Marina & The Diamonds!

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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 (6 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 (6 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 (6 years ago) Permalink


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 (6 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 (6 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 (6 years ago) Permalink

Yeah sorry, should have made that clear it's on 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 (6 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 (6 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 (6 years ago) Permalink

CDWOW is where I buy most of my UK imports... reliably cheap.

Johnny Fever, Thursday, 4 February 2010 14:19 (6 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 (6 years ago) Permalink

I still haven't heard the whole album, but I like Alex Petridis's review (!):

_Rudipherous_, Friday, 19 February 2010 01:15 (6 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 (6 years ago) Permalink

don't think there is a bad song on here

sir ilx-a-lot (cutty), Friday, 19 February 2010 01:30 (6 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 (6 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 (6 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 (6 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 (6 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 (6 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 (6 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 (6 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 (6 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 (6 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 (6 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 (6 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 (6 years ago) Permalink

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

Jamie_ATP, Monday, 22 February 2010 10:23 (6 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 (6 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 (6 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 (6 years ago) Permalink


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 (6 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 (6 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 (6 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 (6 years ago) Permalink

Lumpen is a good word actually, despite the instrumentation it's got that awful Killers/Kaiser Chiefs mid-00s clumsy rock production sound to it. I'm not a Florence stan by any means but she's a million times better than this - she at least understands the value of build and momentum.

And she's a really charmless personality, that opening track in particular. She feels unbearable sneery in too many places - Girls (the *really* Kaiser Chiefs track here) just set my teeth on edge in almost every way.

Space Battle Rothko (Matt DC), Tuesday, 23 February 2010 08:46 (6 years ago) Permalink

I haven't heard enough Florence to make a comparison (and what I've heard didn't not draw me in), but I think her understanding of the value of build and momentum is what I was trying to get at as one of Marina's strong points. Maybe build and momentum isn't quite it, but I think she does a good job of sustaining attention by moving things along. To me, she plays very effectively with musical tension (again, I might want to qualify that with "in her best songs," since there are some album tracks I've hardly heard much).

I also really only know the Kaiser Chiefs in name, so now I'm curious to listen to them and see if they have as much going for them in terms of tunefulness as Marina. I am skeptical.

But I can understand being put off by her being too sneery.

_Rudipherous_, Tuesday, 23 February 2010 09:06 (6 years ago) Permalink

tbh I don't hear the Kaiser Chiefs comparison at all. huh?

Johnny Fever, Tuesday, 23 February 2010 09:15 (6 years ago) Permalink

Listening now and attempting to ignore their awful videos (some of hers are awful too-and they are just bad in a typical rock video way, I don't mean to single them out). Okay, instead of just saying "WTF?" let me ask this: in what way is Marina & the Diamonds like the Kaiser Chiefs?

_Rudipherous_, Tuesday, 23 February 2010 13:24 (6 years ago) Permalink

What Matt said about the middle of the road flatness of the sound I think. Gonzales' re-jig of "Hollywood" offers evidence that the songs - which I mostly think are v. good - could be arranged and performed much more interestingly than they are on the album. Think this is why Joni and Kate only work as references as long as you forget that their records sound unique. Unique sound is missing here.

Still far prefer her to any of her alleged contemporaries tho.

National Sockpuppet Helpline (Noodle Vague), Tuesday, 23 February 2010 13:29 (6 years ago) Permalink

I guess I know what you mean. I think there may be more distinctive layers of sound packed into these recordings than she's being given credit for, but I need to listen more. Maybe I'm confusing "unique/unusual sounds" for an overall unique/distinctive sound. My initial impression of the drum sounds is that they are pretty generic, and I guess the synth washes are pretty much the same (as far as sound goes) although for some reason I tend to really like them.

I do agree that she's not an original Joni or Kate, at least not on the music she's put out so far.

(I don't especially like the Gonzales version of Hollywood, but that's beside the point even if I just said it.)

