The album as a whole is more of a soundtrack to a musical than a typical album that we often find on our virtual shelves these days. This anthology of heartbreak and sorrow is a fascinating search through the various emotions people experience due to the nasty and unforgiving nature of others who play a prominent role in their lives. Marina takes up all the characters that would appear in a play and narrates their plight in a heroic way. 'State of Dreaming' conveys this perfectly as she sings "my life is a play", confirming firmly what her motivations are.
The score is utterly spectacular, a dramatic vehicle that twists and turns as Marina dons a mask, a lyrical costume, giving the shadowy characters a voice. Every element of each track is painstakingly spot on, each song a dazzling aural festival in its own right.
‘Bubblegum Bitch’ and ‘Primadonna’ introduces us to Marina’s new, greyer world and to her new persona. We instantly see how she’s challenging stereotypes and preconceived conceptions, and forces us to remember that we shouldn’t judge a book by its cover in a ferocious whir of pop persuasion, which is sugary enough to put us in a diabetic coma. The opener ‘Bubblegum Bitch’ is a hard-hitting track that definitely packs a powerful punch, with its bursting electric energy and teasing, playful yet rather sinister lyrics, it’s a spectacular introduction to the rest of the show.
WATCH // 'Primadonna'
As Marina continues to narrate the plight of the subordinate modern female in society, ‘Lies’ gives us an insight into a deeper aspect of Marina's emotions. It’s a dark ballade, filled with insecurities and haunting worries that echo around your mind in the dead of the night. Lines such as "you only ever touch me in the dark, only when we're drinking you see my spark" conveys the fight between want, expectation and hope you have for someone to turn out someway with the realisation of their true nature. She raises questions such as are we lying to ourselves whilst exploring the power behind deception. The pace slows right down, although the heavy bass and powerful percussion still relentlessly continues on, an aural display of time continuing its decisive journey.
‘Homewrecker’ starts with a nursery rhyme sort of whimsical narrative, adding a layer of innocence to the dark world Marina has created. We’re introduced to another character, an innocent girl caught up in lies, where society point their judgemental finger at the poor girl. The chaotic music increases the drama and emphasises the sarcastic voice of the innocent character. Marina plays with time, stretching out the spoken segments by having thin instrumentation in the background, whilst building up speed with thrashing drums and pummelling bass to accentuate the stigma of 'homewrecker'. The bursting into the chorus with galvanising vocals adds another dimension to the narrative of this story. "I break a million just for fun" repeats over and over again, echoing the accusations forced upon the lost soul.
WATCH // 'Power and Control'
‘Power and Control’ is their latest single, and it’s another spectacular piece of ear candy. Marina takes the character of a suffering girl, under the control of a dominant, pleading that she will take control and shift the balance in the relationship. The purposeful drumming heightens her determination, the constant beat in the background building up the speed and tempo. It’s a truly magnificent piece of social commentary wrapped in inner demons, cloaked in darkness and explodes with torrents of determination.
The story winds towards the next chapter, entitled ‘Teen Idol’, displaying the nightmare aspect of youth, and personify the inner demons that envelop some. She plays with the word ‘idol’, reminiscing about the days gone by, although it’s impossible to revisit the days of white, pure and innocence, she wishes she was ‘idle’, frozen in time before she was corrupted by the “the pretty lies, the ugly truth”. This track displays Marina’s lyrical capabilities brilliantly, with her exploration of duality and conveying the craving for days gone by that is universally felt is fabulously executed. The haunting synths around the echoing vocals is a mystifying, eerie blanket around the quivering tale.
‘Hypocrates’ is a bit more of an uplifting track, we find Marina's strength in this one. It’s another delight of a chapter of the story, adding a bit of a respite to the sea of darkness that was washing over us. The subtle strings in the background envelops Marina’s delicious vocals, and the chorus harnesses hope and we can hear how she completely lets go of her demons and succumbs to a glow of hope.
I’ve not enjoyed an album quite as much as I’ve enjoyed this one for so long. It’s captivating, interesting and modernises the everlasting struggle women suffer throughout the ages. For centuries, the craving for emancipation has been recorded through the arts, from Carol Ann Duffy’s poetry, to Silvia Plath’s fiction, from the Bronte Sister’s literature to the works of Madonna and Lady Gaga. As long as there is courage and craving, want and desire in this world, the suffering woman’s story will forever be told by the people who have the power to do so.
Electra Heart is out now
Tracks you should listen to
- Bubblegum Bitch
- Power and Control
- Teen Idol