Many pop albums came with the year of 2012, some stayed in our hearts and thoughts, and some others drifted off into oblivion. But, one album that is unforgettable to anyone who listens to it, is ‘Electra Heart’, by the welsh singer/ songwriter, Marina and The Diamonds. Known for her first studio album, ‘The Family Jewels’, Marina was known for her alternative and experimental sound, with hits like ‘Oh No!’, ‘I Am Not A Robot’, and ‘Hollywood’. Each were inspiring different, and held an interesting topic. But, when the lead single for Electra Heart dropped, that all changed. Described as her “most personal album”, ‘Electra Heart’ is a bubblegum pop concept record, which talks about a different side of love, a darker side, which is shown by the album character, ‘Electra Heart’. Many have argued that out of the three albums Marina has released, this was her best, but is it? Let’s find out.

Key:

Noah

Alex

Bubblegum Bitch

// We open the album with this 80s inspired pop song, titled ‘Bubblegum Bitch’, which is such a great way to bring us to what this album has to offer. The lyrics are clever, and they are so well done and work quite well. With the perfect lyric “Welcome to the life of Electra Heart’ presenting itself, this track is such a great opener choice, and a banger as well. Although it is a shorter track, standing at 2:35, it feels like a full length track, and has the perfect pop beat to bring us to the vibe of this album. A well done track, and a true highlight. 9/10 

// As an instant banger, ‘Bubblegum Bitch’ gives an instant kick to Diamandis’ sophomore album that diamonds around the world were not expecting. A side of Marina has never been seen as this record comes off as Marina being an extremely quirky teenage girl in her seemingly happy but deeper life as you look into it. Marina welcomes listeners to the life of Electra Heart and the era with a happier side which slowly transitions into the struggles of her life of Americana. The guitar and catchy vocals with a steady drum beat give the song an enticing welcome to the listener overall. 8.5/10

Primadonna

// Released as the lead for this album, ‘Primadonna’ is once again such a banger. Starting us off with a little guitar and synths on the opening chorus, with clever lyrics, the verses come along, with a huge synth feel, and an infectious beat follow. The track is about wanting it all and living the life, and is such a huge change from her older music. With the lyrics like ‘Going up, going down down down / Anything for the crown crown crown’ really shows that theme, and really shows in whole what this album is about. It went on to be Marina’s largest hit to date, and no wonders there, this track is infectious, and something not to miss. 10/10

// Pop song perfection, this is what the iconic worldwide hit ‘Primadonna’ proves itself to be. The clever, but perfect idea of the song formation leads the listener in with a chorus with a light instrumental, to a verse with a huge, vibrant, fun instrumental! Marina’s new sound is exemplified, the iconic Electra Heart era has taken it’s full form on track 2. A life of wanting to be a pop star, something which Marina has always wanted to be. Marina explains her goals, and what the life of a ‘Primadonna’ pop star really is. All Marina ever wanted was the world, and she did that with this track. Also, opening up the idea of Electra Heart’s different archetypes takes full form, the ‘Primadonna’ archetype explains the pop star style of Americana in general. You can count on her to misbehave. 10/10

Lies

// Next is one of darkest tracks, which is a drastic change from ‘Primadonna’. The track focuses on Marina’s voice quite a bit more, with the heavy synths behind her on the production side. The lyrics are something special, and talks about not loving someone, but still not being able to let them go. This shows us Electra’s darker side, and how dark the album can become. Overall though, this song is something special, and is done well in production and vocally. 8.5/10

// ‘Lies,’ a quick change in emotions, for both Marina herself and the listener. The truth is missing in the relationship Marina is facing. This record focuses less on Electra Heart, but Marina’s stressful love life. Through the ballad, Marina knows this one is not the one for her. This track solely explains Marina’s struggle of letting someone go, even though the two are not compatible. The instrumental suits Marina’s beautifully smooth voice, as the ballad fits with the striking instrumental without it washing out Marina’s lovely popified vocals! 8/10

Homewrecker

// Once again, Marina introduces us to something new, a spoken word verse. The song stands as the song for the second archetype in these four archetypes Electra goes through, the ‘Homewrecker’. Lyrics like “I break a million hearts just for fun’ is such a lyrical highlight, and truly shows Marina’s lyric ability. The song is fun and upbeat, and shows how much Electra can bounce back and feel no emotion, and hide the ones that hurt her. The concept is so well executed as well, another highlight. 10/10

// The next track, ‘Homewrecker’ brings in a new dimension of Electra’s persona again. We meet the Homewrecker, the archetype explaining the woman who doesn’t necessarily need a man. With Marina’s enchanting voice while including fun rhymes to bring out the true character of Electra Heart, we are able to enjoy the extremely catchy track with vintage inspired vibes. As the bridge quickly comes into the track, Marina’s raspy voice puts an extra flare to Marina’s overall tone throughout the track. It shows a sense of how confident Marina is in the character of Electra Heart. 9/10

