Marina & The Diamonds!

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I'm obsessed with the mess that's Marina (well not really obsessed):

http://www.guardian.co.uk/music/video/2010/jan/25/marina-and-the-diamonds-gonzales

I actually think this song is the weakest, or at least the most problematic, of the bunch, but in another way it's kind of hard to resist.

_Rudipherous_, Wednesday, 27 January 2010 00:51 (4 years ago) Permalink

I think my biggest problem with "Hollywood" is the whole "Oh my god" segment, which isn't funny enough to justify her over-the-top mimicking. It seems too much like a Valley girl imitating another Valley girl or something. Does she imagine more distance from herself than the target of her mockery, or is one finger also intentionally pointing back at herself? I don't really know.

_Rudipherous_, Wednesday, 27 January 2010 01:04 (4 years ago) Permalink

That could become an issue in general: she is not necessarily so distance from what it is that she is distancing herself from. Of course, that can also potentially lead to interesting tensions. To quote one of her own myspace comments again: "Can you be within popular culture without becoming it?" Answer: no, or at least generally no. Is that what she wants to do?

_Rudipherous_, Wednesday, 27 January 2010 01:07 (4 years ago) Permalink

Her site just got professionally revamped, and they seem to have swept away almost all of her more curious/candid blog posts. Shame on you, 679/Atlantic records.

Johnny Fever, Wednesday, 27 January 2010 23:27 (4 years ago) Permalink

Booooo!

_Rudipherous_, Thursday, 28 January 2010 00:37 (4 years ago) Permalink

I'm having a hard time maintaining any concern about whether "Hollywood" makes any sense because on repeated listens I'm actually more and more bowled over by the overall sound. (I bet it would sound better if I didn't understand English though. Not that she doesn't come up with some good lines and stuff.)

_Rudipherous_, Saturday, 30 January 2010 08:40 (4 years ago) Permalink

I'd be really surprised if she doesn't blow up pretty big in the U.S. (but then again I may not understand the pop world enough to be so sure).

_Rudipherous_, Saturday, 30 January 2010 08:41 (4 years ago) Permalink

Hollywood has some cringe-worthy lyrics, but I've been able to overlook them because I, too, am into the overall sound.

Johnny Fever, Saturday, 30 January 2010 08:42 (4 years ago) Permalink

She's too weird for US chart pop (even charts where Grizzly Bear and Vampire Weekend have #1 albums). Her fame will be fueled by BBC dj's and blogs.

Johnny Fever, Saturday, 30 January 2010 08:43 (4 years ago) Permalink

"Obsessions" is still a little lower for me than most of the other songs I've heard (which is just a few) but my favorite part of that is the nonsense syllables in the middle.

Incidentally, it would potentially be great for me if she did end up digging into her Greek heritage and stealing some ideas from Greek music, because there's a lot of accessible greatness in that music. Also, I'd be curious to know more about distinctively Welsh music (which seems to have a lower profile than Irish or Scottish music, for instance).

Of course, she could be just fine without delving into those things--I'm just thinking they could add interest for me in the future.

_Rudipherous_, Saturday, 30 January 2010 08:53 (4 years ago) Permalink

Jamie_ATP, Saturday, 30 January 2010 11:45 (4 years ago) Permalink

?

_Rudipherous_, Saturday, 30 January 2010 11:47 (4 years ago) Permalink

I've been hearing a lot about her over the last year but somehow managed to not actually hear any of her songs. After going through this thread and watching her video's I'm really impressed. Marina seems like she's doing a similar kind of thing to Florence & The Machine but with much better songs and a much better voice.

Her vocals on Hollywood remind me so much of Lene Lovich which is no bad thing.

Kitchen Person, Saturday, 30 January 2010 15:49 (4 years ago) Permalink

The rework/rearrangement she did with Gonzales make me like "Hollywood" quite a bit more than before:

Johnny Fever, Sunday, 31 January 2010 11:57 (4 years ago) Permalink

Here's an album sampler video too (that I made from the iTunes clips). If you're on the fence about looking forward to the album, this will push you one way or the other. If you don't want to ruin your first impressions, do not click the play arrow:

Johnny Fever, Sunday, 31 January 2010 12:35 (4 years ago) Permalink

I don't have enough discipline to want to be surprised.

