|In the shadow of her former self, but beautiful. Marina as|
she is today (photo - Guardian)
EDIT (25/9/2012) Well fuck, something thoroughly ten-tonne downer just a-sprung from one of the music industries more sweaty and less wholesome orifices; apparently the release of the (shit) new Marina and the Diamonds single video will be delayed because she looks “ugly” in it. Dear everyone who works, with, for or in accordance with Atlantic Records, I can only hope your vile poisonous statements are one day recompensed as you have a beautiful day with your lovely wife and healthy children, no cares at all, and then Karma and the Great Magnet strike and conspire to throw you down a manhole up to your neck in semiliquid shit and you scream and beg for your (non-existent) God as shit and sewer water run down your screaming throat and up your nose and well up in your eye sockets and in your final shit-choked gasp of air you realise you’ve just insulted a woman, a beautiful and intelligent and unique sophisticated artist brought low by your idiocy, and confirmed in her and everyone who hears about this that they have to stoop low enough to be considered ‘attractive’ by the kind of wank-off Neanderthal gazes of you and your be-suited bald mates; in that turd-gurgling second you’ll realise that everyone in the world has the potential to be beautiful, not because of what they look like in your narrow perception, but because of what they can do; and realise your myopic vendetta against progress and human dignity has forever scarred history and you’ll be judged by the Great Magnet for all the crimes you’ve commited. And then you’ll choke to death on human shit in front of your family and your funeral will be attended by nobody because you’re a misogynistic cultural pollutant and everyone knew all along what a 24 carat cunt you always were. If I ever meet you I’m going to kick you to death. Now, on with why you’re wrong and Marina and the Diamonds is our third Alternative Hall of Fame inductee.
I ain’t gonna be able to finish this paragraph with my heavy metal dude cred intact am I? What I gotta say is the kind of thing that nobody in my position would honestly admit, but I’m about to and wave fond goodbye to all that respect I got for lovin’ on Sir Lord Baltimore. I love Marina and the Diamonds. As a template for how pop music ought to work, light, fun, idiosyncratic and temporary, Marina and the Diamonds rings every bell in the room. Y’see it’s real easy to build a sonic colossus when you gotta whole old wartime hanger to fly your test runs in, that’s how Dopesmoker got made, they pretty much had free reign and enough dope to knock out Cheech Marin, now whaddya expect outta that? Radio? When you gotta build your masterpiece in a little race garage that has to be vacated in a week to make way for the next starlet, we’re talking deadlines (things I know all too well as a journalist) and that makes anything half-decent coming out of the pop stables all the more impressive. Going through mainsteam pop music looking for transcendence is a bit like going through the bins outside a McDonalds looking for haute cuisine, in that most of the stuff you find seems to have gone through several processes apparently explicitly designed to remove anything transcendent lest your profitable product break through the doors of perception and offend some of the large proportion of the world’s intellectually delicate shitheads. Usually you’re better off at a local restaurant, by that I mean the independent stuff in this metaphor. So finding something superb in HMV is akin to finding a thoroughly delicious lobster thermidor in the skip behind a golden arches. Not only is something that good a rare and precious sonic find in itself, the location of the finding makes it all the more notable and incredible. Of course, a lot of the people who’d appreciate that lobster probably won’t even look at it because of where you found it. But heavy music made by switched-on heads is one thing, high quality pop music that doesn’t need a PhD to understand is going to be the world’s route to rock and roll enlightenment, or a significant stepping stone. Lady GaGa’s Fame was a good step, though that seemed to be idiosyncratic ad absurdum and just for the sake of it and ended up spinning out of control like a Catherine wheel. Marina Diamandis is much more focused, like a pop laser beam. She’s out to prove that she is not a robot, and you’re not either.
Quality is so uniform on these self-penned quasi-operatic vocal ballads that there’s just over a minute’s difference between the longest and shortest song on the album. It’s Marina’s voice that takes the central role in this unfolding drama of fiercely intelligent and personal tracks. While Adele warbles personal bullshit like a lonely drunk in a bar several slugs of gin over the edge with mascara running down her cheeks, and ends up boring lyrically heaped on uninspiring musicianship, Marina twists these songs into something universal and entertaining while also remaining individual. The clear standout of the album is, perplexingly, a single; which indicates that the label might even have known that what they had on their hands was something special and endeavoured to take it to the people. I am Not a Robot is the kind of centuries-enduring cleverness with an enjoyably light and bouncy feel under all the really seismic observances. The song functions simultaneously as a heartfelt and delicate lover’s plea, a meta commentary on the pop industry (shit I’ve listened to enough music by robots to know whatcha mean Marina) and just as a damn good song. That’s what’s top of the mark sheet for this album, above all the lyrical cleverness and the understated but robust musical stuff and the flawless repeated nailing of the pop aesthetic is that it’s just really fun. A returner, with repeated listens a must and enjoyment guaranteed. Because at the end of the day, as Orwell observed, a revolution needs the people and the aforementioned vapid shitheads need something nice and simples that won’t offend their retard ears if we are to have a rock and roll revolution, and Marina and the Diamonds is exactly the kind of gal we need in the wings. This is essential stuff, because we can’t all listen to Bongripper all day.
|As she was.|
Somebody doesn’t write a song like I Am Not a Robot without some knowledge of pop, and what you’re supposed to do. It’s a glittering attempt at genuine naïve innocence put into a song and demonstrates a maturity and songwriting chops on Marina that can’t be faked. Unfortunately the coolest girl in naughties pop appears to have fallen off the wagon. The new album introduces an ‘alter ego’ which was a stupid idea when Beyonce did it and time has not sweetened it. The whole GaGa/Minaj movement is Bowie/Madonna inflected, I get that, but it’s fucking stupid, and boring, and not about the music but about which bits of Indiana Jones set dressing you can get away with sticking haphazardly to your tits. Family Jewels is the definitive statement that Marina is a force to be reckoned with on the pop front, and the new album lets the whole project down. I really wish we had another slice of gold here, but she seems to have pulled a GaGa in the end, a void of a second album, taking ostensibly the same profitable ingredients but leaving out all of the intelligent and hard things, like quality songwriting and intelligent contributions to the world of music and dropped into lazy shitty disco fare. A sad decline of an artist giving in to laziness and an easy buck. I highly recommend Family Jewels as a quality pop album, and I advise you avoid the follow-up like a new Sir Lord Baltimore album.
Written under duress by Steven.