Starring Role

// We go from light to dark once again, as the happiness from ‘Homewrecker’ disappears, and the darkness of ‘Starring Role’ sinks in. The track once again is full of large synth production, as Marina sings with authority and power in her vocals, but with weakness in the lyrics, which Electra never likes to show. The contrast is beautiful and leads up to such a well done track. The theme of the track is ‘Unless I’m your #1, then I’m not interested’ which is such an interesting thing to write about. I love the rawness and pure emotion in this track, and the lyrics are once again so well done. 9.5/10

// From Greg Kurstin’s iconic production to the underlying message of ‘Starring Role,’ this record is a handful to take in at once. Coming raw from Marina, she explains, “You don’t want to live in reality. That’s why you’re an artist. You’re on the run.” It’s hard for someone to put on a character in a relationship, but some can’t help it and are afraid to show who they truly are. The ‘Su-Barbie-A’ or Suburbia archetype is the darker side of Electra Heart seeping in the happier pop filled life. The beautiful chimes enhanced by the synth and bass lay this off to be on of the most magnificent songs Marina has ever produced. 10/10

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The State Of Dreaming

// Beginning with the lyric “Million of girls float, on their one quote”, we enter the sixth track of the album, ‘The State Of Dreaming’. Starting with very minimal and dreamy production, the track quickly transitions into a larger track by the first chorus. Lyrically, this may be one of the strongest tracks, the standouts such as “Only waking when I sleep” and the iconic “If only you knew my dear / how I live my life in fear / If only you knew my dear / How I know my time is near”. This track is a beautiful representation of how Electra lives her life, and how it is make-believe to her. The track is fun and upbeat, and truly a standout. 9.5/10

// Inspired by Marilyn Monroe, ‘The State of Dreaming’ has a vibe that that makes the listener really focus on the lyrics are hoping to bring through. Is my life a play, a dream? This is what Electra Heart is explaining through this record. Marina explains how ‘Fantasy protects us’ and that solely connects to the character of Electra Heart. The production turns into a dreaming smooth sound until the chorus hits, with an upbeat guitar plus drum surprise. Living in a make believe land, Marina as well as Electra Heart demonstrate how she looks out into our world and connects that to how Marilyn Monroe was living a life hiding her true emotions. 9/10

Power & Control

// From one banger to another, we arrive to the album’s second single, ‘Power & Control’. Although it did not gain much commercial success, the track is definitely a highlight of this record. The track has electro-rock, and power pop vibes, and has a dance-y beat to go along with it. The lyrics are well done as well, with standouts such as “Women and men, we are the same / But love will always be game”. It showcases Electra’s fight back and how strong she can be, and I like how that is showcased, because it fights the weakness she has shown so far. 10/10

// A failed single, but a bop nonetheless! This records verses are short and show-stopping at the same time. The vintage pop vibes mix with Marina’s views on an unhealthy relationship. Women and men are the same, as there is always an eternal game of tug and war. With the relatable message demonstrated, a catchy bop vibe is taking place at the same time. As the song progresses into the bridge, the listener hears a quick switch into striking synths and piano which lad into the final highlighting chorus. This song is one of the top bops of the record! 8/10

Living Dead

// Written as the first track on the album, it is clear the state of life Marina was in at this time. Written by herself, this track shows off how raw and dark her life had become. The track is the darkest of the record, and the most raw. The lyrics are very well done, and the production is too, but has a minor feel to it, that fits the track well. The song is a highlight for me, and one of my favorite this album has to offer. 10/10

// Written in 2010, Marina lost her sense of identity and almost decided to quit the music industry completely. This song showed one of Marina’s worst moments she had in which direction she would hope to go in. After Marina’s debut album had been released, she was the opposite of happy. Depression is the aspect of Marina’s displacement in her own body. She is afraid of becoming broken in her place. Marina didn’t to take her life, but wanted to start a new one. This was when a darker version of Electra Heart was created. The era began as this track was created. It’s significance is huge. 10/10

Teen Idle

// The ninth track is titled ‘Teen Idle’, and may be one of the largest fan favorites from this album. As a very popular song across Tumblr and other social medias, this track has iconic lyrics. The track begins with very minimal production and slowly builds. The lyrics perfectly depict how Marina looks back on her teen life, and it all around is another dark track. The song also represents fourth archetype as well, the Idol Teen. But overall, this track is executed well, and another highlight. 9.5/10

// ‘Teen Idle,’ a fan favorite across Marina’s teen fans as the taboo topic is brought to the limelight as it has been spread all over Tumblr since 2012. Marina looks back on her suicidal years in her teenage life, disappointed she didn’t live the way she wished she could have now as an adult. The dark synth like production gives a flare only ‘Living Dead’ has shown off so far. Marina’s soft voice hits a high in the final chorus as a huge drop in production this. This is one of the best songs production wise and lyric wise throughout the entire Electra Heart era. 10/10

Valley Of The Dolls

//On this next track, we once again see a very dark side of Electra’s life. The inspiration comes from the 1967 film under the same name. The song is meant to describe Marina’s life in Los Angeles, but also from Electra’s perspective. “It could be such an empty place at times” she said while describing the track. The track is very toned down production-wise, and was the last song ever written for the album. It can be a little forgettable for me, but I do love what the track does lyrically. 7.5/10