_Rudipherous_, Tuesday, 23 February 2010 14:03 (6 years ago) Permalink

Okay, instead of just saying "WTF?" let me ask this: in what way is Marina & the Diamonds like the Kaiser Chiefs?

Yeah, as you mention in your subsequent post, it's NOT arrangement I'm talking about here, although as NV mentions there's a 00s indie flatness/loudness in the production.

What I'm getting at is the songrwriting, the lyrics, the melodies, to an extent her demonstrative exaggerated vocal stylings and definitely the blunt social caricature in the lyrics are all smack bang in the same lineage as the Kaisers. She's much closer to tarted-up Britpop than Joni or Kate or whichever names are being thrown around these days. Considering she'd have grown up listening to that music it's not surprising.

Also there's a 'na na na' bit in Girls than I'm positive comes straight out of a Kaiser Chiefs record, although I'm buggered if I'm listening back to their catalogue to find out which one.

Space Battle Rothko (Matt DC), Tuesday, 23 February 2010 14:38 (6 years ago) Permalink

'Girls' reminds me to Kaiser Chiefs too with this 'na na na na na' line, but that won't make it a bad song. (And yes, I think there was a couple of good songs on that first Kaiser Chiefs LP, though it's not cool to admit these days.)

zeus, Wednesday, 24 February 2010 11:19 (6 years ago) Permalink

With their "na na na na na nas" Kaiser Chiefs remind me of Chris Kenner.

ithappens, Wednesday, 24 February 2010 11:21 (6 years ago) Permalink

I have listened to 'I am not a robot' many, many, many times since seeing her on friday.

m the g, Wednesday, 24 February 2010 11:35 (6 years ago) Permalink

got the album yesterday... been on repeat since. when it's good (shampain, are you satisfied, mowgli, robot, rootless, girls), it's fairly jaw-dropping and completely addictive. but a fair chunk of the second half is markedly less instantly appealing. we'll see... even so, I haven't had a capital-p pop album totally dominate my waking and sleeping brain like this in... well, maybe ever? scary.

absolutely beautiful version of 'robot' from the review show last week:

m the g, Friday, 26 February 2010 16:34 (6 years ago) Permalink

after initially being underwhelmed, oh no! and numb have really blossomed for me.

the former has a really strong PWL vibe on the chorus, which is a phrase I've never used in a positive context before.

numb is gloriously devotional in its shameless soaring, and her voice sounds fantastic here, even though her upper-register veers a little close to the shrill unbearableness of la roux.

m the g, Monday, 1 March 2010 18:38 (6 years ago) Permalink

Does part of "Are You Satisfied?" remind anyone else of the chorus of Madonna's "American Life" (a song I think I like more than most people on ILM, even though I probably like Madonna less than mostpeopleonILM)? Or maybe it's just the general sentiment, and maybe "Hollywood" has primed me to hear musical echoes of "American Life" where there aren't really any? (For the record I think I fully understand why people would hate "American Life," but I'm a little surprised that so many do.)

_Rudipherous_, Thursday, 4 March 2010 13:59 (6 years ago) Permalink

Also, I do love that sheep jacket.

_Rudipherous_, Thursday, 4 March 2010 14:12 (6 years ago) Permalink

Anyhow, I think I'll probably have more to say. My CD finally arrived today.

_Rudipherous_, Thursday, 4 March 2010 14:12 (6 years ago) Permalink

not really familiar enough with american life to comment...

however, AYS?, along with hollywood, is one of the more lyrically uncomfortable/fascinating songs here, but I can't quite pin down why.

it's a theme which recurs throughout the album – the way in which her overwhelming need to be successful has marred her personal life – but there's something hyper-meta about the first line on the first track on your debut album being about getting the deal that made the album possible. it has a hollowing effect, makes it seem as if this was created in a vacuum.

combined with the somewhat patronising talk of 'average lives' (again, echoed in Hollywood), she makes it seem as if the unconstructed, pre-deal, pre-fame marina barely even existed. it's like she's really trying hard to position herself outside the celebrity culture, but in many ways her naked ambition embodies its worst aspects, to detrimental personal effect, and she's struggling to reconcile the two.

m the g, Thursday, 4 March 2010 14:16 (6 years ago) Permalink

I didn't really have much interest in a new Marina album at the beginning of the year but after hearing I'm a Ruin I had to give it a go. The album is surprisingly great. It seems a little front loaded but I'm hoping the second half grows on me in time.

