Album Review: Marina & The Diamonds – The Family Jewels

Ever since emerging from the indie music scene a bit 2 years ago, Marina Diamandis was a clear favourite to become a pop star. Her knack of writing songs and singing ability is really quite something. The Welsh bred pop star, commonly known as Marina & The Diamonds has been the talk of critics as one of the few acts that are tipped to be big this year. Too bad she almost missed every top accolade which in consequence went to another Brit Ellie Goulding. The two doesn’t have so much in common except for the fact that they’re really really good artists and they are a bit deviated from today’s most liked female acts.

Marina’s definitely included to today’s new bred of pop stars, unique and with a lot more edge that most of the pop singers of today. She might be compared to the likes of electro-pop darlings La Roux and Little Boots but to see them sing together isn’t such a good idea. Marina’s eclectic style of singing, dynamic vocals and beautifully crafted melodies definitely puts her ahead of the two.

Already being described as the female version of Mika- a singer who puts most of her witty thoughts and unabashed character, it’s really a major plus for most singers of her generation. She can sound really amazing in some parts of the 45 minute album that showcases most of her finest lyrical compositions.

The album opens with the second-person induced ‘Are You Satisfied’ which sounds like she wrote this after getting a major record deal. The verses were honestly to be neglected as it wasn’t that impressing but then she tries to recover and give us a slightly powerful yet convincing chorus with lyrics ‘Are you satisfied, with an easy life…. Would you be satisfied’. It’s clearly not a good basis of how the album will sound as I am conviced, there were more to come.

Marina’s evident change of styles throughout the course of the album isn’t to be missed. From the enigmatic vibe of ‘Are You Satisfied?’, she fires us with an infectious sample in ‘Shampain’ which sounds something like an 80’s post-rock radio hit. The beat is absobloodylutely infectious as it evolves once again into another frenetic, enjoyable chorus with a glam finish.

It is quite known to us that Marina likes to play with her songs vocally. She can sound very serious and subtle with the piano-inflicted masterpiece ‘Obsessions’ to the most outrageous change in vocal styles in ‘Hermit The Frog’, and the wildlife inspired ‘Mowgli’s Road’. – These last two songs might not really please a lot of pop music listeners but opinions are to be divided in some tracks of the album, you’d either love it or hate it.

‘Hollywood’, the current single is probably the best track on the album. Expressing her bittersweet appreciation of the American culture. She’s quite tricky with lyrics ‘I’ve been living in a movie scene, puking American dreams’. It’s a bit quite egocentric but the track clearly sweeps some of the tracks in the album even ‘Oh No!’ which sounded like a Marina-ised version of Ke$ha’s ‘Tik Tok’  – it’s quite been a roller coaster experience listening to her album!

The only problem is that the album didn’t end with an aplomb, or much more of a feeling of discontent or hanged on. ‘Numb’ and ‘Guilty’ were definitely as powerful as ‘Hollywood’, ‘Obsessions’ were. I guess, it’s quite clear she has some more points to improve on.

As Marina said her album is “largely inspired by the seduction of commercialism, modern social values, family and female sexuality. My only hope is for it to be enjoyed and consumed as a story and theory that encourages people to question themselves.” – well it was a lot but it really is a much more fun experience than that

‘The Family Jewels’ still stands to one of the most enjoyable albums so far this year. Lyrically, it’s beyond mediocrity and we are surely impressed and acknowledged about Marina’s writing ability. It might be too early to say but this really is in content of ‘Album of the Year’. Sounds biased? Well, you’ll have to love Marina to really appreciate her talent.

GRADE: A-

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