Marina is back and better than ever

"Love + Fear" album cover courtesy of Spotify.

Natalia Selvaggio, Contributing Writer

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After a four year hiatus, Marina Diamandis has gotten rid of her old stage name, “Marina and The Diamonds,” and reinvented herself as “MARINA.” Her new two-part album, “LOVE + FEAR” was released April 26 and has 16 total tracks with a duration of 56:16. Marina said she titled the album after the two emotions she wanted to induce in listeners. Hence the first eight songs, which focus on love and transition into the last eight songs focusing on fear.

For anyone who’s listened to Marina’s music before, this new era is certainly a big change for her. Her older albums such as “Froot” or “Electra Heart” showcased a different outlook in terms of love and her personal identity. She ran away from love so scared it would hurt her and struggled to open herself up. With “LOVE + FEAR” now being more mainstream pop, the lyrics also showcase her development as an artist.

Recently, Marina divulged to fans on social media and in various interviews her struggle with depression and self-doubt these past four years. She lost her passion for music and felt trapped in the image she created for herself as an idol. In her latest album, she explores these feelings, which not many artists choose to do.

“People like to tell you what to think, think, think,” she sings in “True.” “Sometimes it feels right to do the wrong, wrong thing. Let it go and listen to your own instincts.”

It’s quite interesting to see her mold her style into more modern pop music while still maintaining her raw and real persona. Marina has left multiple comments on her music videos for this album. She notes on the “To Be Human” music video why it’s such a prominent song to her.

“It sums up the headspace that I’ve come from in the past 3 years,” Marina said. “I think the subject matter is really important, it talks about unity. I think when I was writing that I wanted to create this picture of humanity because in our political climate we are constantly being made to see other people as ‘other.’”

“To Be Human” is one of her most political songs, focusing on the problems our society faces today. In which Marina mentions how sad it is as a society we’re disconnected from the world and hurt each other every day.

“All the people living in, living in the world today, “ she sings in “To Be Human.” Reunited by our love, reunited by our pain.”

Additionally, Marina has always been known to have a hard time with love. But in “Baby” a new era of love sparks for Marina. Instead of running from love, she’s trying to amend a relationship with someone she used to care for.

“Guess I had my last chance,” she sings in “Baby.” “And now this is our last dance. You fell through the cracks in my hands.”

And actually, I listened to this song before the album and had no idea Marina was the one singing. The song was released under the artist Clean Bandit and featured Luis Fonsi, a popular Latin American artist, and judge on “La Voz.” Marina’s voice had previously been very distinct and even a bit immature sounding to me. It was a very deep tone naturally but would exaggerate high notes purposefully to sound a bit whiny. Through this song, however, her voice is clear and developed into a completely new sound.

But besides branching out into the basic love songs, Marina wanted to trace herself back to her roots. “Orange Trees” captures Marina’s life before fame. It refers to the island her family is from in Greece, Lefkada. She uses an electronic Caribbean steel drum combined with a rough tapping for the beat. The tune expresses how Marina always felt at peace and truly happy when she was there.

What I found particularly interesting though was not necessarily the music. In fact, in the “LOVE” part of the album, most songs are pretty similar to what you hear in mainstream pop (Maroon 5, Taylor Swift, Katy Perry, etc.). It’s the lyrics that you fall in love with throughout the whole album. And the “FEAR” section was very chaotic as every other song felt like it went up and down in happiness. She would contrast the darker lyrics with lighter tunes and vice versa. From soft melodies with classical instruments to intense and electronic beats, it’s like a whirlwind of emotions.

As the album ends, “No More Suckers” becomes a self-reflection. It shows a dilemma she has on who to be friends with. In the end, she realizes she needs to cut people out of her life who is going to judge her and move on with her life. It showcases a fun vibe and goodbye to all the people she doesn’t need with short versus a melodic chorus.

She finishes off the album with “Soft to Be Strong.” The song centers around her conclusion on where she is mentally. Marina acknowledges her fear she had and still does have of life and love. That it’s okay to be gentle and love yourself. And she emulates that through a somber sound while still being carefree. Its final realization that life is going to be whatever it wants to be without fail, and sometimes, you have to learn and move on.

Marina did a perfect job with this album getting across her new image. Marina doesn’t need to have funky sounds or style within her music right now. It’s a journey for her, and this whole album captures the feelings she’s held on to for the past few years. It’s endearing for an artist to open up about such personal topics for others to learn. For anyone personally struggling with figuring out who they are, they should listen to Marina’s album to try and find some peace for themselves.