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Electra Heart

4.8 out of 5 stars 185 customer reviews

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Audio CD, July 10, 2012
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Editorial Reviews

Thundering, stellar electronic...magnetic, glacial vocals...whip-smart, womanly, lyrical wit...jokes as good as "The Valley of The Lolls"...

Marina and The Diamonds second album, Electra Heart, is not so much a creative leap forward, more an Olympian pole-vault over the bar of talented-newcomer into the global amphitheatre of a cultivated Classic.

Two years on from her top 5 debut The Family Jewels, the self-styled avant-garde "D.I.Y artist" has detonated her own experimental past and landed feet first in the future with Electra Heart, a stunningly ambitious, seamless, cohesive and confident sonic pulsar spinning between electro-pop euphoria and come-down melancholia. The album is produced by a cache of old school and A-List producers: Dr Luke (Katy Perry) and Liam Howe (Sneaker Pimps) but mostly (9 out of 12 songs) Greg Kurstin (Lily Allen, Kylie) and Rick Nowels (Madonna, Stevie Nicks, Lykke Li). A hook-packed stunner with the sonic ambition of a one-woman Depeche Mode, her onetime theatrical vocals now effortlessly soar between spectral, commanding and towering power-pop, finding her vocal identity in an album about a loss of it.

Electra Heart is a thematic riot, a British Eccentric, 21st Century concept caper where the album title represents a series of female archetypes, not so much an alter-ego as a beautifully-constructed prism, through which Marina projects a series of meticulously-realised female characters as a foil for telling her story, the one about mismatched lovers.

Electra Heart marks the sophomore release from Marina and the Diamonds, aiming to make a big impact in the US as Marina breaks the mold with her Americana-ode to pop music and cultural stereotypes.

Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. Bubblegum Bitch
  2. Primadonna
  3. Lies
  4. Homewrecker
  5. Starring Role
  6. The State Of Dreaming
  7. Power & Control
  8. Living Dead
  9. Teen Idle
  10. Valley Of The Dolls
  11. Hypocrates
  12. Fear and Loathing

Product Details

  • Audio CD (July 10, 2012)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Elektra/Asylum
  • ASIN: B008645YH6
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (185 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #5,749 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
As someone who has rather "alternative" taste in female musicians (Björk, Kate Bush, PJ Harvey, Tori Amos, Fiona Apple, Regina Spektor, etc), when I first heard "The Family Jewels" back in 2010 I was totally obsessed. The quirky welsh girl who wrote and composed her own songs on her cheap keyboard that she bought from Argos totally captured my imagination and became one of my favourite artists. Her music was the perfect combination of "indie" and pop - and it was a relief to actually have an album of fun pop music that actually had some credibility. It was some of the most beautiful pop music I had ever heard.

In 2011 she surprised us all by releasing the very commercially influenced "Radioactive", and I became rather worried about this next album. When "Primadonna" came out I was relieved. Yes, it was sugary bubblegum pop, but Marina's voice sounded amazing and her pretty quirkiness was back and actually sounded really cool surrounded by the commercial but well produced beats courtesy of Dr Luke. I resisted the urge to write a review straight away, as many other reviewers have, as I wanted to live with the album for a while and know how I felt about it.

The album starts with "Bubblegum Bitch", which sounds like a song from the opening credits from a 90's American teen chick film ("Clueless" springs to mind for me). "Lies" and "Starring Role" are both very currently commercial in their sound, but Marina's lyrics and genuine sounding vocal delivery rescue them from being total sell-outs.

"The State Of Dreaming" starts out sounding like its title - dreamy, ethereal and beautiful, and suddenly explodes into a very poppy, sweet but catchy chorus. "Power and Control" and "Living Dead" use powerful 80's sounding beats and epic choruses and work very well.
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Format: Audio CD
There are several reviews that already go on at length as to why this album is so awesome---it's quirky, funny, melodic yet edgy, melancholic yet musically upbeat, Marina has a great voice etc etc etc....All these things are true though. For me though, this album is the perfect example of taking mainstreamish beats (enough so that they are instantly catchy) and layering them with rich, textured lyrics and singing. This album is just fun. It's edgy bubblegum pop at its shiniest and brightest.
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Format: MP3 Music
So this is one of those times when I wish I could grant four and a half stars. On the one hand, there's just no way that this sophomore album is as good as the first. On the other hand, "The Family Jewels" towers majestically above every other pop album of 2010 as far as I'm concerned, so docking "Electra Heart" a full star on that basis alone really wouldn't be fair.

In the end, I had to go with the five stars, because even a Marina who's toned down the quirkiness in pursuit of mass dance-pop appeal makes me extremely happy. Fellow Diamonds will argue that she's being *ironic*, and while I might respond pedantically that she's also trying to have her cake and eat it too on that front: the fact remains that cake is good, and if any pop singer can get away with not having to choose one or the other, that pop singer might just have to be Marina Diamandis.

Potential buyers should note that there are a few different physical and digital releases of "Electra Heart." For the most part, you'll be good to go with the U.S. standard edition, which removes one track ("Living Dead") from the U.K. standard edition but adds three others: "Radioactive" (a promo single which I find extremely disposable, but YMMV), "How to Be a Heartbreaker" (a much stronger single which wasn't ready in time for the U.K. editions), and "Sex Yeah" (the best of three B-sides from the U.K. deluxe edition, with its feminist musings and a playful pinch of Marina's trademark self-deprecation: "Question what the TV tells you / Question what a pop star sells you / Question Mom and question Dad / Question good and question bad"). If you like what you hear, though, I recommend tracking down "Living Dead" on one of those Other Music Services, along with "Lonely Hearts Club" and "Buy the Stars" from the U.K.
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Format: Audio CD
Now, I've been a fan & admirer of Welsh lass Marina since "The Family Jewels" was new in the UK in 2010...I am a hardcore Anglophile mind you...and saw her twice in NYC in 2011...and was told she was bigger in the US than the UK...surprised me, as an online cult is not out in the open...when I met her (charming as heck), she said she was recording this album in LA and was immersed in Americana pop culture, working again with The Bird & The Bee's Greg Kurstin (he produced "Oh No!! on TFJ), and was inking to get back there...our Marina was overflowing with ideas, and based on the results...the utterly beguiling "Electra Heart"...it was totally worth the wait.

This is an S-M-A-R-T pop record of the highest order. Using common pop language to communicate her unique outsider Welsh/UK-bred ideas and reflections (funny and sad and ironic) on Americana and pop culture in ways that anyone will understand. Certain songs grab you immediately with an utterly Katy Perry-type of warble she's grown into...if "Primadonna" doesn't remind you of KP and have you thinking it could be her next hit, your ears are clogged...BUT this is not a bad thing!! I do like Katy Perry, she does know what she's doing and "Teenage Dream" is a well crafted pop album, absolutely, but that album is missing an unpredictable, creative quirky intelligence that Marina delivers 100% of the time like on "Primadonna", an amazing pop song...Marina is a smart observant creative type that uses catchy-as-heck pop forms as social commentary...not many people can pull this off well like our heroine can.

What's even cooler is that certain tracks grab you by the collar instantly with their catchy bubblegum-type of approach like the 1st 3 tracks...
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