Marina and the Diamonds: Froot

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Pop stars often use their third album to showcase their “authenticity.” In a way, Froot is Marina and the Diamonds’ attempt to do just that. But Marina and the Diamonds was never really a conventional pop star. Rather, on Family Jewels and, more explicitly on Electra Heart, she played one as a character. The latter is an in-depth concept album playing with ideas of fame, femininity, and Greek archetypes, many of its tracks set to sardonically pop backgrounds. For its lead single, “Prima Donna,” the Welsh/Greek singer/songwriter even enlisted pop superstar producers Dr. Luke and Cirkut, but it never reached a high enough peak on the charts for its satire to really play out.

Froot, in contrast, is written solely by Marina herself. It dispenses with the thumping beats and synth-heavy arrangements and relies more on her ethereal, theatrical vocals and atmospheric productions. To be sure, though, Froot is not as much a departure as the artist would like you to believe. Even with more guitars and pianos, these songs are fairly straight-forward indie pop, just like her first two albums. Her lyrics still drip with a heavy-handed self-importance, and when that tone isn’t directed into satire, its effect is much more exhausting. She’s still preoccupied with the human condition, writing songs about rape culture (“Savages”), mortality, and the power of love (“Immortal”), but she also turns her songwriting in on herself more frequently. On the opening ballad, “Happy,” Marina sings “I’ve found what I’ve been looking for in myself.” It’s hard to deny that this feeling permeates the whole record. She feels like she’s made exactly the kind of record she wanted to make, for better or worse.

Typically, after the pop star’s authenticity-grabbing third album, they fade away, only to come back years later on reality TV. Likely, though, Marina won’t have to face the same fate. Hopefully, we’ll see her continue to use pop music for lofty aspirations, maybe even with more success next time.

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About Scott Interrante

Scott Interrante currently studies Musicology at CUNY Hunter College where he focuses on issues of gender in pop music. He also writes for PopMatters, The Absolute, and Dear Song In My Head. Scott is an avid Taylor Swift fan and is currently re-watching all of Battlestar Galactica on Netflix.
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