The other day I decided to find a new favourite artist because I was a bit tired of the same old singers, and so, I found this talented girl (yeah, I also though it was a band). Marina Diamandis (her actual name) has already released three albums, being the one I’m reviewing today her debut!

First of all, I have to warn you that her sound is a little bit… different… It’s really different from the typical pop, or alternative, that’s why she claims that she doesn’t fit into one genre particularly, but in a vast array of styles that go from straight pop to classical music.

The album starts off with Are You Satisfied?, with a very “classical” intro that turns into a pop-rock song about fame and how much we need to feel completely happy. Then it’s followed by the fifth single Shampain, a rocky synth-pop song that, in her own words, “is about the depressing side of getting drunk, the obliteration side of having a good time” . I Am Not A Robot (fourth single)  is a bit of a filler, although the lyrics make up for all the weaknesses in melodies!

Girls is a very Gwen Stefani-esque song, just like the whole album actually. It’s quite a fun and catchy song, you won’t be able to take the “nanananana”s out of your head! Mogwli’s Road, the second single, is probably one of the best songs in this album, it’s a very catchy tune with (again) very ingenious lyrics about fame.

Obsessions is the first single off this record, it isn’t Marina at it’s best, but it is one of the most enjoyable songs she has since it is really easy to listen to… if you know what I mean… Her voice might be a bit annoying in some songs, and this one isn’t one of those, it’s actually a very soft mid-tempo.

Hollywood (3rd single) is clearly a part of the holy trinity on the record, the lyrics are really really good and the melodies are very varied throughout the song. The way she sings each verse makes every word unique in some way, which is really nice and makes you want to listen to the whole song, not only the chorus. Hollywood follows the fame theme too.

The Outsider is also another highlight off the album, an 80’s influenced track that sounds very fresh and could be easily be a part of E·MO·TION or 1989.

Here we have another gem! Hermit The Frog is just a perfect song, a mix of different styles, I can even detect some opera at some points! The lyrics are worthy checking out because they are amazing. The highlight of the whole song is the bridge, the tam-tararay’s that build up the happy feeling that discharges into the chorus resulting in a very interesting contrast between the care-free melody and the lyrics.

Oh No!  (fifth single) is probably the second best track. It’s very catchy and there are many variations in the interpretation, so it’s very dynamic. Rootless is the ballad  at the end of any pop album, I personally love it, although the production is a bit messy that brings down the potential that the song would have with a better mixing. I really like the instrument choices she made there, there are some trumpets that add a jazzy feel to the song.

Numb is a more orchestral ballad and has a better production than Rootless. It’s a bit of a filler “melody-wise”, but again the lyrics save her ass! Guilty is the closer and a plain filler, although it’s pretty listenable…

 

SUMMARY

The Family Jewels is an amazing record, full of impressive lyrics and well-crafted hooks. It’s a clear grower, don’t expect to love every single song from the very first listen, but rather just a couple of songs, although you will kind of like all of them. That’s the charm of albums, to discover track by track each bit and lyric, instead of all the tracks hitting you hard from the beginning. I recommend you to listen to the whole album and read the lyrics at the same time, you won’t be disappointed.

The album has also a clear theme (fame, music industry, money…) that can be seen across every single song, which might be off-putting for some but I actually enjoy. Overall, a really good album, and one of the best debuts that one could have!

– FINAL –

9 out of 10 stars (9 / 10)

 Available on:

iTunes | Tidal | Spotify