Review Summary: with her debut, Marina has made it abundantly clear that she’s a force to be reckoned with in the realm of pop, threatening to potentially steal the spotlight in coming years.
2010, the year that renowned artists such as Kanye West, Janelle Monae, Big Boi, etc., rose to the higher echelons of pop music by honing their craft was also the year that we saw the emergence of the wild and quirky Welsh pop singer Marina Diamandis with her album The Family Jewels
. Now, The Family Jewels
isn’t the genre’s saving grace, but it’s a damn fine debut LP full of glorious pop sheen, propelled by Marina’s idiosyncratic vocal delivery and somewhat unconventional songwriting prowess. Throughout the course of 13 songs Marina grabs the attention of her audience with irresistible pop hooks and choruses so catchy that they nestle in your mind, demanding to be sung along to. Marina plays to her pop sensibilities by borrowing elements from cited influences that range from Kate Bush to Elliott Smith, infusing various musical styles to create something organic and invigorating within a genre notorious for its homogeneity.
The vast majority of songs ride a wave of emphatic happiness; most of them are so bubbly and light-hearted that their dulcet beats are enough to rouse even those apathetic to most pop. Tracks like “Hollywood” challenge some of the finest pop songs of yesteryear, with a piano backing a chorus as Marina flamboyantly sings “Hollywood infected your brain / You wanted kissing in the rain / Living in a movie scene / Puking American dreams.” Its brilliance is somewhat lost in how upbeat and catchy it is, but Marina scintillatingly weaves such irony into tracks and exposes a lot of clichés like this. What’s surprising is how genuine and honest it all comes across, as many pop artists tend to sound detached when approaching the genre. It seems as though British female pop stars have been making a splash in popular music recently and Marina & The Diamonds has cemented herself as one of the better, more distinguishable pop stars to emerge in 2010. Highly recommended for people seeking a contemporary pop album with a keen sense of exceptional songwriting that’s very enjoyable through and through.