Marina and The Diamonds – ‘FROOT’ (Album Review)

It’s been nearly three years since Marina Diamondis’ last release ‘Electra Heart’ and she’s spent her down time in a castle of solitude. She’s ditched the iconic blonde wig and the heart under her eye and become a 70s goddess adorned in fruit. Don’t fear Marina hasn’t turned sour, if anything she’s sweeter than ever with her new record being lighter than things you’ve heard previously. Diamondis stated earlier this year that “A relationship had to end” and after listening to ‘FROOT’ its clear to see she’s ended the relationship she had with the purely pop record of 2012. Unlike ‘Electra Heart’, ‘FROOT’ isn’t depressive, lyrics full of angst behind epic production parading as a pop songs, it’s about personal growth and genuinely being happy. The song from this record “Solitaire” seems to be a representation of the road Marina took to get to “Froot”, plenty of time alone so she could truly shed the ‘cheap shimmering glitter’ of before and she’s gone back to her roots for this album. It’s a very current record, and I’m not just talking about the leak or release date, its hits on so many social issues and themes of the “human race” but it’s done in an incredibly subtle, melodic way.

The opening track ‘Happy’ is one you might have heard before as it’s one of Marina’s “Froots of the Month” or commonly known as a single. It’s a slower ballad that takes Marina back to basics, strong vocals and a backing band. You might be quick to call it a sad track but it’s quite the opposite, it’s about finding hope and living for yourself rather than trying to find gratitude from others. It’s the first taste of the succulent fruit that Marina is serving from her twelve track froot basket and it’s a sweet little number that sets the tone for the rest of the tracks.

Next up we hear the fun title track “Froot”, this track is definitely definitive of the “Froot” era, it’s fresh, sweet and a little sassy. It’s quite a groovy track that takes you to a time of disco dancing and it’s a definitely a contrast musically to the track before it with punchy beats. But the lyrics are similar in the sense that they promote happiness “life can’t get much sweeter” and it’s the fruit puns that make this track even catchier.

The next few tracks “I’m a Ruin”, “Gold”, “Solitaire”, “Weeds” and “Immortals” are a nod to Diamondis’ first release “The Family Jewels” and the first track “Happy” as they are centred on a song writer style of production, subtle beats, piano and vocals. They touch on the ending of relationships and learning to love yourself and being happy. It’s about personal growth; you’ve got to forget the past and try to move on, living without petty regrets. We all spend too much time worrying about trying to impress others, when we should be cherishing what we have. The themes of these tracks link nicely with the rest of the songs on the album that have a punchier rhythm.

Tracks such as “Blue”, “Forget”, “Can’t Pin Me Down” and “Better Than That” are musically a lot closer to the title track “Froot” with plenty of guitar, drums and electro synth. These songs could be compared to the style of ‘Electra Heart’ in the sense that they’re closer to pop than anything else and there’s a hint of scorn and pride in the lyrics. These songs are about Marina changing and reinventing herself as ‘just another girl in the twenty first century’ and there are subtle feminist tones in the lyrics that stand true with her stance of being genuinely happy. These are the tracks that show she doesn’t need verification from others in order to grow, she’s continuing to blossom like the fruits in her sound garden.

Another track I want to talk about is “Savages” it’s hidden towards the end of the record but it’s such a powerful number that hits on so many political and religious issues that are currently plaguing the world. “Another day another tale of rape” / “Another ticking bomb to bury deep and detonate” … “I’m not afraid of God, I’m afraid of man” This song paints such an intense picture of everything that’s wrong with our society, we’re afraid of one another, but is it with reason or has it been instilled in our dna from the previous generation. We’re all running around as ‘animals’ who are learning to exist in this world controlled by a Government or God who may not has the best interests of everyone in their sights. “Are you killing for yourself or killing for your saviour?”. “Savages” is a very informative and thought provoking number that all too relevant.

All in all “Froot” is an impressive record that does well to showcase Marina’s talent as she wrote and produced most, if not all of these tracks herself. This time around she truly put her heart and soul into the music and it’s obvious the fruits of her labour have blossomed into an impressive orchard of lyrics, synth, rhythm and intrumentals. After so many years in the business, it’s obvious that Marina knows how to grow with the times and the “Froot” seems to be her biggest yet. It might not be the sticky, sweet sounds of pop you might be used too, but it’s the real, powerhouse sound that is true of Marina and The Diamonds. 

Album Standouts: Froot, Blue, Better Than That and Savages

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