_Rudipherous_, Monday, 1 February 2010 00:33 (4 years ago) Permalink

Hmmm. Hard to tell what I'm going to think of these other songs based on the snippets. "Numb" sounds promising. "Shampain": most 80s sounding track of hers yet? "Girls" is a bit ironic for me since I sent a link to some Marina to a female friend who made some nasty comment about Marina being a girl and not liking girls. (She generally doesn't like female vocalists, and in fairness to all parties, listens to even less pop than I do. I mean, I didn't really expect her to like Marina at all, so it was somewhat pointless on my part.)

_Rudipherous_, Monday, 1 February 2010 00:45 (4 years ago) Permalink

Shampain has been my favorite song of hers for a long, long time. Numb sounds so wonderfully fleshed out now compared to its demo form, though. It could become a favorite.

Johnny Fever, Monday, 1 February 2010 03:53 (4 years ago) Permalink

I wasn't sure if I was going to get this album but it's currently listed at 4.99 on Amazon so I couldn't resist. Free postage too.

I think Hollywood is my least favorite of the singles she's put out so far, it does have me wanting to play my Lene Lovich albums though.

Kitchen Person, Thursday, 4 February 2010 13:57 (4 years ago) Permalink

4.99

Assuming you mean GBP? The lowest I can find it on import to the US is 13.99 USD (which is really good for an import, btw).

She's on Jonathan Ross this week, but I'll have to wait another week until it airs on BBC America.

Johnny Fever, Thursday, 4 February 2010 14:00 (4 years ago) Permalink

Yes, Lene Lovitch.

She was on GMTV this morning, Marina I mean.

One of those "I'll mention America in my lyrics, and slightly suggest it's not all wonderful but not as much as would put off the USA from me"

Mark G, Thursday, 4 February 2010 14:02 (4 years ago) Permalink

She wrote a blog a long time ago (which Atlantic/679 handlers have conveniently wiped from existence) about she really is obsessed with America, everything good and bad about it. Not in a political sense or anything, but in the consumer and pop culture aspects. Especially the things that are glorified in movies like cheerleaders and muscle cars.

Johnny Fever, Thursday, 4 February 2010 14:10 (4 years ago) Permalink

Yeah sorry, should have made that clear it's on Amazon.co.uk. I'm not sure if it's a mistake that's a ridiculous price but I got my order in straight away.

The single is apparently just outside the top 10 at the moment so hopefully Jonathan Ross will push her into the top 10.

I saw the performance on GMTV this morning, she was pretty good despite the awkward interview before.

Kitchen Person, Thursday, 4 February 2010 14:10 (4 years ago) Permalink

The lowest I can find it on import to the US is 13.99 USD (which is really good for an import, btw).

Crap, I just pre-ordered it for several dollars more than that. Where did you see that price? (I don't generally pre-order things either, but I just pre-ordered the new Tokyo Jihen, so I am on a roll. Any CDs I'm going to get this month, I'm going to have to wait for I guess. Unless I want to spend money I don't want to spend, but nope, I don't.)

_Rudipherous_, Thursday, 4 February 2010 14:13 (4 years ago) Permalink

I read something where she said her father listened to nothing but classical Greek music (and choral church music--or maybe that was her mother), so I'm curious now what she means by that. Does she really mean classical music, or does she mean classic Greek singers like Kazantzidis and Marinella?

_Rudipherous_, Thursday, 4 February 2010 14:17 (4 years ago) Permalink

CDWOW is where I buy most of my UK imports... reliably cheap.
http://www.cdwow.us/search?q=marina+and+the+diamonds&t=all

Johnny Fever, Thursday, 4 February 2010 14:19 (4 years ago) Permalink

It's a really good album: I'd managed to be aware of all the press without ever hearing a note of music, and I wish I'd paid attention as the singles came out. They are the standouts, as someone hearing the songs for the first time all together, but the rest isn't just filler. Like Mark G, my first thought was Lene Lovich, mannered in the same way, but Marina manages to make it coquettish rather than harpyish, and she uses the mannerisms to serve the songs.

ithappens, Monday, 8 February 2010 18:23 (4 years ago) Permalink

I still haven't heard the whole album, but I like Alex Petridis's review (!): http://www.guardian.co.uk/music/2010/feb/18/marina-and-the-diamonds-cd-review

_Rudipherous_, Friday, 19 February 2010 01:15 (4 years ago) Permalink

Although it looks like maybe the whole thing is now streaming on her myspace? Anyway, I'm once again listening through what's there to stream, which is a lot more than what was up before.

_Rudipherous_, Friday, 19 February 2010 01:17 (4 years ago) Permalink

don't think there is a bad song on here

sir ilx-a-lot (cutty), Friday, 19 February 2010 01:30 (4 years ago) Permalink

I do find that my ambivalence still tends to just get rolled right over by the quality of the songs.

