Electra Heart is the girl you run into in the supermarket wearing a faux fur coat and sunglasses, leisurely picking through the avocado. Her cart is filled with champagne and strawberries and she doesn’t even care that you’ve been staring at her from the bakery aisle. She’s angsty, and you can tell that her phone conversation didn’t end well by the way she dramatically dropped her phone and wiped a solitary tear from her cheek. The same cheek that has a eyeliner-drawn heart on it.
Marina and the Diamonds
For her second album, Marina and the Diamonds diverges from her preachy debut album roots and focuses on bringing to life the self-obsessed Electra Heart, the namesake for the album. The opposite of Marina, Electra is not an alter-ego, but rather the embodiment of everything Marina has strived not to be.
In an interview with “Popjustice”, Marina explained that the concept for this album started as an homage to the American Dream and followed the story of Electra, a fictional character that’s pursuing the corrupt version of happiness.
“I just love the side of (the American Dream) that’s really vapid and hollow,” she said. “And that’s kind of what I’ve really explored. The whole album is around that.”
And at its core, that’s what Electra Heart really is — an album full of vapid and shallow tracks accompanied by dance beats and electronic interludes. With song titles like “Homewrecker” and “Radioactive,” the album promised to be provocative, but instead Marina delivered such pearls of wisdom as “Lying on a fake beach/You’ll never get a tan.”
Despite collaborating with big names like Dr. Luke and Stargate, Electra Heart doesn’t carve a large enough niche for its sound.
The first track, “Bubblegum Bitch,” sets the tone of the album with a rousing chorus of “I’m miss sugar pink liquor, liquor lips/I’m gonna be your bubblegum bitch.” The poppy, upbeat tempo coincides with the no-fucks-given attitude of Electra Heart.
Electra takes no prisoners in her love escapades, but she reiterates this point again and again in her songs. Similar to “Bubblegum Bitch,” “Power and Control” looks at a relationship doomed from the start due to Electra’s romantic prowess and her need for destruction. Backed by a synthesized beat, Marina croons “Think you’re funny/Think you’re smart/Yeah you might be good-looking, /But you’re not a piece of art.”
Each track focuses on being a bad-ass woman, but rather than embracing it, Marina manages to make it seem ugly and contorted.
The album does have its moments, though, and one of them is “Teen Idle.” Produced by Liam Howe who collaborated with Marina on her first album, this song stands out lyrically and musically, allowing listeners to fully embrace the chaos of Electra Heart’s world. Similarly, “Starring Role” shows the more vulnerable side of the album and accentuates Marina’s impressive vocals: something sorely lacking in this album. With lyrics like “Sometimes I ignore you, so I feel in control/Cause really, I adore you, and I can’t leave you alone,” the song is refreshingly honest and relatable.
If Electra Heart focused more on the softer moments and less on trying to tell the story of a corrupt glamour girl, the album would be vaguely awesome. But, unfortunately, Electra Heart doesn’t really leave room to want more.