As opposed to our favorite songs, or songs we'd like to think define our listening habits, taking a look at what a person actually listens to can be far more revealing. With that in mind, every Wednesday we ask an artist to take a look at the most-played songs in their iTunes libraries and share with us the results. We do this on the honor system, and we ask our subjects to share a few words about each song.
In a lilting, aristocratic British accent, folk-pop princess Laura Marling is the first artist to dial up Seattle Weekly HQ to deliver iTunes picks over the phone. Historically, artists prefer to submit through email but with a spirit of spontaneity Marling reeled off her top 10 live and unrehearsed, discovering a few unexpected zingers like Funkadelic's "Hit It And Quit It" along the way. You wouldn't expect such funky picks from the 22-year old singer, who channels the timeless folk sounds of Joni Mitchell and Leonard Cohen throughout her three album catalog, including her most recent, the dazzling A Creature I Don't Know, but she admits, "I would bloody love to do some." Read on to discover her love of local label Light In The Attic records, how old she was when the first Shins record dropped, and her musings on Bonnie 'Prince' Billy.
Laura Marling plays The Showbox at the Market next Tuesday (6/26) with Willy Mason.
The top most played one, and I'm sitting here with it in front of me, is "Never Going Back Again" by Fleetwood Mac, and I was quite surprised that was the top one, because, for my sins, I really only discovered Rumours a year and a half ago. That song really kind of leaves you wanting more, I guess that's why I've played it so much.
The next song is "I Wish I Had Not Said That," by J.J. Cale, and I heard a lot of J.J. Cale growing up but that song in particular is really strange, really ahead of its time. It sounds like it could be a Beck song, the production on it is really strange. In my head J.J. Cale is really bluesy and quite minimal with not so much production, but this one is really produced and could honestly be a Beck song from the early 2000's. It's a really sweet song. I can't really describe it, it's got this keyboard sound, a synthesized keyboard sound, and it's from the early '80s but it doesn't sound like the horrific music people were making with those sounds back then, it sounds a lot more modern than that, and it's very interesting.
"I'm Going To Make Her Love Me" by Jim Ford. I was given this album by a very nice guy who runs the label Light In The Attic. ("Oh yeah? That's a Seattle label with a pretty obscure roster.") Yeah, it's brilliant, I have no idea how they find them [the artists and music]. You listen to the album and it's massive, it's huge, all the people who played on it [legendary session players Dr. John, Jim Keltner, and James Burton]. I love everything that they release, in particular Jim Ford and Jim Sullivan, especially stuff by Jim Ford. That song was released in 1969, which was such phenomenal year in music, and the same year my next song came out, George Harrison's "If Not For You." It was such a strange year in music, there was so much going on then and those two songs I just love, they're pure, straight '60s pop songs.
The next song shoots us into modernity, it's "Girl Inform Me," by The Shins. I absolutely fell in love with this album, when it came out I must have been 12 or 13. It reminds me so much of being a teenager. I love that album so much.
"Happy House," by Shuggie Otis: He was a '60s funk guy, and funk is my guilty pleasure. This song is just 1 minute 17 seconds long, and it's just a great tune. It's really short and funky. I don't know if people would swallow me doing funk, I think I'd have to start a whole new project, but I would bloody love to do some.
"Whipping Post," Allman Brothers: Here's another one made 1969, and I literally think it's the coolest song ever written, the kind of song you put on and it makes you feel energized. That's why it's on my top plays.
"Mother and Child Reunion," Paul Simon: That's just a happy song, a mood booster. Paul Simon always reminds me of when I was a kid, hopefully everyone has good memories of Simon and Garfunkel growing up.
This next song is seriously cheesy stuff, it's "Hit It and Quit It" by Funkadelic. I'm quite embarrassed about that actually, I didn't realize how far this one is up, that's crazy! For me, it's a very party song, yeah, I put this one on at parties.
This is a good one, "Cursed Sleep," by Bonnie 'Prince' Billy, from The Letting Go, which I'm surprised because that's not my favorite album of his. But on that song the arrangements are just unbelievable, the cello and the backup vocalists, and the rolling string arrangements are just phenomenal.
Seattle Weekly: You've got a thing for Southern rock. Jim Ford, Bonnie 'Prince' Billy, The Allman Brothers, and J.J. Cale are all from the south. Actually, Bonnie 'Prince' Billy is playing Seattle in a few days.
Marling: Yes indeed, I need to get myself to the southern states. It's infuriating! Bonnie 'Prince' Billy and I are constantly playing in the same city on the same night, and I would love to see him play live. He's one of those people where I have all his albums and know all his songs, to see him play live would be such a pleasure.