_Rudipherous_, Friday, 19 February 2010 02:02 (4 years ago) Permalink

(Mostly talking about the music, and not the lyrics, though they lyrics are by no means all bad or lacking. Some interesting stuff there as well.)

_Rudipherous_, Friday, 19 February 2010 02:03 (4 years ago) Permalink

music is great, but her persona, presence, and of course voice, is what does it for me

sir ilx-a-lot (cutty), Friday, 19 February 2010 02:04 (4 years ago) Permalink

That Petridis review is terrible. He's getting to the stage where his wacky comedic routine completely crowds out any sense he may or may not be talking:

You could argue that this kind of thing represents a reaction to the post-Mariah-Carey-heavily-melismatic-Waaah!-Bodyform! style that X Factor voters seem to believe represents the apogee of distaff vocal achievement. The more cynically minded might suggest that, at root, it's actually no different: a load of irritating ­vocal tics designed to convey a depth of ­emotion that, if it ­actually existed in the ­performance in the first place, wouldn't need a load of irritating vocal tics to convey it. Certainly, you could argue that it's equally predictable. Just as you know that sooner or later the female singer who tends to the heavily-melismatic-Waaaah!-Bodyform! style will sing a song about reachin' for her dreams, so within ­seconds of The ­Family ­Jewels' opening, you're gripped by the absolute ­certainty that, at some point, this album will feature a Brecht and Weill-influenced oompah-oompah song in which the I'm-a-bit-nutty staccato is deployed as if it's about to be declared ­illegal

This is not the work of a man I consider qualified to talk about irritating tics.

Space Battle Rothko (Matt DC), Friday, 19 February 2010 10:38 (4 years ago) Permalink

Yeah, well I'm not going to expend any energy defending him, for sure, and I read it quickly, but I thought he got at some of what I am ambivalent about in Marina & the Diamonds.

I should add that some of the time I really like what she does with her vocal theatrics. Once I get the CD I may sit down and figure out when I like them and whether it matters and whether it remains consistent. The bit of friction and ambivalence may actually work to make her retain my long term interest. I don't know.

(This sounds like a surprisingly conservative aesthetic coming from him, but then again he does sometimes surprise me with such comments: a load of irritating ­vocal tics designed to convey a depth of ­emotion that, if it ­actually existed in the ­performance in the first place, wouldn't need a load of irritating vocal tics to convey it. Not necessarily saying I strongly disagree, I just am surprised he would make a comment along those lines. I'm sure I talk that way sometimes, but speaking of emotional depth as somehow "existing in the performance" is leaving oneself open to some pretty tough questions about the place of artifice and the importance (or not) of what a performer is experiencing emotionally during a performance.)

_Rudipherous_, Saturday, 20 February 2010 11:46 (4 years ago) Permalink

Petridish is a cock, a.p.u.

He's like the Rodney Dangerfield of comedians (Noodle Vague), Saturday, 20 February 2010 11:49 (4 years ago) Permalink

I'm sorry I mentioned his name on this thread, since it becomes too much of a red flag.

_Rudipherous_, Saturday, 20 February 2010 12:09 (4 years ago) Permalink

I feel really loyal to the kind of 'bbc pop' axis this belongs to - this and Mika and Little Boots and maybe La Roux feel very unashamed of what they are, smart quirky pop from people of my age of my age and musical background (Alisha's Attic/ Indie Teenhood/ Raving and Xenomania) - it's flattering to me to imagine someone fifteen, hearing those songs and thinking that path wise and full of mystery.

Gravel Puzzleworth, Saturday, 20 February 2010 13:31 (4 years ago) Permalink

I'm sort of kicking myself now for downloading and listening to the leaked album. It would've been so much more fun to snag this out of the mailbox, hop in the car, and tear down the road listening to "Shampain" at full blast.

That said, I love this record.

Johnny Fever, Saturday, 20 February 2010 20:00 (4 years ago) Permalink

went to see her live last night. the diamonds were a little polished and perfunctory, I felt. sometimes they felt like a seasoned pub ska band...not a vibe I've got from any of the recorded stuff. was kind of anticipating/hoping for a little extra oomph and dirt in the live setting.

but marina herself was fantastic - really strong, confident performer, and her voice is utterly magnificent. and she came on dressed as a sheep. victory!

m the g, Saturday, 20 February 2010 20:53 (4 years ago) Permalink

Since she's pretty much it and there is no identifiable band to speak of, it doesn't surprise me that her live backing band might be an issue.

