It is not often in our age of popular music with such fast turnover that comebacks work amazingly well – just look at the Spice Girls and Take That. A striking exception to this is the new album by the artist formerly known as Marina and the Diamonds, now going only by Marina (Stylised MARINA) with her new album, ‘Love + Fear’.
So far only the first 8 tracks, the ‘Love’ side of the album have been released, and are gradually being dropped over the past few months in an attempt to reflect the ever changing music industry. The second half of the album ‘Fear’ is anticipated to release within the next few weeks. Of the body of work Marina has said her aim is to use the two sides of the album to explore psychologist Elisabeth Kübler-Ross’ theory that humans essentially only experience the emotions of love and fear, and the work is supposed to be as dualistic with Marina alluding to the ‘Fear’ half of the album sound distinct from the released tracks.
After a hiatus of five years since last album, FROOT, fans were hungry for some new music from Marina and she delivered this first with a collaboration with electronic band Clean Bandit and Puerto-Rican singer Luis Fonsi on the summery track ‘Baby’. It was an ideal way to re-introduce audiences to Marina and establish her new sound for this comeback album as the track highlights her vocal abilities while withholding some of the more meaningful lyrics on this first side of the album.
The second song released from the album was the more stripped down track ‘Handmade Heaven’ which delivers on the more cinematic style that Marina became known for while evolving on her prior work. This followed what I would say is the least impactful but still enjoyable track from the album ‘Superstar’ which continues the tone set by the single preceding it but does not really offer anything beyond it.
Then came the true highlight of the album, the single that solidified this new era of Marina’s career as one of her best, rivalling her early work using her retired alter ego ‘Electra Heart’. This single is ‘Orange Trees’, a song that is essentially a love letter to the Greek Island Marina’s family originate from and sounds like summer concentrated into a single track. Orange Trees is without a doubt the defining track of the album, accompanied by a whimsical and visually master crafted video, ‘Orange Trees’ is the perfect song for lazy days in the sun.
The rest of the tracks on the ‘Love’ side of the album are also brilliant, with ‘To Be Human’ a deeper track analysing the complexities of contemporary politics and world history wrapped up in Marina’s signature silky vocals and unique musical style, being a particular highlight. I would say that this body of work makes one hungry to hear more from Marina, which you can do very soon by listening to this album in full when ‘Fear’ is finally released on the 26th of April.