Marina and the Diamonds offer new twists on ‘Froot’

By Troy Kowalchuk

(Dave Lichterman/Avid Photos)
(Dave Lichterman/Avid Photos)

Marina and the Diamonds’ season has come with the release of her third studio album, “Froot.” Each of Marina and the Diamonds’ – the stage name of Marina Diamandis – albums creates a unique character and sound.

The determined, ambitious and blunt character Diamandis created on her 2010 debut, “The Family Jewels,” is different from the powerful, relentless and unapologetic persona of her 2012 album, “Electra Heart.”

Each of these characters creates a new era, and new challenges, for Diamandis. Now on her third album, Diamandis has created another new character. This one is a more vulnerable, accepting and almost guilt-filled character. On “Froot,” released March 16, Diamandis creates new sounds, yet maintains a hold on the vocals and musicality of her past.

Coming off of the heavy, electronic and powerful “Electra Heart,” “Froot” moves in a new, more experimental and stripped down direction. The album opens with “Happy,” a calm, stripped-down piano track that resembles the sound of “The Family Jewels.” From the tropical plucking of guitar strings in “Gold,” to the bright and spacey synthesizers of “Solitaire,” “Froot” resembles the controlled chaos of a 1980s arcade game.

Behind this playful feel though, lies Diamandis’ gloomy lyrics. The album opens with “Happy,” and throughout the album, continues with the idea of hiding dark lyrical undertones behind bright sounds, with Diamandis constantly facing the trials of depression. Though she appears to be fulfilled, having resolved the conflicts mentioned “The Family Jewels” and “Electra Heart,” songs like “Happy” show that everything isn’t perfect in Diamandis’ world.

Diamandis is still fighting depression because of the lonely life she constantly describes. She seems to feel empty, leaving her to spend the album focusing on looking for a partner.

On the title track, Diamandis’ new character lets everyone know that she is ripe and ready to find someone to share herself with. However, as simple and whimsical as she makes it the process sound, Diamandis begins to reveal all of the failures and issues that keep her from finding someone. “I’m a Ruin” and “Weeds” show how her relationships seem to naturally fail. Whether it is because of her inability to love and her inability to fulfill her partner’s desires in “I’m A Ruin” or when Diamandis’ past relationships and histories get in the way, as in the song “Weeds,” relationships seem to be a constant struggle for Diamandis.

Love isn’t the only topic on “Froot,” and as the album wears on, Diamandis increasingly strays from it. “Better Than That” is a bitter, angry track directed toward an artist who Diamandis feels slept her way to the top. “Savages” is a criticism of human nature in general, and the evil and corruption inside of it.

Diamandis muses that humans act as though they are evolved, yet war, death, greed and rape are incredibly prevalent. Diamandis argues that these topics have become so common in the world that humans have become desensitized to them. This track also criticizes the media, much like “Sex Yeah” off “Electra Heart” did before.

“Forget,” a song riddled with self-doubt, stands in deep contrast to the ambitious character of “The Family Jewels.” Despite its bright guitar riffs and upbeat tempo, “Forget” is a place where Diamandis is at her most vulnerable. On the track, she discusses her constant self-criticism yet now she has moved on and is willing to “Forget” her past.

Marina and the Diamonds has successfully created a new character with “Froot.” This new character is someone who has taken the lessons from her past, and accepted who they are as a person. While the album may have the feel of an arcade, “Froot” is arguably her most mature album to date.

The amusing, carefree nature Diamandis often tries to present is constantly haunted by the dark undertones that are also presented to the listener. She seems to become more vulnerable with each album, in new and creative ways. Self-affirming and simultaneously self-critical, Marina doesn’t hold back in targeting herself and those around her. “Froot” shows another layer of Diamandis’, bringing us all the more close to this unique artist.

Troy Kowalchuk can be reached at [email protected].[liveblog]