Kitchen Person, Wednesday, 4 March 2015 15:58 (1 year ago) Permalink

Apart from a few clumsy lyrics in "Can't Pin Me Down," I think it might be her strongest lp from beginning to end.

Johnny Fever, Wednesday, 4 March 2015 16:05 (1 year ago) Permalink

Easily my favourite so far. I didn't rate the second album at all.

Kitchen Person, Wednesday, 4 March 2015 16:11 (1 year ago) Permalink

I'm not feeling these new ones much yet. They mostly sound the same to me.

kinder, Wednesday, 4 March 2015 16:53 (1 year ago) Permalink

oh this gets really good in the second half

Thendara Satisfaction (imago), Tuesday, 17 March 2015 09:57 (1 year ago) Permalink

or maybe I was mostly thinking of the songs 'Gold' and 'Better Than That'

Thendara Satisfaction (imago), Tuesday, 17 March 2015 10:15 (1 year ago) Permalink

She's written the melody in 'Forget' at least twice before though (it feels)

Thendara Satisfaction (imago), Tuesday, 17 March 2015 10:16 (1 year ago) Permalink

the album is kinda boring to me but i still love "i'm a ruin"

bae sremmurd (monotony), Tuesday, 17 March 2015 10:49 (1 year ago) Permalink

Wonder if it's her formula that Track 9 on every album is more or less the best & darkest track, Track 2 the monster pop single and Track 12 the big sad late-album epic

Thendara Satisfaction (imago), Tuesday, 17 March 2015 10:52 (1 year ago) Permalink

awesomely consistent album imo
out of the tracks i hadn't heard already, really enjoying 'gold' and 'blue'
'froot' into 'i'm a ruin' is just such a strong run

nxd, Tuesday, 17 March 2015 11:03 (1 year ago) Permalink

A lot of people have pointed out the Teen Idle/Forget link:

I guess I'm disappointed with this album overall. I was one of the excited nerds who pre-ordered for my froot of the month (I will commend her on this strategy, if she'd just put up a stream I probably wouldn't have bought the thing) and after getting my hopes raised real, real, high with "Happy" and "Froot" what finally arrived was an AOR break-up record with characteristically drab videos, not mad Nintendo futurepop and gospel vibe ballads. It's probably her most consistent album but I don't see myself returning to it like I do her debut and some tracks of Electra Heart.

Also, how do people like "Gold". Did you guys also like "Florida Kilos" or what

Leonard Pine, Thursday, 19 March 2015 06:00 (1 year ago) Permalink

4 months pass...

late to the show, but really digging this. the front-end is super strong.

froot - i know i'm probably not the first to say, but getting mad kate bush vibes on this
i'm a ruin - i'll be damned if that isn't one of the best choruses / toplines i've heard all year, and it doesn't even need lyrics. just the yeayyeahs uh-huh. so good
blue - catchy as heck. hot damn when the chorus comes in that 2nd time. so delicious with the 'GIMMEs'

mingalaba, Monday, 27 July 2015 13:50 (10 months ago) Permalink

actually got kate bush vibes from i'm a ruin! but yeh i agree, this album is super good

nxd, Monday, 27 July 2015 13:53 (10 months ago) Permalink

Yeah, I'm still playing this a lot. Brilliant album.

Blue and I'm a Ruin should have both been huge hits by now.

Kitchen Person, Monday, 27 July 2015 20:33 (10 months ago) Permalink

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