_Rudipherous_, Sunday, 21 February 2010 00:48 (4 years ago) Permalink

Suprisingly good album - I haven't heard the EPs before, just thought the here's the new Florence Welch, but Marina is much better. Her voice in 'Are You Satisfied?' is totally Ari Up.

zeus, Monday, 22 February 2010 10:12 (4 years ago) Permalink

yeah, ari up and finish (!!!!!!)

Jamie_ATP, Monday, 22 February 2010 10:23 (4 years ago) Permalink

Timing. I'm thinking timing is one of her big strengths musically (and I mean timing in the music, not timing of career moves or whatever). Maybe I mean pacing, but I think I mean timing in a broader sense. I think it's one of the ways she extricates herself from the problematic corners she sometimes backs herself into. But I just woke up.

_Rudipherous_, Tuesday, 23 February 2010 03:19 (4 years ago) Permalink

Inspired specifically by the sudden switch in "Hollywood" when she sings: "Your mind is just like mine. . ."

_Rudipherous_, Tuesday, 23 February 2010 03:21 (4 years ago) Permalink

That's an interesting way to put into words what I like about her too. xp

Johnny Fever, Tuesday, 23 February 2010 03:22 (4 years ago) Permalink

Thanks.

Another little detail. On "I Am Not a Robot": Could a more gentle delivery be possible for "Don't be so pathetic"? Can you imagine how most people would sing that? I don't even wince imagining myself on the receiving end. (And it's also unexpected that the overall context is telling someone to admit their vulnerability and weakness, in which case the delivery makes perfect sense.)

_Rudipherous_, Tuesday, 23 February 2010 03:32 (4 years ago) Permalink

You know, if it wasn't for the fact that landfill indie is dead and British pop is all about glamorous quirky girls now, I could have sworn this record sounded almost exactly like the Kaiser Chiefs.

Space Battle Rothko (Matt DC), Tuesday, 23 February 2010 07:39 (4 years ago) Permalink

I think maybe the little differences make a big difference. Dunno, I'm too ambivalent in my liking for this to wanna think about those lumpen gits just yet.

National Sockpuppet Helpline (Noodle Vague), Tuesday, 23 February 2010 07:45 (4 years ago) Permalink

Plus there's not much that isn't improved by having a woman singing on it rather than the bloke out of Kaiser Chiefs. Plus hell the band aren't that lumpen.

National Sockpuppet Helpline (Noodle Vague), Tuesday, 23 February 2010 07:47 (4 years ago) Permalink

yeah, that's not good. way to taint a beautiful song...

if anyone's interested, I splurged some words about The Family Jewels in my end-of-year blog a while back.

http://ocularonions.blogspot.com/2010/12/obligatory-fin-de-siecle-list-making.html

m the g, Thursday, 17 March 2011 10:44 (3 years ago) Permalink

Good piece.

Johnny Fever, Thursday, 17 March 2011 11:22 (3 years ago) Permalink

awesome piece, need to hear all the ones I haven't yet

WD-40 (acoleuthic), Thursday, 17 March 2011 11:33 (3 years ago) Permalink

also yeah the M&D album is great to dip into - the second half is almost ridiculously good as second halves of pop albums go - starting halfway through was kinda my way into this

WD-40 (acoleuthic), Thursday, 17 March 2011 11:33 (3 years ago) Permalink

thanks folks.

for me, it took a while to get to grips with the second half of The Family Jewels. it seemed weak compared to the opening tirade, but it definitely eventually revealed itself as the stronger half. seeing her do these songs live was the key, I think. rootless and numb and, especially, guilty were so powerful in the flesh.

m the g, Thursday, 17 March 2011 11:43 (3 years ago) Permalink

4 months pass...

I think I'm about ready for a new album. After a long break, The Family Jewels is sounding great again.

_Rudipherous_, Sunday, 7 August 2011 14:57 (3 years ago) Permalink

3 weeks pass...

New stuffs

Radioactive is particularly poppy, but not in the way that will bring her any chart success.

Johnny Fever, Tuesday, 30 August 2011 18:36 (3 years ago) Permalink

They seem less interesting to me than what she's already released, but I could maybe become preoccupied with some of the changes she is making. Definitely hear her using her voice differently. Were these collaborations? It doesn't seem that the overall musical feel has her unique imprint. On first listens, Fear & Loathing appeals to me more.

