Newest Review: ... but after listening to this album many times, I'm wondering if we're listening to the same album. Marina and The Diamonds first cam... more
Beats along nicely within my Electra Heart
Electra Heart - Marina and the Diamonds
Member Name: Jojoborne
Electra Heart - Marina and the Diamonds
Advantages: Lively pop beats to bop along to
Disadvantages: Noit for you if you don't like pop
I have a really broad variety of taste when it comes to music. I am a Springsteen fan. I love the eighties having grown up in them. I like many different types of Indie bands. I like electronica. I could name at least two hundred bands easily off the top of my head that I really like. I have over one hundred and thirty thousand plays on Last FM from over one thousand three hundred bands. I mention all this because I don't make decisions lightly when it comes to reviewing an album. It's easy for someone to rubbish and album based on their taste. Even if an album is not to your personal taste it has still had a lot of time and effort spent on it.
I'm an artist and love to listen to music while I work. I have been to hundreds of gigs and concerts, so in many ways, music is a big part of my life. One of my many loves is easy listening pop music or 'girly girl' music as my friends call it. It helps me relax and work well.
Marina Diamandis is one of the acts that I listen to while I work.
Background on Marina
She is known as Marina and the Diamonds but many people take this to be her and her group. This is not the case. Marina and the Diamonds is one person. She claims that the Diamonds are her many fans and by including them in her name she is thanking them personally for listening to and buying her music. Her surname Diamandis is also the Greek word for Diamond.
She is part Greek and part Welsh. She has lived most of her life in Wales. She was born in Wales and moved to Greece when she was sixteen to live with her father. This lasted for two years and she moved back to wales when she was eighteen.
She always knew she could sing and had a good voice at school. Being at school in Wales meant that she was encouraged to sing in a choir and this was not something she wanted to do.
At seventeen she just knew one thing and that was that she wanted to be famous at any cost. Be it the misgivings of a young head or the fantasies of a young girl it would be this drive that would eventually see her make it and grow up along the way.
She dropped out of music school after only a few months and at university she fared no better and dropped out after a year. She knew she was different and just needed someone to take a leap of faith with her. She attended many auditions for musicals and girl bands but became disillusioned. As a last ditch attempt to be discovered she dressed as a male and auditioned for a boy band. She wasn't trying to actually be a boy but she thought that the record company might stand up and take notice of her.
It worked. She obviously failed the audition for the boy band but the record company called her back a week later and the rest is history.
After the success of her first album 'The Family Jewels' Marina's fans and the music industry as a whole were waiting to see if the second album would see her emerge and mature as an artist.
One of the songs off the first album, 'Hollywood' has the line 'Oh my God you look just like Shakira....no, no your Caterine Zeta....actually my name's Marina!'. This is because she switches between black and blonde hair a lot and when blond she does indeed look like shakira and has also been likened to her welsh patriot Catherine Zeta Jones when she has black hair. For the record I prefer her with dark hair. She certainly is a pretty girl as well as being talented. She has won sexiest female singer on two occassions. Once in 2010 at the 4music Awards and again in 2012 at the NME awards.
I, for one, think she has matured and Electra Heart has a lot more of a polished feel to it than the first album.
Track One - Bubblegum Bitch
'Oh 'Dear Diary' I met a boy. He made my Doll heart light up with joy... Oh 'Dear Diary' we fell apart. Welcome to the life of Electra Heart.'
Containing the albums name, this song is an upbeat way to start the album. The riff is very eighties reminds me of OMD, Depeche Mode or the Eurhythmics. It is an all-round quirky little ditty that sums Miss Diamandis up a treat. The track was co-recorded in two studios; The Green Building in Santa Monica, California and at Hackney downs in Hackney, London. Marina certainly has a way with words and writes her own lyrics. I love the chorus 'I'm miss sugar pink, liquor, liquor lips. Hit me with your sweet love and steal me with a kiss. I'm miss sugar pink, liquor, liquor lips, I'm gonna be your bubblegum bitch.
