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Album Review: Marina and the Diamonds: The Family Jewels

She is (if we must make a comparison) Regina Spektor meets Lady Gaga, maybe a little bit YACHT. Marina Lambrini Diamandis (Marina and the Diamonds) on her first album, The Family Jewels, offers an addicting take of social commentary with poppy hooks and a stunningly bold and orchestral voice. Maybe you’re familiar with tracks like “I Am Not A Robot” and “Hollywood,” but these don’t do the album justice. Because, while these songs give a fair synopsis of what Marina seems to be about (I have a big dream, I’m true to myself), they don’t cut in the way “Oh No” does or explore the enveloping quality of her art as in “Numb.”

And it’s not just her range that’s incredible, but how somehow, in her own effortless way, she manages to evoke this energy that literally gives me goose bumps. There are lyricists who struggle to sing convincingly about self-awareness or any sort of Rajasic power because, well, they don’t sound strong or uninhibited. Not the case in this work. She could have used less instrumentation and mixing because, honestly, she doesn’t need it. But I’m still going to be listening to her in the car for the next month at least.

In sum, The Family Jewels beckons the listener to question, to scream, to simultaneously be here while flying there. “Better to be hated than love, love, loved for what you’re not.” And is it not almost too sexy to hear a woman say, “I know exactly what I want and who I want to be? Keep your ears open for this one. She’s in your face and she knows what she is talking about. But Welsh-Greek soon-to-be star is going to “take over the world” without selling sex. Let’s applaud that, at least!

Courtney Morra

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