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Marina and the Diamonds - Electra Heart - Album Review!

11:46 pm Angie 0 Comments

'Electra Heart' is the new 2012 release from Welsh singer-songwriter Marina and the Diamonds and by the mouth of Marina herself, Electra Heart is her response to rejection in love. Creating four 'archetypes', or characters (the Primadonna, Teen Idle and Homewrecker, to name a few), the whole thing is quite poorly constructed. She creates these characters but fails to actually achieve a effective end point. Most of the songs on the album contradict theirselves quite a few times - isn't an album meant to have a main, constant theme? For example, you've got songs such as 'Teen Idle', contemplating Marina's own youth (as stated in a previous interview) and then songs like 'Homewrecker', one of Diamandis' characters. For me, it just seems odd to be talking about little snippets of your life when you're meant to be creating a story, building characters if you will. Either write songs about your life or create a whole concept album. It's just inconsistent if you do both.

Also, I found that Diamandis has almost changed her morals completely. Her debut album, 'The Family Jewels' was about judging popular culture as well as promoting feminism (for example, on 'Girls', in which the lyrics are 'Not gonna bend over and courtesy for you.') and now she's talking about being a 'bottle blonde'. She's using the fact that she's aiming to portray the 70's type American dream as an excuse to completely change your image and sound. Honestly, I don't believe she's doing this conceptual album as a way to judge the types of love and personalities, she's just using this as an excuse to (as much as I hate using this term), 'sell out'.

I genuinely believe that the fame has caused Diamandis to change. When she released 'The Family Jewels', she looked like an ordinary, albeit beautiful person with an extraordinary voice, now she looks like she's walked straight out of a grandiose fashion show. You can't pretend music is not about the image as much as the sound, but her image almost overpowers her sound. She looked much more beautiful and natural in 'The Family Jewels' era. You can't be judging others when you look exactly like them.

Diamandis has stated that she wasn't happy creating music all by her stony lonesome, so she hired some top producers (who have worked with the likes of Katy Perry and Rihanna) to work on Electra Heart, which explains why her music sounds so 'poppy'. On her debut album, you would find that she had more simple, piano-driven melodies supported by her strong vocals. However, on Electra Heart, it seems like the music is doing all the work for her - which is why her vocals don't sound as quirky and strong as previously and the heavy beats and electronic sounds do most of the work. It seems to me these producers have perverted the sound of Marina.

However, Diamandis really comes into her own on the calmer, more acoustic sounding songs of the album. Songs such as 'Starring Role', 'The State of Dreaming', 'Hypocrates' and 'Buy The Stars' (Deluxe edition) offer a much slower-paced, simpler side to the album. If you get a chance to listen to her acoustic versions of tracks from the album on Youtube, you'll see it's stripped free of any heavy electronic beats. When listening to it, I found it's more like her than the actual album. I sure hope she releases an acoustic album, because it's definitely better than the original. You can compare the acoustic and original versions of her first single 'Primadonna' below.

Thematically, Diamandis' theme is definitely not original. There have been hundreds of artists singing about love, and Diamandis doesn't offer something new to the table. She even borrows The Beatles' 'Lonely Hearts Club' idea. I just wish she would have thought of a theme much more original and outlandish, like before.

Lyrically, Diamandis could have done much better. The lyrics on 'The Family Jewels' were much more memorable and effective. Yet, on Electra Heart, her lyrics seem to cater more to popular music. She sings 'when you're around me, I'm radioactive.'. I don't know about you, but that sounds like a billion other pop songs out there. It seems like Diamandis is catering to the pop genre and completely abandoning the quirky, indie style that she had introduced us with. Why introduce it to us if you're going to completely take it away from us? Fans expected an album much like the debut, yet they were shocked to find it's nothing of the sort.
Overall, because all of the reasons given, I am awarding Diamandis 3/5 musicos! It really disheartens me to offer her only 3 out of 5 as I am a big fan, but part of the reason I am offering her this score is because of the fact she completely changed and not in a good way. I want the old Marina.  Comment your thoughts below!

Music Bloggery Recommends: 'Lies', 'Homewrecker', 'The State of Dreaming', 'Hypocrates', 'Lonely Hearts Club' (Deluxe edition only), 'Buy The Stars' (Deluxe edition only)

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