One of the lines states that she was given some lemons and so made lemonade. This is, in my opinion, a reference to how hard she has had to work and how she has got there with steely determination and defiantly plodding on when the odds were stacked against her as it is with so many young, talented girls in this industry.
A great pop track and a good opener for the new album.
Track Two - Primadonna
'Primadonna girl, yeah. All I ever wanted was the world. I can't help that I need it all.'
Track two happens to be the first single off the album. You may have seen marina perform it on Graham Norton.
I actually prefer the remix to the album version. It's a little more upbeat. This track is still upbeat but the cheerleader type chanting in the background puts me off a bit.
Another song that alludes to Miss Diamandis' view on wanting to be at the top of the tree and on her game. In interviews she makes no bones about the fact that she wanted to be famous and her honesty is quite refreshing. Let's be honest anyone who dresses and sings like marina would not be truthful if they stated otherwise.
Recorded at eightyfourseven studios in Los Angeles.
I do like this song as it is another easy pop song but like I said, the cheerleader element sort of spoils the album track.
Track Three - Lies
A nice slow build up to this song and a cool piano intro builds the track up nicely.
'You're too proud to say that you made a mistake. You're a coward till the end. I don't want to admit that we're not gonna fit. No, I'm not the type that you like. Why don't we just pretend?'
I love the chorus to this song and marina's voice is superb. She blends her deep and high tones together perfectly and with this being the third track in, you really begin to realise the scope of this girl's voice. She certainly has some lungs on her. The first real ballad on the album but still has kick.
This track was also recorded in Los Angeles at eightyfourseven studios.
Track Four - Homewrecker
Another slow starter with sultry synthesiser sounds. Marina talks over the intro. It is a little reminiscent of the Pet Shop Boys and Neil Tennant in some of their tracks on the 'Introspective' album. For some strange reason it also reminds me of the 'Are You Being Served' theme. She soon kicks in with that amazing high operatic voice before bouncing into another pop chorus and more sultry deep tones.
Marina often talks about unruly teenagers and lost love in her lyrics. This may just be a character she is writing about but you can't help feel that she may have had some heartache already in her young life.
'When everything is life and death, you may feel like there is nothing left. Instead of love and trust and laughter, what you get is happy never after. But deep down all you want is love, the pure kind we all dream of. But we cannot escape the past, so you and I will never last.'
This track was recorded in The Green Building in Santa Monica and Hackney Downs in London.
Another easy listener and I like the lyrics.
Track Five - Starring Role
A great ballad with a pop beat. If you haven't seen Marina sing this live and acoustic on YouTube, then I urge you to do so. It is a fabulous performance and just shows what a talent she is.
I like this song. It has a lot of range and oozes class. The chorus is catchy and it grows on you the more you listen to it.
Again alluding to the fact that she likes to be at the top of her game but also under-layered by her experiences and views on love.
Again, this track was recorded in Santa Monica and London.
'It almost feels like a joke to play out a part, when you are not the starring role in someone else's heart. You know I'd rather walk alone than play a supporting role....if I can't get the starring role.'
I like the edginess to this song. There is so much angst and regret in there. 'You don't love me, big fucking deal. I'll never tell you how I feel.'
Track Six -The State of Dreaming
Another slow starting track and a lovely ballad. 'My life is a play' again alluding to the life marina is living. The track picks up and the pop beat kicks in and turns this into a very pleasant, melodic pop track.
'Yeah I've been living in a state of dreaming, living in a make believe land.'
Marina has certainly had to work hard to get to where she is now and I think she has every intention of enjoying every moment of her time in the music industries illustrious bubble.
Again recorded in Santa Monica and London.
Not one of my favourite tracks yet but may grow on me as I have only had the album a week and only listened to it for two days after getting back to Holland from the UK.
Track Seven - Power and Control
A pop track with an electronica undertone. Upbeat and lively.
Another love song that alludes to Marina's life as well.
