Welsh singer Marina Diamandis (stage-name Marina & the Diamonds) has previously been somewhat unsuccessful in cultivating her own identity within the much-crowded pop music scene. Her debut, The Family Jewels (2010), was a rather garish, cock-a-hoop record, and 2012’s Electra Heart suffered from over-collaboration due to Marina’s route-one scramble for a ‘pop’ sound. Thankfully, on her third album, Froot, she’s finally gotten it right.
Leaving the shrill vocals and half-fleshed-out characters behind, Marina has progressed by taking a step back in every sense of the albums’ creation, re-focusing on the things she does best. The lyricism is introverted and tackles more nuanced themes of loneliness, feminism, and self-worth. The production is immaculate, taking on a noticeably ’70s/’80s sound which does a superb job of showcasing Marina’s much-improved and streamlined vocals.
“Blue,” an irresistible 1980s track, describes a vulnerable dependency: “Give me love, give me dreams, give me a good self-esteem,” while the upbeat music tries to veil the sadness hidden within the lyrics. On “Forget,” she sadly admits that, “I have lived my life in debt, I’ve spent my days in deep regret.” During the standout track, “Solitaire,” she compares her career to more successful artists: “All the other jewels around me astounded me at first [….] but I’m not cursed/ I was just covered in dirt.”
Froot showcases Marina’s acceptance of her rather off-kilter place within not just the music industry, but society as well. It’s an incredibly introspective and self-aware record: One that has enabled her to face the fears she’s seemingly avoided on her previous work, and with that, wash off the dirt and progress onward triumphantly. She confidently states on the eponymous track, “Finally I have found a way to be,” and that, “Life couldn’t get much sweeter,” and with the release of Froot, it’s clear that she means it.