Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Froot | Marina and the Diamonds


★★★☆☆

"I found what I’d been looking for in myself / Found a life worth living for someone else / Never thought that I could be happy," sings Marina Diamandis in the opening number of her upcoming studio album, Froot. After spending the two years prior disguising herself as blonde American archetype named Electra, she ultimately killed off the character last year. With Froot, Diamandis takes true form once again. While she has traditionally played the role of an internally-conflicted young woman, she proclaims that she is now "Happy," proving her point with multi-colored album packaging and a new obsession with fruit emojis.

The album's title track, which was released as a buzz single before the album's announcement, leads listeners to expect a set of spacey synthpop tunes. In the song, Diamandis shifts her vocal delivery, from a childish, high-pitch tone to a matured, deep belt, over disco-style synth blips. However, "Froot" deceived us; the remainder of the album is encased in a warm pop-rock coating, supported by percussion kits and hazy guitars. Spare "Froot" and a select few other tracks, the synthesizers that so heavily impacted Electra Heart are absent from this album. Expecting another "Primadonna" or "Radioactive" club banger? Look elsewhere. Dr. Luke and Greg Kurstin have been kicked the curb in favor of pop-rock gems like "I'm a Ruin" and "Savages."

Lyrically, Diamadis hasn't lost the charm that listeners fell in love with on The Family Jewels, and she still gleams today. The opening verse of "Blue" could be mistaken for a playful Carly Rae Jepsen song, and lyrically, she retains her cheerful disposition with a bouncy delivery: "Gimme love, gimme dreams / Gimme a good self esteem / Gimme good and pure, what you waiting for? / Gimme everything, all your heart can bring." Of course, this happiness could be a direct result of exhaling any negativity through song; in a track aptly titled "Forget," Diamandis tells listeners, "'Cause I have lived my life in debt / I’ve spent my days in deep regret / Yeah, I’ve been living in the red / But I want to forgive and forget." She also blasts another woman (rumored to be ex-friend Ellie Goulding) in a breezy pop-rock piece titled "Better Than That." Despite the upbeat disguise, she takes aim and fires: "And she’ll network ’til her dreams come true / Even if it means getting into bed with you / Everybody’s friend, does it ring a bell? / I know a little too much but I’ll never tell."

Like Taylor Swift did with her third studio album, Speak Now, Diamandis took it upon herself to write the entirety of Froot solo, rather than run back to her stock of previous big-name co-writers and producers. Furthermore, she co-produced this album with one other producer, David Kosten. Although she utilized a satirical, disingenuous fa├žade on her previous album, she sadly fared far better on Electra Heart than she does on Froot. She can clearly create quality lyrics single-handedly, but bland melodies, faltered vocal delivery, and lackluster climaxes plague many tracks that should have gleamed with perfection. The album is an fair attempt for the circumstances of its production and composition, but this piece of Froot could have been much sweeter.

Froot will be released on March 16, 2015 through Atlantic Records and Neon Gold.

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