Friday, May 18, 2012

Album Review: Marina and the Diamonds - Electra Heart

Marina and the Diamonds - Electra Heart

After the top five success of Marian Diamandis' debut album The Family Jewels, the 26 year old returns with her follow-up album Electra Heart, a character Diamandis has created.

Apparently, 'Electra Heart is the antithesis of everything that I stand for. And the point of introducing her and building a whole concept around her is that she stands for the corrupt side of American ideology, and basically that’s the corruption of yourself. My worst fear—that’s anyone’s worst fear—is losing myself and becoming a vacuous person. And that happens a lot when you’re very ambitious.'


Now, I was quite a fan of The Family Jewels. It's quirky sound and interesting songwriting grew on me the more I listed to it, and tracks like Shampain, Hollywood and I Am Not a Robot are great indie pop records. As for Electra Heart - well, I'm not sure what to make of it at all.

It's certainly a lurch to a poppier sound with opening track Bubblegum Bitch being co-written with Rick Nowels - a main I have had the pleasure of interviewing thanks to the fact he wrote Belinda Carlisle's late 80s hits Heaven Is A Place on Earth and Circle In The Sand. There are also collaborations here with Greg Kurstin (who's worked with the likes of Lily Allen, Little Boots, Sia, Kelly Clarkson and Ke$ha) and Steve Angello of the Swedish House Mafia.

I think Electra Heart starts off reasonably well, and then trails off into a sea of indifferent tunes which very much merge into one another. Alexis Petridis hit the nail on the head when he said 'there's clearly an interesting pop star somewhere in there' but I don't think this album is a forward step. It's actually made Marina less quirky and less original and while it may sell by the bucketload, it's simply not as interesting as The Family Jewels. At times she sounds like a second rate Lady GaGa; at others like David Guetta's latest vocalist. And on Homewrecker she seems to have tried to recreate the Pet Shop Boys' Left To My Own Devices but ends up sounding more like Flight of the Conchords doing Inner City Pressure. A major disappointment.

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