// Once again, Marina explains the struggle of falling back into a depressive state through the persona of Electra Heart. Related to the movie, this record also goes in depth on feeling it’s the end. ‘Can you really do this anymore?’ With the seemingly sad backdrop this ballad, this song brings up nothing hopeful to Marina’s life at the current moment. It’s not everyone’s favorite track, as a long streak of seemingly depressing songs have occurred. 6/10

Hypocrates

// ‘Hypocrates’ may be the sweetest track on the album, and it feels a little out of place for me. The track has a cute production job, but isn’t honestly to the level of the rest of the tracks. The lyrics are amazing though, but all around can get forgettable. It feels like it’s missing something, and just isn’t as strong as everything else on this record. 6/10

// A track that was not meant for this album, which doesn’t seem to fit the puzzle that is the Electra Heart era. This song doesn’t do much for me and is just a filler. Marina has a nice message of this song, explaining how she wants to be be who she is, but is a bad beginning to the changing tone of the record. 5/10

Fear and Loathing

// As one of the most darkest but beautiful tracks this record has to offer, we have ‘Fear and Loathing’. Once again written by Marina herself, the track has a large dark vibe and is also the closer of the US and standard edition of the album. I love the vocals and how they are showcased with this slow hypnotic instrumental. It showcases Electra’s true hate for the world, but the realization that no everyone out there is there to mess with you. It changes the whole album’s point of view, which I am a huge fan of. But, a con of this track is the really long and unneeded  outro which is Marina’s grandma singing in greek, but personally, it make song not listenable after that point. 9/10

// As the ending of the standard edition of the record, ‘Fear and Loathing’ demonstrates how Marina wanted to break away from her painful feelings in life. Through Electra Heart, Marina realized she wanted to live her life being happy, not in fear, not in agony, not in pain. This track was the perfect ending for the standard edition, as the peaceful chimes with Marina’s grandma singing in Greek echos as the track fades out. 8/10

Radioactive

// Once again, we find ourselves with another BANGER. Released as the first and only promotional single of the album, the thirteenth track is titled ‘Radioactive’. It’s one of the first pieces of Electra’s story, where she changes her identity. “I wrote “Radioactive” in New York in the middle of a heat wave. Introduced to a glittering new nightlife, I fell in love with New York; it has this magic, fizzing white energy that no other city in the world has. I felt happy and was inspired to write a song that felt light and euphoric, a more streamlined, minimalistic style of songwriting.” Marina said on the track. I love this track, and still hasn’t gotten old. 9/10

// Through on the top bops of the record, ‘Radioactive’ embraces the true persona of Electra Heart. Especially in the music video, Diamonds see Marina transform from the Marina everyone knows to Marina in a blonde wig. Listeners may not think this song has much meaning, but it was one of the introductions into the bangers into the Electra Heart era. 8.5/10

Sex Yeah

// This track is one of the songs that I honestly don’t feel fits this album’s theme, but it’s a deluxe track, which works. I love the message and the fun retro feel/ vibe you get when you listen to it, and the track is just so strong lyrically. I love what this song stands for, and really shows Marina’s standpoint as a woman in the music industry. 10/10

// Marina tackles how gender roles rule our society in many aspects. While we know it’s there, most of us don’t debate about how outdated these beliefs we hear are still so present in our society. Woman are easily portrayed as symbols of sex more than men, most of the time way too often. The track is undertoned by a catchy beat with a retro flare while seemingly having modern electronic tones. 9/10

How To Be A Heartbreaker

// Released as the album’s second largest song after ‘Primadonna’, ‘How To Be A Heartbreaker’ is a fun track teaching you how to break hearts. I like how this track is upbeat for the most part, excluding the bridge. If promoted a bit more, this could have smashed, but it got mediocre success in the long run. I like this track, the fun guitar add in the instrumental keeps the song alive. Her vocals are present and well done, and I enjoy the song for its fun dance-y vibe and the clever lyrics. 9/10

// The final since of the Electra Heart, with an uplifting commercial feel. While being seen as a ‘sell out singe,’ this is just the final tad of fun Diamond’s got to witness from the era until Electra heart tragically killed herself. Through a set of rules guided by Marina, the listener learns how to be a heartbreaker through Electra Heart’s 4 archetypes. The fun, catchy, guitar and synth beat gives the song a kick impossible to not be interested in. 7.5/10

SUMMARY

// Overall, ‘Electra Heart’ is a beautiful cohesive album that has a hypnotic feel to it whenever you play even play just one song from it. Whether it’s the fun side with ‘Homewrecker’ or the dark side with ‘Fear and Loathing’, Marina has really outdone herself with this album. I love the perspective this album speaks of and the lyrics are executed to well to an extent of something I never expected. The bubblegum pop vibe fits Marina’s voice very well, and it is clear the talent she has vocally. Total: 91%

// While the era might have seen over played and too confusing, the album itself and music in it showed a side of Marina no one was expecting. Through multiple, distinct sub-genres inside the record, we saw synth, contemporary, and close to indie pop. Marina interpreted the idea of a perfect contemporary, dark bubblegum pop record. Total: 85%

(8.8 / 10)

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