Marina and the Diamonds - Froot
by Emily Pratten
Froot is the third album from Marina Diamandis, or Marina and the Diamonds, as she’s known in the music industry. After her 2010 debut, The Family Jewels, and then her 2012 album, Electra Heart, which was an era in itself, Marina announced new album late last year along with an extensive promotional plan. There would be a “Froot of the Month” every month, each with accompanying merchandise and single from upcoming album.
The album opens with Happy, which is slow and gentle and basic - a voice and a piano. It encourages you to focus on the lyrical content, which is a gift to hear as a Marina fan since she expresses joy at having found a way to be happy. Despite the overall positive message of the song it does sound very very sad. A solitary bass drum comes in during the second verse to accompany Marina and the piano, which again becomes slightly more textured as we go back into the chorus again. Backing “Ooohs” and “Aaahs” come in and finish the song off quite nicely. To any old listener it may appear quite dull but to anyone who’s a Marina fan it really is a joy just to listen to her voice, and to hear that our darling girl feels “happy”.
Froot is very busy and a little scattered initially, the verses are fairly average but as soon as the chorus drops into “Living la dolce vita” it recovers enormously. It’s a low husky chorus that’s sexy and works well over the casual synth and rhythmic percussion. The verses are sparky and interesting now. I’m A Ruin was an early “Froot of the Month’” released much like the previous two tracks. It is emotionally charged and very sad and quite a difficult listen for the more sensitive of us. It’s so brutally honest and real it’s hard to believe it comes from a highly polished mainstream popstar.
Blue is catchy and very pop-y and I really like it. It’s basic in the sense that it’s just fairly run of the mill instrumental in the background but the vocal and lyrical content carries it and it’s going to be one of those ones that gets stuck in your head. Forget, again, is really good, and without a doubt one of the best tracks on the album. Gold is not a stand out track at all. I’d rather ignore it. It’s not terrible, but given the content we’ve come to expect it’s fairly so-so. It’s not particularly new or exciting and takes no real creative risks.
Can’t Pin Me Down is more exciting and reminds me of Lana Del Rey. The vocal is punchy and seems electronically manipulated in places. It’s sassy and lyrically badass in the sense that she’s fighting not to be pinned down (if you hadn’t guessed from the song title). She even says “motherfucker” in the opening minute, which is always something I support. The melody of this one seems very organic and the bouncing vocal varying in tone is more original than previous tracks.
I love the imagery in Solitaire. It’s all colours and jewels and rare objects, which contributes again to a Lana Del Rey feel about this album. Though not as high tempo, upbeat, or dramatic as Electra Heart, Froot is also very different production-wise to The Family Jewels.
Returning to the songs themselves, I’m truly sold on Savages. It’s a little like Mowgli’s Road from the first album – dramatic, tribal, and organic. “Underneath it all we’re just savages / Hidden behind shirts, ties, and marriages” she asserts. This musical observation about the animal nature of mankind is really cool and well done, with the dramatic tag line “I’m not afraid of God / I am afraid of man” before the chorus drops. It’s upbeat, deep, moody, and angst-y and it’s probably one of the best tracks on the album. It demands to be taken notice of and works well as the penultimate track.
Album closer, Immortal, once again takes a look at the human race and the great tragedy of the human condition that is our own mortality. There’s an excellent juxtaposition here with the basic animalistic imagery in Savages and the claims about mankind as a primal organic thing, and the grandiose bold transcendent hopefulness that is at the core of Immortal. They are at once similar and opposites. This artistic choice is extremely satisfying and almost completely makes up for the mid-album lull. There’s grand imagery about the sea, fire, and time, which Marina compares to her own love. It’s poetic and beautiful.