown but I just don’t feel like I belong at all”. Laura digs deep and is not afraid to share her vulnerability, which make it so much more intriguing when she shares these personal musings with an audience.
The songs on this album are like mini movies and it’s easy to see why Laura felt to call this album “Short Movie”. These songs be viewed as short stories, or vignettes or simply her musings set to music. Laura has made an artistic piece that works as both an audio and/or visual experience and just like all great works this will take on a different experience with each listen.
As a primer for Short Movie, here’s music Laura provided for a short film entitled “Woman Driver”