Anybody with a brain and a healthy pair of ears is going to put Laura Marling’s astonishingly beautiful Once I Was An Eagle on their shortlist of the best albums of 2013. Pretty much all other folk (well, realistically, “folk-related”) albums from the last decade had to throw up the white flag after this record came out. There is a crisp, gut-wrenching rawness embedded in every corner of this labyrinth of emotion that is almost too captivating for words. Not only are her lyrics poetic and spot on, but the music layered underneath gives them life. The instrumentation is simple, authentic, and masterfully executed; every pluck of the guitar is tactfully audible. These 16 tracks work together as a unit in a way most albums don’t get the chance to, but, as with any records, there are specific highlights. I think, outside of the single, “Master Hunter,” there is one clear standout that we can all agree upon: “Where Can I Go?” The track ingeniously brings that “peak and valley” moment to Once I Was An Eagle right when it’s needed the most. The most obvious comparison to it is Bob Dylan’s epic “Like A Rolling Stone,” thanks to the wall of acoustic guitars that juxtapose sweetly with a heralding organ, but I’m not sure that this track deserves to be downgraded to “update on a classic” status. Every time the simple, but soaring chorus comes in, it’s more powerful than the last, which helps the track launch into an epic climax. There will be so many chills running up your spine that you won’t even know what to do with yourself. Ideally, you’ll be experiencing “Where Can I Go?” for the first time after listening to it in the context of Once I Was An Eagle, but I guarantee this will be a piece you’ll keep going back to time and time again. You better believe this song will be making my Best Songs Of 2013 list, because it is honestly that good.