Singer and songwriter Marina Diamandis began her career in 2010 with the magnificent album “Family Jewels”, which marked the emergence of a character going against the grain of the mainstream scene. Since then, the artist, who has performed under the rough nickname of “and the diamonds”, has gone through countless creative transitions that have brought to life the underrated “Electra Heart”, the vibrant “Froot” and the galore. complicated by “Love + Fear”. Today, two years after his last return to the world of music, the performer adopts a new alter-ego with the simplicity of MARINA, uniting the best of the past, present and future with the interesting messages of “Ancient Dreams in a Modern Land ”. .
During several months of promoting her fifth studio album, the artist delved into a much more critical and insightful soul-searching than she had shown us before. Of course, in the previous works, titles such as the clear “To Be Human” and the symbolic “Valley of the Dolls” already demonstrated a dialogue close to world events and the need to stand up against a series of serious mistakes made. by humanity. Here, things take an even more drastic proportion, which even divides the narration into two moments: from the start, MARINA unveils a characteristic pop-rock with the impeccable realization of the title track, diffusing the 90’s influences to the following songs – including the applauded and nostalgic “Venus Fly Trap” and the deliberately discordant “Purge the Poison”.
Perhaps the main problem with this first half is that the singer takes herself too seriously to the point of forgetting her own theatricality – something you see even in long and exhausting verses, filled with a lyric. too poignant to be analyzed from another angle. The album already opens with the phrases “our ancestors had to fight to survive, to have a chance to live”, tarnishing an already independent synth-rock structure which becomes, so to speak, redundant. The same is true, for example, in “Man’s World”, where MARINA is already beginning to take a few steps back towards an incredible dramatic subtlety, but here again laden with too obvious symbologies to be sought for any originality; even so, it’s remarkable how strong enough the aesthetic choices are to guide us through this rather shaky start.
In fact, when you think that the performer has always done what she wanted with her career, the compilation of originals turns into an antithetical declamation of freedom, in which she feels obligated to support the marginalized (“m ‘burnt at the stake, thought I was a witch’ is perhaps one of the most welcome finds from the iteration). But when the tiring frenzy of this austerity is put aside, we are drawn into little musical gems that take shape in the ballad “Highly Emotional People”, perhaps an ode to the melancholy of friend Lana Del Rey, perhaps just a fancy way of saying what to need.
MARINA performs movements of contraction and expansion without colliding with stereotypical relationships – as is the case with separating the slower songs from the more energetic. On the contrary, she appropriates the primordiality of time, calmly demarcating what she wants before bursting into crescendo or demonstrating her vocal capacities. In “New America”, there is a rescue and reconstruction of trends infused between dance and nu-disco that is even referenced in “Froot”; in “Pandora’s Box” she turns to the melody of the piano and designs a roller coaster of emotions that does not follow a common path, but does not leave out certain clichés (even if everything is very well thought out and with a purpose accurate and practical in its entirety).
In the last three pieces, the artist continues to focus on different elements of the discography. We have the lullaby and soft-rock composition of “I Love You But I Love Me More”, which is immersed in the story of a toxic relationship, which, after countless tribulations, needs to let go ( “You expect me to think you’re changed, when can I say you’re exactly the same?).“ Flowers, ”on the other hand, sounds somewhat similar to the reflective forays of Taylor Swift and Pasek and Paul, without leaving aside the classic iconography of their identity. And, finally, we have the deictic farewell hymn with “Goodbye”, whose return to the early 2000s and the title of the track itself is a clever move to complete this expressive journey.
‘Ancient Dreams in a Modern Land’ didn’t look very promising with the release of the singles – but low expectations were swept under the rug with an extremely cohesive album and one of the best entries in the passionate discography of Marina Diamandis.
Rating per track:
1. Old dreams in a modern country – 3.5 / 5
2. Venus fly trap – 5/5
3. The world of men – 3/5
4. Purge the poison – 4/5
5. Very emotional people – 5/5
6. New America – 4.5 / 5
7. Pandora’s Box – 4/5
8. I love you but I love myself more – 4.5 / 5
9. Flowers – 5/5
10. Goodbye – 4.5 / 5
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