Top positive review
A fantastic pop album
12 April 2014
A bit of background to this album to begin with. 'Electra Heart' is a persona created by Marina (and described as the antithesis to everything Marina stands for) used to tell a story of self-corruption. As a result, this album feels darker than 'The Family Jewels' (Marina's first album).
We begin with "Bubblegum Bitch": an in-your-face, self-centered song that serves as a brilliant opener to the album and gives a clear insight into the character of Electra Heart. Next up is "Primadonna", an instant classic that hits the heights of "Hollywood" from the first album. A 'celebration' of materialism, hedonism and the absolute desire to be famous. "Lies" feels like it probably should have been a single, it's that good. A sad reflection on a past partner who seemed to lack the courage to tell the truth or say how he really felt. "Homewrecker" follows and is a very catchy track where Electra Heart boasts about her ability to "break hearts for fun".
As we approach the middle section of the album, "Starring Role" and "The State of Dreaming" are probably the least catchy songs, but are fascinating insights into the eponymous character. The pace picks up again slightly with "Power & Control", a memorable song about the constant power struggle in a relationship, however the tone only dips from this point.
"Teen Idle" reflects mournfully on the wasted years of youth, obsessing over popularity. "Valley of the Dolls" appears to be about the book of the same name which I must confess I haven't read, but the dark tone is once again palpable. "Hypocrates" is another of Marina's clever portmanteaux combining the word 'hypocrite' and the ancient Greek physician 'Hippocrates'. Here, Electra Heart seems to be realising that she has failed to achieve the "American Dream" and attacks the hypocrisy of showbusiness. In my view, the best song of the album is saved for last. "Fear and Loathing" is a deeply moving song about anxiety and depression, aided by Marina's breathtaking vocals.
By the end, you realise this is a rather brutal album as you witness the rise and fall of Electra Heart. Marina may have only released two albums to date but it's difficult to see how this won't always be considered her magnum opus. A truly brilliant display of songwriting, production and vocals. One of the best pop/alternative pop albums I've ever had the privilege to listen to.