Review - Marina and the Diamonds - Electra Heart (Deluxe Edition)
Marina and the Diamond’s sophomore album opens with a song called “Bubblegum Bitch”, which should if nothing else be a sign that she hasn’t lost any of her attitude or originality in her career’s progression. The song (which I thought would be terrible, based solely on the name) is a good way to open the album – a bit sassy, touching on electro, and pretty damn good.
Marina and the Diamonds are actually just one person – Marina Diamandis (see where the name comes from), and her 2010 debut did fairly well in the UK; the album hit number 5 and it had three top 40 singles. For a new off-center pop act, that is pretty damn good. Marina is known for two things mostly: her vocals and her writing. She proved herself with ‘The Family Jewels’, but she steps it up for the second album.
Not only does she really learn how to work her vocals (which are completely original in pop music today – imagine an opera singer trying not to show off, and you can actually understand what the words are), but she brings in some real heavyweights to make sure that her vision is crafted just perfectly. Pop mavericks Dr. Luke, his protégé Cirkut, and Stargate and Greg Kurstin all have a hand in producing or writing tracks – all with Diamandis sitting in. Every track was written or co-written by her, and you can hear it in the originality of the songs. Titles like “Fear and Loathing”, “Valley of the Dolls”, and “Primadonna” are all ones that immediately grab your attention. I have a feeling Marina came up with the idea and themes – the others were just there to add nice pop hooks and smooth everything over.
Lead single “Primadonna” is one of those Dr. Luke productions, and it is a great one. The song is just out there enough to be her own and no one else’s, and yet friendly enough to bring her to her highest UK charting yet (#11). Hell, I even heard the song on a US radio station the other day.
‘Electra Heart’ is not for everyone, but don’t be afraid. A statement like that is like saying that Ellie Goulding, Hurts, Lights, or Little Boots aren’t for everyone. No, they may not be, but they are making great pop music that is easily identifiable and kick ass. I respect anyone who moves the genre into something a little different, takes it somewhere new. Marina and the Diamonds are certainly doing this, and I believe she is doing it better and better as time goes on.
‘Electra Heart’ is available now in the US (it came out a few months ago in the UK). For a short time, Amazon is offering the album (the deluxe edition with a video) for only $3.99. You should probably snatch that up!
Listen to: “Bubblegum Bitch”, “Primadonna”, “Power and Control”, and “Buy The Stars” (to really listen to her voice, and a slower moment)