On Laura Marling’s sixth album, Semper Femina, she has created a conceptual album that is wholly female. While her previous work has often times referenced the relationships with current and previous male subjects, Marling instead focuses on the female perspective of, well, females. She digs deep into the female psyche and explores womanhood without using men as a counterpoint. What you get is something sophisticated and complex, raw and straight forward. What you don’t get is a collection of girl-power anthems in the likes of Katy Perry or Taylor Swift. Instead of overcoming the obstacles women face in relationships with men, or celebrating their femaleness in a misogynistic world, Marling explores the ambiguity in what it means to be empowered or exude strength as a woman.
While carefully balanced between restraint and overt expression, the album is less of a statement and more of an exploration. Most song writers write in the perspective of “me” – using themselves as the main subject matter of their songs. Other songwriters focus on the “we” – with the naïve intention to share experiences with the listener. For her latest album, Marling focuses on the “she” – forcing the listener to look beyond themselves. It’s an empathic move that may sound impalpable, but would undoubtedly resonate to queer listeners.