Ellie & Laura

I’m not familiar with a song called Only Girl (In the World) by Rihanna and I’m only slightly more familiar with the singer Ellie Goulding (above left). However, Ms Goulding performed a quite brilliant version of the tune the other day for the Live Lounge on BBC Radio 1. It begins with picked guitar and a faint piano before her vocals start. The song then soars during the chorus as the strings come in. The 23-year-old singer released her debut album Lights earlier this year and is one of a number of English singers who’ve had a good 2010. Another is Laura Marling who is three years younger than Goulding, but has already released two acclaimed albums. Both of them, Alas, I Cannot Swim (2008) and I Speak Because I Can (2010), have been nominated for the Mercury Music Prize. The Wrote & the Writ is a song by her friend Johnny Flynn and it appears on A Larum (2008), the first of his two albums. Marling and Flynn both have a strong folk background and this song’s tune and lyric seem to come from an earlier generation. It’s a love song that draws upon religious imagery and its remove from modernity is highlighted by its reference to letter writing as opposed to the prevalence of electronic forms of communication in contemporary society and culture. I’m a fan of both of her albums and this song, but I’m as unfamiliar with Johnny Flynn’s original as I am with Rihanna’s. Perhaps it’s better that way, as I’ve been told that familiarity can often breed contempt

Only Girl (In the World) (Rihanna cover) – Ellie Goulding

The Wrote and the Writ (Johnny Flynn cover) – Laura Marling