Originally published on Tue September 18, 2012 5:31 pm
Credit Nabil Elderkin / Courtesy of the artist
Birthdays come but once a year, but for music lovers, what I like to call "that birthday feeling" is a semi-regular thing. I'm talking about the rush, tinged by anxiety, greeting the first download click on an album you've been longing to hear for months. It's a complicated wash of emotions, boosted by conflicting hopes and assumptions. You're about to get exactly what you've wanted; but what if it's not exactly what you want? And boy, that bike Mom promised to buy had better be cherry red.
When Tom Jones performed at the NPR Music offices in 2009, it felt like an exercise in cruelty: His Tiny Desk Concert took a larger-than-life icon, a superstar for whom intimacy is implied but impossible on a huge stage, and shrunk him to where every bead of sweat could be seen. Young English folksinger Laura Marling, on the other hand, lives for that sort of intimacy.