MARINA is back, and this time without the Diamonds. Welsh singer Marina Diamandis recently dropped the album LOVE, the first half of the double feature LOVE + FEAR, which is set to be released in full on April 26. With her stage name now changed to just MARINA, the artist is ready to enter a new era of music, one that’s more true to herself. She’s MARINA the person, not Marina and the Diamonds, the pop star.
LOVE is full of a confidence and positivity not present in her previous works. In a recent press release, Marina explained that this half is all about “a longing to enjoy life and a desire to unite and empower.” These intentions shine through openly on each song.
The first two tracks, "Handmade Heaven" and "Superstar" are about a newfound happiness and peace with the person she loves. On "Enjoy Your Life" and "True," MARINA sounds like a motivational life coach with an exceptional vocal range. Interestingly, MARINA includes the single "Baby" by Clean Bandit, on which she is featured alongside Luis Fonsi. Although Clean Bandit is mainly accredited for this 2018 single, MARINA's vocals dominate the track. Strongly influenced by Clean Bandit's electro–pop and Luis Fonsi's Latin music style, the song surprisingly fits well with the rest of the album.
The stand–out on the album is the single "Orange Trees" and its accompanying music video, in which it's clear that the artist is getting even more personal than in previous albums. Singing about Greece, her father’s homeland and the place she spent several years of her life, it’s clear that Marina is exploring her identity. This time, however, it’s in a way that’s less brooding than the songs in Froot. Dressed in bright yellow, smiling as she travels through the sunny islands of Greece, Marina is confident and happy. The lyrics are full of a sense of pride and peace. The song is summer–y and up–beat, a guaranteed feel–good song.
The album LOVE is slowed down compared to past albums making it sound more personal and contemplative. She maintains her unique and exceptional vocals, but this time they're layered on fewer synthetic dance beats. This new MARINA is different than the Marina and the Diamonds of the past decade.
In her 2010 debut album The Family Jewels, which got her her fame and committed fanbase, we were introduced to Marina and the Diamonds, the diva and star. The album’s hit singles “I am Not a Robot,” “Oh No!,” and “Shampain” are sassy, up–beat, and dramatic. Yet, even with this over–the–top pop star persona, Marina told NME that the album is about the "seduction of commercialism, modern social values, family and female sexuality."
On her 2012 sophomore album, Marina and the Diamonds returned with a new persona. The album is titled Electra Heart, a reference to the Electra complex, the female equivalent to the Oedipal complex. Throughout the album, Marina and the Diamonds references this complex as she sings about the urge to dominate and seduce men in “How to be a Heartbreaker,” and her overly submissive persona in “Teen Idle.” In her album art, she perhaps personifies the complex even more, as she portrays herself as a 1940s Hollywood star with bright–red lipstick and her hair in vintage curlers. In the end, this cold–hearted and materialistic Electra Heart character was the antithesis of the person Marina and the Diamonds wanted to be. On Aug. 8, 2013, she dramatically released a music video depicting the death of the character, signifying the beginning to a new persona.
This new persona came in 2015 with the release of her latest album, Froot. Froot withdraws from Marina's typical presentation of herself as extravagant. On this album, Marina and the Diamonds is more inward–looking, contemplative and reflective. The album’s opener “Happy,” is a soft–ballad in which she sings about finding happiness and peace within herself. On the album's title song, “Froot,” she compares to herself a fruit growing and maturing on top of an eccentric disco beat.
Now in 2019 we have LOVE, an album that shows a optimistic side of the artist, but we'll have to wait a few more weeks to see the rest of MARINA. While not much is known about the darker half, FEAR, one can expect that MARINA, an outspoken activist and feminist, will not stray away from commenting on societal issues.