WORTH A LOOK?: ****
TRACKLIST: Handmade Heaven; Superstar; Orange Trees; Baby; Enjoy Your Life; True; To Be Human; End Of The Earth; Believe In Love; Life Is Strange; You; Karma; Emotional Machine; Too Afraid; No More Suckers; Soft To Be Strong
Earlier this year we were at a Q&A with Marina in London about her 4th album, the 1st since 2015’s Froot.
- Read on for reasons including why To Be Human is the key track here
She explained then that the new album’s title is inspired by psychologist Elisabeth Kübler-Ross‘ theory that humans are only capable of experiencing the nominal two emotions. All others are derived from love and fear.
We last saw Marina live at the London Palladium in 2015 when she was still ‘and The Diamonds’ and we said then that: ‘We can’t help but think of what a young Kate Bush she is, with the second Electra Heart set proving she can also pen a power pop Katy Perry-type hook if pushed.’
There’s nothing on Love + Fear to trouble the pop perfection she’s already penned including How To Be A Heartbreaker, Starring Role and Shampain but this album feels like it has enough confidence in its own skin to not too try hard to go quite there.
Froot was an attempt to write alone while here she has embraced collaborators including Clean Bandit who feature on debut single Baby, a song that simultaneously manages to sound like both artists but wasn’t quite as large a hit as the Bandit has enjoyed with others.
Follow-up Handmade Heaven is 1 of 2 songs here (the other is the touching To Be Human, listen above) that Marina wrote (and agonised over) alone. Elsewhere she has collaborated with other writers and these songs benefit from this lack of obsession.
But To Be Human is probably the song to most cherish here. The 1 that, if you only hear 1 Marina song, would tell you all all you need to know about why you should seek out more from her. ‘All the things that I’ve done and I’ve seen, still I don’t know what it means to be human.’
There’s a resilience throughout Marina’s work which brings us back to the bullied son sitting immediately behind our reporter in the Q&A. Says Marina: ‘Before being signed I was so strong. If I got knocked back down, I didn’t care. I thought if that didn’t work, I will try another route.’
Marina’s touring until October and we’ll do our utmost to see her before this album isn’t quite so fresh in our memory but would love for her to play another London gig soon.