The cover for Electra Heart by Marina & The Diamonds
If you were to put music on a map, the city of Pop would be located in the north. The mayor of this city is Teenage Dream (by Katy Perry). To the south of Pop is ElectroPop with some suburban sprawl by Robyn‘s Body Talk and Lady GaGa‘s Born This Way. To the southwest toward Rock county, Metric. In the middle of Pop and ElectroPop, Marina and the Diamonds.
While the radio waves are ruled by pop acts like Katy and Rihanna on one end, with the heavier dance and electro-influenced sounds of producer-based music by the likes of David Guetta, the heart of the electropop movement isn’t represented as much just yet. The sassy pop with heavy beats and tons of personality, sometimes with guitars but always synths lead by groups like Dragonette, La Roux, Little Boots and Marina & The Diamonds. Electra Heart is the second record by Marina Lambrini Diamandis.
The record follows in a similar progression as the first. While it’s clear where Marina’s sound originated from, there is a slight shift toward a more radio friendly sound. There are obvious comparisons to Katy Perry in her vocals, such as in the album’s first single Primadonna, and those comparisons aren’t unfounded. Though Marina’s music is more adventurous, it does at times parallel what Katy might be doing if she were to put out new music right now. Lies and Starring Role, in particular, could have been on Teenage Dream despite tracks like Bubblegum Bitch being completely out of Katy’s grasp. Europop takes control in the middle part of the record with the trio of songs The State Of Dreaming, Power & Control and Living Dead though things come back to this side of the ocean with Valley Of The Dolls, featuring a beat that sounds oddly like Timbaland‘s production of Say It Right by Nelly Furtado.
Marina’s sound could become the centre of pop music in the coming years as the current trends move away from the upbeat sounds of high energy dance pop. However, there isn’t a whole lot on Electro Heart that makes her stand apart from her peers who have had at least one song really make an impact. She’s yet to have her own Hello or Bulletproof. On Electra Heart, many of the songs are competing with each other with no clear indication as to which one will receive that distinction. On an individual level, each of the songs are catchy, Bubblegum Bitch insanely so. But collectively, they blend together. As a record so neutral in amongst the pop landscape, perhaps being in the middle of so many other bigger genres isn’t quite so exceptional afterall.
1. Bubblegum Bitch
5. Starring Role
6. The State Of Dreaming
7. Power And Control
8. Living Dead
9. Teen Idle
10. Valley Of The Dolls
12. Fear And Loathing