by Bradley Donalson
Marina returns! After the death of her alter ego, Electra Heart, Marina returns to making music her own way. With her third studio album, Froot, Marina takes the writing process into her own hands, moving away from the concept album of Electra Heart, paring down the number of producers she’s working with, and creating an album that is coherent, beautiful, and fun.
As one of the Diamonds (the collective name for her fans and not a reference to her bandmates), I couldn’t be happier with it. Marina moves away from the dance-pop that characterized her previous album without losing her pop roots. She mixes her grooves with disco flavor, electropop, rock, and funk elements while showing her ability to put together an emotional ballad.
The opening track, “Happy,” sounds like it’s anything but, until you listen to the lyrics. The plaintive tones blend with lyrics that are brutally intimate to provide something that is much deeper than bubblegum happiness. For those who have ever experienced something like that, this song touches something deep inside that sets the tone for the album. Not everything is going to be as it seems, but it will be something self-reflective.
Other ballads on the album like “Solitaire” and “Immortal” sing about the need for time alone or the desire for love that seems to last forever. Higher tempo numbers like the title track “Froot” and “Better Than That” may not be as plaintive, but they continue to explore emotional undercurrents with the theme of taking control of one’s life.
The 12-track album doesn’t rely on a couple of standout songs—although they are definitely there—but creates a comprehensive whole that is emotional without being sappy and realistically approaches emotion without falling into standard tropes or oversimplification.
From Neon Gold/Elektra. More at marinaandthediamonds.com.