'Power and control, I'm gonna make you fall. Women and men, we are the same, but love will always be a game. A human vulnerability doesn't mean that I am weak.'
Marina talks of being controlled all her life and seeing as she has been pursuing this career from an early age, one can only assume that until she was seventeen she was pushed in a certain direction. You can almost feel the tension and relief and the moment that she went out into the big wide world of her own accord.
Power and Control will be the second single release from the album.
Track Eight - Living Dead
I love this track. Massive pop-beat epic. Would be great on 'True Blood' or any of the vampire series or indeed 'The Walking dead'.
The chorus is catchy even though not overly lyrical.
'I'm living dead, only alive. When I pretend that I have died. I haven't lived life, I haven't lived love, just a bird's eye view from the sky above. I'm dead, I'm living dead.'
Simple lyrics but effective ones when laid out with this jumpy beat.
This track was originally released or leaked for download way before the album was released.
Track Nine - Teen Idle
Another bitch fest against authority and the powers that be.
'I wanna be a virgin pure. A twenty-first century whore. I want back my virginity, so I can feel infinity. I wanna drink until I ache. I wanna make a big mistake. I want blood guts and angel cake, I'm gonna puke it anyway.'
Recorded in Santa Monica and London.
This song encapsulates everything that Marina is trying to say on this album. It's a teenage rant; it's a statement for an adult that refuses to grow up in anything but the predicaments that responsibility dictates.
Track Ten - Valley of the Dolls
'In the valley of the dolls, we sleep. Got a hole inside of me, living with identities that do not belong to me. In my life I got this far, now I'm ready for the last hoorah, dying like a shooting star, in the valley.'
Wonderful electronica/synthesiser pop ballad.
Probably not destined to be a single but an enjoyable song.
Another song jointly recorded and produced in Santa Monica and London.
Track Eleven -Hypocrates
'You say that love is not that easy and that's the lesson that you teach me. So Hypocritical, overly cynical, I'm sick and tired of all your preaching. Who are you to tell me who to be?'
Another pure pop ballad. Guitar dictates this track as opposed to synthesiser.
Marina again blends her high notes with her low guttural sound.
Recorded in Santa Monica and London.
Track Twelve - Fear and Loathing
The last track on the album is a sultry number that is a good way to finish it off.
'Don't wanna live in fear and loathing. I want to feel like I am floating, instead of constantly exploding in fear and loathing.'
Great synth sounds on this track again and Marina's range is amazing.
This track was released as a free download quite a while before the album was released.
Recorded and mixed at the Ivory Tower.
I like individuals, people who come along and dare to (heaven forbid) be different. I also like people who in one way or another speak out against the establishment or shall we call them boring people who make rules for the rest of the sheep to follow.
Marina is definitely one of those people; not one of the boring people, no, one of the individuals. She had a dream, she followed it, she worked hard and she never gave up. I think that is admirable, especially in such a corrupt setting as the music industry and world were we pay footballers a million a month while policeman, firemen and paramedics have to survive on the pathetic wage that we give to our real heroes. On her first album she had a dig at the Americans but also endeared herself to them by liking the chaos that is Hollywood. On this second album she manages to rant without being overbearing or complaining. She just tells it like it is and if you don't like her opinion, well that's OK too.
She's a very conscientious and shrewd young lady and I hope she gets all the credit she deserves. She has won numerous awards over the past two years for her quirky music and I am sure there will be more to come from her.
For a girl who originally started by selling just over fifty copies of an ep on her MySpace page, she has come a long way and good for her.
If you like pop music, then this album will definitely brighten up your day and have you tapping your feet and smiling.
You can pick it up in all good record stores for around nine pounds and a little cheaper on the internet. If you are buying from eBay then beware of frauds as a lot of copies are flying around on there.
All in all a great second album from the girl with the angelic looks and the diverse voice. Refreshing and unique and worth the money.
Summary: A vibrant upbeat pop album with an electronica base.