Single Review: Marina and the Diamonds – Radioactive

Photo: 4music

Few things are known about Marina and the Diamonds’ second album- a few potential tracks and a leak or two have been plagued with the ‘will it be on the album?’ and ‘will the new stuff sound like this?’ interrogatives. So it was a surprise when two weeks ago, a brand-spanking-new track appeared on the web (reviewed here by yours truly) with the exciting announcement that a second, Radioactive, was to come a week later. A weeks delay only furthered the anticipation and the promise of a ‘banger’ left many begging for Marina to unleash it.

The track which found it’s Youtube premiere today ahead of an October release, is inspired by the liberating feeling conjured within Marina by New York. Initially, it conveys the light hearted nature of pop – a good beat topped with catchy vocal lines but listen again and you’ll discover that ‘Radioactive’ is much more than a generic pop track. A few more plays awaken the feeling that not many other pop stars could pull off a track like this; to put it simply, Radioactive has a lot more depth than is apparent at first.

Is it as evocative as ‘Fear and Loathing’? No. Is it as eccentric as anything from ‘The Family Jewels’? Again, no. But what it does do is fulfill the promise Marina made with the ‘Electra Heart’ concept, taking a closer look at the American culture and the sound she adopts has an undeniably American twang to it.

Alike her past work, the most interesting part of Marina’s music is the themes and ideas she explores. Like short, snappy bursts of audio essays, Diamandis’ intelligence can’t be denied and this track (as well as the album it looks towards) appears to be set to continue the acclaimed, thought-provoking pop she has been peddling thus far.

The foundations of Marina’s music sits in her beautifully crafted lyrics. As the title suggests, ‘Radioactive’ is bursting with metaphors as it documents the faux-fulfillment of living for the evening; ‘in the night your heart is full and by the morning empty’ and the ‘meltdown’ that comes hand in hand with love. Topped with euphoric synths and an addictive beat, the juxtaposition of the lyrics and music draws similarity to Robyn’s dancing-with-a-broken-heart tendencies.

It’s quite interesting then, that Marinas most complex and intellectual work so far should take the shape of her most accessible sound. It is a chart bothering dance-pop fusion with a heavy helping of electro but this new(ish) genre compliments Marina’s vocals perfectly. Aware as ever, Diamandis has already claimed that this sound will be quite a divider amongst her fan base. If you loved the themes and the ideas put forward in Marina and the Diamonds’ music then you will be equally as fixated with the new era, but don’t expect a reworking of ‘The Family Jewels’, as the Electra Heart complex has brought out a new side of Marina and it might well be the making of her.

Photo: 4Music
Words: Simon McMurdo


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