Album Review: Marina and the Diamonds shift toward alt-pop in third album

Welsh-Greek singer-songwriter Marina Diamandis—professionally known as Marina and the Diamonds—pushed herself into pop star cult status with her 2012 sophomore release Electra Heart—a synth-pop concept album based on American archetypes. Her third record, FROOT, has a much different style.

This is not the first time Diamandis has shifted her sound and style. Her 2010 debut album The Family Jewels incorporated indie-pop, new wave and experimental sounds as opposed to the poppy, Katy Perry-esque grandeur of Electra Heart.

FROOT has 12-tracks and is an alternative-pop album. Compared to Diamandis’ previous releases, this album evokes a sense of progression, maturity and acceptance to the listener.

The album begins with the solemn, introspective “Happy,” which is backed by a soft piano melody that highlights Diamandis’ vocals. The track is about being optimistic and finding happiness in life. The song’s message vastly differs from “Are You Satisfied?”—the opening track of her debut album. “Are You Satisfied?” speaks of being unhappy and unsettled in life whereas “Happy” conveys a newfound sense optimism, as her internal struggles have been resolved.

Highlights of the album such as “FROOT,” “I’m A Ruin” and “Forget” touch upon different subjects that are frequently exhausted—concepts like being a lover, being loved and letting go of the past. All of these songs, however, are uniquely executed in a radical and thought-provoking way.

The album does not fall flat—each track has a new story to tell. There are no contrived, repetitive lyrics or overused production techniques. The album is dually unique—it’s melodically quirky and packed with unconventional, unabashed lyrics.

Tracks like “Can’t Pin Me Down,” “Gold” and “Better Than That” address topics such as feminism, gender roles, self-reliance and personal vendettas. Listeners can also find caveats of light, bubbly pop in songs like “Blue” and “Weeds.”

Things get darker in the latter half of the album. The closing songs “Savages” and “Immortal” add an existential twist. Opening up with the lyrics, “Murder lives forever/And so does war,” “Savages” explores human behavior and free will, touching upon events such as the Boston Marathon bombing.

“Immortal” is the last track of the album and continues to express the motifs of existentialism and behaviorism that “Savages” touches upon. The track is complimented with a dreamy, nostalgic sound and is one of the longest songs on the album. The song’s message is specifically about human purpose and mortality. Diamandis singing, “Everybody dies, dies/If I could buy forever at a price/I would buy it twice” cleverly exemplifies the irony of the track’s title. It delicately ends with a melodic repetition of the lyrics, “So keep me alive.”

All in all, FROOT is profound compared to most contemporary pop albums. It proves to be refreshing for those seeking insightful, meaningful music with a sweet—and at times grim—pop sound. The album’s analytical themes and reflective scope attributes to its coherence and consistency. The result is triumphant.