8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
She's A Rainbow,
This review is from: The Family Jewels (Audio CD)
This was an occasion where I heard a song playing in an HMV store and just had to ask one of the staff who it was. The song in question was "Hollywood" which I fell in love with straight away. I thought it was a male vocal, can you believe that? I thought the song sounded a little bit like something Keane might have written and I thought it was a similar high-pitched male vocalist aspiring to follow in their footsteps, but the sales assistant brought me the CD album and there was pretty, very feminine Marina on the cover. I bought the CD then and there.
I think this is a very good pop album, hence the five stars. There are enough excellent songs to merit five stars in my opinion although (as is pretty much always the case) some seem to work better than others. I recently listened to 'Lungs' by Florence & The Machine and I rate Marina's work much higher. I really like Marina's voice. Florence has that annoying 'warble' that so many popular female vocalists seem to affect. Why?
1. Are You Satisfied: Yes, I am thank you. A perfectly crafted pop tune very similar to the feel of 'Hollywood' and a well chosen album opener. Nice touch of strings here and there.
2. Shampain: Interesting title. I think it's a play on 'champagne'. I love the quasi-Prodigy electronic bass with a big Eighties drum beat. A very Eighties feel to the whole song actually. Maria Vidal could have sung this after 'Body Rock.' It would have been a Bananarama classic too...and I mean that in a positive way. This song throws a lot at you: great tunes, great sounds, interesting lyrics. Let's hope that it hasn't exhausted all of the album's ideas.
3. I Am Not A Robot: After the fun first two songs we slow down a little here. The strings return in a more dominant role. A pleasant tune, a pleasant sentiment...what more is there to say? There is a warmth to this song. Don't you think it might have been better if she had kept the song cold and clinical-sounding, more like a 'robot' instead? There would have been a certain irony to it then.
4. Girls: A fully-fledged pop song, all boxes ticked, even a 'Na na na' chorus but wrapped around a little core of spite. Great...although you have a go at 'Girls Aloud' and end up sounding like 'Girls Aloud'...huh?
5. Mowgli's Road: I'm not keen. I don't feel comfortable with the beat to this song. Is she using an uncommon 'time-phrasing' or something? I should really study the technical vocabulary of musical construction. Too many 'cuckoos' anyway.
6. Obsessions: Almost a ballad but then speeds up a little. I suppose you could dance slowly to this but you might feel a bit confused and wonder if you should just sway. Marina's voice comes dangerously close to picking up the aforementioned 'warble.' Why?
7. Hollywood: I just love this. I know that's a poor statement for a review. But just listen to it will you please?
8. The Outsider: A catchy chorus but you might call this song 'derivative-sounding?' It sounds like it could be the product of a number of pop artists so Marina has a bit of a swear to liven it all up. There's a nice little bit of piano in the last third of the song which reminded me a tiny bit of a P.J Harvey song (maybe from her 'Is This Desire?' album).
9. Hermit The Frog: This song is really good fun with a lot of sonic ideas all muddled up rather gracefully together and something lyrically about a 'glass balloon,' which sounds a bit dangerous...which might well be the point.
10. Oh No: The Eighties vibe is back...and it's no bad thing. I think it's the piano that does it. This has the same poppy vibe of tracks 1, 2, 4 and 7 and would do justice as a single.
11. Rootless: A mournful sounding, slower song. Bells crash in the background so you know its mournful. She's rootless. Something brassy-sounding tries to make a noise on this song but doesn't quite make it.
12. Numb: I keep forgetting this song. Then I listen to it again and wonder how did I forget it? A lovely melody and sounding far less doom-laden and over-produced than 'Rootless' before it, although retaining that song's dark melancholy. Actually, Marina probably didn't really need 'Rootless' on this album at all.
13. Guilty: There's a menace and an anxiety to this final song. Marina doesn't finish on an uplifting note. I'm also left feeling very uneasy about what happened to the dog.
So a bright, cheerful-sounding album comes to a close with three darker, more introspective songs. Marina can certainly sail the emotional spectrum but she utilises a wide palette of sounds as well as moods and perhaps this is why in my head I picture this album as something like a rainbow.
Diamonds sparkle with many colours don't they?
Apparently the 'Diamonds' refer to Marina's fans. If so, then I'm a diamond too.