Marina & the Diamonds: The Family Jewels

Marina & the Diamonds: The Family Jewels
Welsh singer-songerwriter Marina and the Diamonds, after a series of EPs, finally releases her debut full length, The Family Jewels. The album was released in February in Europe and has already gone gold in the UK. Based on the power of the album’s myriad of singles “Mowgli’s Road”, “Hollywood”, “I Am Not a Robot”, and “Oh No!”, Marina hopes to make an equally big splash in the states.
Marina & the Diamonds seems to have what it takes to be a superstar. The album’s first single “Mowgli’s Road” was described by the Guardian’s Stuart Heritage as “Gary Glitter, but if he kept pictures of The Wicker Man and some nice cutlery on his hard drive instead of that other stuff”. I can see the glam rock connection but the track has a little more electro-pop influence; it reminds me of the Sounds.
The album’s biggest single thus far has been “Hollywood”. The track reached number 12 on the UK charts and number 21 in Ireland. I can understand why the track is a hit. It reminds me a lot of Lady Gaga. The track is a story book type of song about a young Polish girl who comes to the United States to achieve fame. Although Marina is Welsh and Greek, the track is obviously a little autobiographical. On the track, Marina sings “he said ‘Oh my god, you look just like Shakira/No no, you’re Catherine Zeta’/Actually, my name’s Marina”. The track is the type of indictment of American society similar to Gaga’s “Paparazzi”.
The album’s major weakness is sometimes it gets too cheeky. Song titles like “Shampain” and “Hermit the Frog” give the hint to the listener that the album could be lame, but the lyrics on “Seventeen” are too stereotypically melodramatic for my taste. On the track, Marina sings “No I’m not your little slave/No I don’t twist and turn that way/Only got bad things to say”. While the song was released as a single, I still think it might be one of the weakest tracks on the album. The track was not even included on the standard edition, it is only on the US and Japanese editions.
Overall, I think Marina has what it takes to be a star. She is enigmatic and an attention grabber, but I think she could use a little polish. Some of her songs come off as too teenage; while I know this might be an attempt at commercial success, it will surely not help her critically. The result, The Family Jewels is just slightly above mediocre.
Rating: 7.2/10
MP3: Marina & the Diamonds “Hollywood”
Buy: iTunes

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