Marina & the diamonds
February 5, 2010 § Leave a comment
Any time an exciting new artist emerges, critics rush to attach labels and make comparisons. While this can be useful in directing you towards the music you may be most interested in, it can also scare the hell out of you (at least this is the case with me). The first time I heard the name Marina & the diamonds mentioned, it was followed by comparisons to Kate Bush. “Oh yeah, she’s the new Kate Bush”…what?! I hoped the majority of people drawing these comparisons were not actually Kate Bush fans, and didn’t realise that her name is not one to be thrown around frivolously. They used the name to signify a female singer-songwriter who stands out from the rest, slightly eccentric, or perhaps someone they didn’t understand very well (the vast majority of people I know are unfamiliar with Bush’s work save for ‘Wuthering Heights’, and my sister who is just 2 years younger than me, has no clue who she is). However, even allowing for this, I was terrified by the comparison, believing it could only lead to disappointment.
Add to this the fact that Marina’s name started appearing in countless lists. Oh, the lists. ‘Ones to Watch in 2010’, ‘Big Names For the New Decade’, etc etc. And then the BBC named her as runner up in their ‘Sound of 2010’ poll, losing out to Ellie Goulding. This served to ward me off even further, knowing from experience that I don’t tend to be too fond of those named in these polls (see Mika, Little Boots, The Feeling, The Twang, The Ting Tings..).
Fast-forward a few months, and I’m nothing if a little obsessed with Marina & the diamonds. I’m not even entirely sure how it happened, I think the blame can be placed on my intense F.O.M.O. (that’s Fear Of Missing Out for those of you lucky enough not to suffer). Or perhaps I feel drawn in by the name (Marina was my name during a holiday when 3 friends and I decided to adopt alternative personas (I have no clue why we did this or why I was named Marina!), and diamond is my birthstone – plus they sparkle like no-one’s business). Reasons aside, I’m glad I overlooked the hype and my fear of disappointment, and let my ears be the judge instead. I probably should have done this in the first place, seeing as I am an advocate of the ‘make your own mind up’ school of thought but..I got there in the end.
Having said all of this, I am never truly passionate about an artist until I’ve seen them live (mainly so I have proof of the quality of the artist, and don’t find myself four months down the line denying that I ever liked Ke$ha to begin with..sshhh). After preparing to sell my soul for a ticket to see Marina when she comes to Manchester on the 21st of this month, a small act of internet magic brought one to me. So, I get to find out if the hype is unsubstantiated, or if she really is worthy of the Kate Bush comparisons. JOKE. No-one gets compared to Kate Bush. So until I can say that Marina is a talented artist with enchanting songs, an incredible voice and a wonderfully endearing personality (being a huge fan of Brandi Carlile, Tegan and Sara, and P!nk raises your expectations somewhat), I’ll just leave you with some songs…even if she turns out to be a spoon these are wonderful.
Hollywood is Marina’s first single, and is currently floating just outside the top 10 in the mid-weeks. It’s a great pop song, and highly entertaining, but this remix by Fenech Soler is sort of incredible:
It is also worth mentioning that she (Marina Diamandis) is Marina, WE (the fans) are the diamonds.
[Gig and album reviews to follow – the album, The Family Jewels is set to be released February 22nd]