_Rudipherous_, Wednesday, 31 August 2011 04:12 (3 years ago) Permalink

Fear & Loathing is definitely the more nuanced of the two, as Radioactive is clearly a push for a hit single (produced by Stargate even). Apparently, there's some kind of "two sides of Marina" theme building for this second album...which seems gimmicky and dumb imo...but I'll wait until there are more than two songs by which to judge it.

Johnny Fever, Wednesday, 31 August 2011 04:32 (3 years ago) Permalink

Only two sides?

_Rudipherous_, Wednesday, 31 August 2011 04:41 (3 years ago) Permalink

Apparently, there's some kind of "two sides of Marina" theme building for this second album

There's an awful "more facets to this diamond" promo tag line that I'm tempted to run with.

"Please let your friends know about it!!" (R Baez), Wednesday, 31 August 2011 04:42 (3 years ago) Permalink

The first video also looks more like her idea. The second one is just too boring and cliche-ridden. (Could still be her idea.)

_Rudipherous_, Wednesday, 31 August 2011 04:42 (3 years ago) Permalink

Not really feeling Radioactive despite it being the kind of thing I usually like. Maybe I get easily bored by songs that repeat the title really blatantly over and over? but there's an acoustic version which I actually prefer (this v rarely happens with me). She's been tweeting about 'electra heart' for about a million years; I assumed it was some kind of alter ego which yeah, seems beneath her....
I only recently heard 'Sinful' which has stuck in my head far more strongly.

kinder, Wednesday, 31 August 2011 06:36 (3 years ago) Permalink

5 months pass...

Hmm...Homewrecker.

Johnny Fever, Sunday, 26 February 2012 00:07 (2 years ago) Permalink

Sounds like Womanizer

kinder, Sunday, 26 February 2012 00:21 (2 years ago) Permalink

I'm about 1/20th excited for this new album as I was her first one.

(perhaps even less)

Johnny Fever, Sunday, 26 February 2012 00:24 (2 years ago) Permalink

There's a youtube of a new one Primadonna from a gig but the sound quality is crap so I stopped listening.

kinder, Sunday, 26 February 2012 00:28 (2 years ago) Permalink

That's supposed to be the "real" lead single from the album. I like it far more than Homewrecker.

Johnny Fever, Sunday, 26 February 2012 00:34 (2 years ago) Permalink

Sounds like Pet Shop Boys. (Homewrecker, that is.)

!Alicia!, Sunday, 26 February 2012 03:59 (2 years ago) Permalink

I like the video distortion trick.

Johnny Fever, Thursday, 1 March 2012 19:36 (2 years ago) Permalink

Prima Donna

Johnny Fever, Wednesday, 14 March 2012 17:05 (2 years ago) Permalink

really wanna like this new stuff but that sounds like .. the old stuff Xd with bits of the production off Femme Fatale era Britney.

piscesx, Wednesday, 14 March 2012 17:19 (2 years ago) Permalink

in its defense, Prima Donna is probably the best of these new tracks and I understand why they've saved it to be the "kickoff" single.

Johnny Fever, Wednesday, 14 March 2012 17:20 (2 years ago) Permalink

pisces otm, was thinking same.

kinder, Wednesday, 14 March 2012 18:24 (2 years ago) Permalink

i like this prima donna song it's cute

sounds like katy perry a lot more than britbrit

surm, Tuesday, 20 March 2012 18:39 (2 years ago) Permalink

1 month passes...

six track stream here http://www.guardian.co.uk/music/2012/apr/26/marina-diamonds-electra-heart-review

piscesx, Friday, 27 April 2012 01:44 (2 years ago) Permalink

Whole thing has actually leaked fwiw. It's way more polished and poppy than the first album, but that works to her advantage imo. Also, I think her singing is getting better.

Johnny Fever, Friday, 27 April 2012 03:22 (2 years ago) Permalink

2 years pass...

electra heart is awesome, who knew

avicii usque ad arse (imago), Tuesday, 24 June 2014 22:46 (2 months ago) Permalink

I went digging around the other day to see what she's up to. She's been keeping a super low profile for months, so there's an album being recorded I'd presume.

Johnny Fever, Tuesday, 24 June 2014 22:51 (2 months ago) Permalink

nothing rly against charli xcx but it saddens me that she got blanket coverage p much and her slightly more intellectual, tricksy m8 basically got ignored

this album repeats the debut's trick of sneaking up as it progresses, with an incredibly strong run of middle/end tracks

avicii usque ad arse (imago), Tuesday, 24 June 2014 22:54 (2 months ago) Permalink


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