Welcome to Marina’s minimalist dungeon filled with, well, very little more than brooding intent. Oh and some very fetching blinds.
What’s the opposite of ‘every cloud has a silver lining’? If anyone was going to know it’d be Marina Diamandis considering her numerous attempts to break into the mainstream. First there was The Family Jewels and a runner up spot in the BBC Sound of 2010 list, so far so good. 3 top 40 singles and a top 5 album isn’t so bad but not what Marina wanted or probably expected after the whole hype brigade there was. So back to the drawing board a.k.a. blonde wigs, Calvin Harris-esque dance sound (courtesy of Stargate) and the most mainstream, on-trend single by her to date. It got radio backing, video channel plays and… well not much. It’s sad to see an artist with so much potential underperform even when completely pandering to the public’s then-current tastes. Oh well, back to the drawing board (again) – CONCEPT ALBUM TIME! Electra Heart arrived in a wave of curlers, demented 1950′s housewife mentalities and that black heart smudge under her eye.
2012. On the one hand, she’s just hit number one with that ‘difficult second album’ and had her highest charting single ever with Primadonna (girrrrlllll, yeaaah… sorry can’t help breaking into song). Hurrah! Huzzah! Woop and woop again! Crack out the streamers it’s mainstream success time! But wait, don’t break out the complimentary goodie bag just yet because what comes up must come down, every rose has it’s thorn, it’s a double-edged sword and other similarly dodgy expressions.
Number one album? Well yes but with the lowest opening week sales figures for any new number one album this year, last year and possibly the year before. Highest charting single? Well yes but still not into the top 10, stalling at #11 behind Justin Bieber – Boyfriend which Marina covered in the BBC Radio 1 Live Lounge that week. Ouch, irony never cut so deep. So it’s second single time again (well third if you count ‘was-a-single-but-underperformed-so-now-we’ll-just-pass-it-off-as-a-’promotional’-single-and-forget-about-it’ single Radioactive) and Power & Control be the one to further the Electra era.
When your song starts off with some near-Exorcist-tubular-bells-ness how best to match that chilling sense of dread than…. Newton’s Cradle. The physicists gasp in horror, the manafacturers of office knick-knacks wail in pain! Yet the most creepy thing about the opening is the pendulum apparatus is stood on top of a CD player (remember those, good times) that ISNT PLAYING. I don’t know whether I should scream or cry at this point in time but Marina whacking the disc on helps to an extent. Notice too how Marina is probably the only person who turns her radio on via the medium of interpretive dance in the middle of a deserted hall/ballroom plus decides to sit on the floor when she has a perfectly good psychiatrist chair to recline on. The mind boggles – too ‘scene’ to sit on an actual chair perhaps?
Goodness me, it’s very blue in this place. Those blinds must faulty. Not that Marina and complimentary-sports-fan-male-model seem to mind, they’re too busy fornicating by the fireplace. And why the devil shouldn’t they? It’s not as if they’ve got anything better to do, I mean seriously the poor guy has been left with very little options here:
“Hey Marina, thanks for inviting me over.”
“No problem Obscure Male Model. Just go wait in the ballroom a second.”
“Ok, cool.” Pause. ” Umm, Marina? What happened to all the furniture? I thought you said IKEA were delivering it all this morning?”
“Oh don’t mind that Obscure Male Model, I’ve left you a tennis ball, some black paint and a metal pole for extreme chin-ups if you get bored. I’m just going to… err…. reapply my fake heart beauty spot.”
“Well, umm… ok. I guess that works. Do be do be do… throwing the ball… throwing the ball… ok, throwing the paint… hurrgghh! That was heavy! Hmmmm, now what… err Marina? Did I just hear the front door lock? Marina? Hello? Why are you holding that camera?”
“Here’s the deal. You stand around moodily and shine a few lights in my face whilst I film us. If you comply with these demands, I’ll let you live – got it?”
“I WILL SPLASH A BUCKET OF ICE WATER IN YOUR FACE AND GET MY CAT TO JUMP OFF THE FIREPLACE INTO YOUR EYES UNLESS YOU DO AS I SAY – CAPICHE?!?”
I mean if you were to be locked in a sparse Wainhomes showhouse with only the perturbed black cat and a lady who’d rather grind the blinds/fireplace than sit down on a nice reclining chair as company than you’d look a little grumpy too. To wrap things up, why not blow the whole budget with those high cost products: some fancy face wiring (parisian, oui?), a swinging light blub (poltergeist, ooooooooo?) and some roses for the mantlepiece (budding, maaaaan?).
The Youtube comments make me laugh for this video because some fans really try to go in depth with the supposed symbology behind everything to the size of the heart beauty mark on her face to the black splodge of paint on the canvas. This is fine, sometimes I’ve done it in the past too. However, sometimes pop shouldn’t be overanalysed and in some ways the whole conceptual angle of this album campaign, although it makes for interesting lyrics and a stylized look, has been a bit of a drawback because it can come across as try-hard. It’s not just me folks, have a gander at critical reception (which was mixed to say the least) and a high proportion of them picked up on the same issue and those who starred the album higher did so via ignoring the concept at large.
This song – amazing. This music video – aesthetically very pleasing (plus it’s nice to see Marina being quite understated for once). Marina herself – completely amazeballs. I don’t care about the deep psychological messages being conveyed, I just want to enjoy good pop music. So take this as it is – a nice slice of blue-tinted creepy pop pie – and Marina, dear, please let the nice man and confused cat out of your house please? No, not the bucket of ice water. ANYWHERE BUT THE FACE PLEASE! NOOOOOOO!