Family Jewels, The
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The Family Jewels
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|Audio CD, May 25, 2010||
Vinyl, June 15, 2010
Highlighted by the UK Top 20 hit single, "Hollywood," "THE FAMILY JEWELS" is proving an early contender for 2010's most distinctive debut. Songs like the dramatic "Oh No!" (produced by Greg Kurstin of The Bird And The Bee), "Obsessions" and the boldly ambitious "Mowgli's Road" see Marina gleefully melding the theatrically lavish vocal and orchestral flourishes of Kate Bush with the wonderful pop eccentricity of everyone from Sparks to the Scissor Sisters. "Astonishing," declared NME of "THE FAMILY JEWELS" in its nine-out-of-10 rave. "Raining down on the ears like an explosion of sonic confetti, ("Hollywood") boasts a chorus so killer it should probably be investigated by the police." The Times' Pete Paphides awarded the album four-out-of-five stars, praising it for "parachuting you into the world of a singer who wants your attention but hates compartmentalization." The Telegraph decreed "THE FAMILY JEWELS" an "arch, clever debut," hailing Marina for having "a larger-than-life quality, coming on like a drama queen using her personal neuroses as a prism through which to view the world."
- Is Discontinued By Manufacturer : No
- Product Dimensions : 4.84 x 5.55 x 0.47 inches; 3.32 Ounces
- Manufacturer : Atlantic
- Item model number : 8134026
- Original Release Date : 2010
- Date First Available : April 16, 2010
- Label : Atlantic
- ASIN : B003HARV98
- Number of discs : 1
- Best Sellers Rank: #100,542 in CDs & Vinyl (See Top 100 in CDs & Vinyl)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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Songs like "I am not a Robot" and "Hollywood" illustrate her unique ability to use this vocal ability effectively. However, picking any two songs truly does a disservice to the entire album, which is simply a remarkable listening experience as an album in its entirely.
'Exciting', however, does not always equate to 'great.' Marina's biggest asset is her personality, equal parts Avril Lavigne without the teen angst and Lily Allen without the tongue-in-cheek vibe focused upon sex. Her vocal style is closest to Florence + The Machine, who only recently broke big. Marina's album isn't quite as brilliant as Florence's, but there are certainly some great moments.
The album opens with a question: are you satisfied with an average life? It's a theme that's carried out through the thirteen tracks, paired with hollywood and fame, individuality, pain, and sometimes love. The fact that love is hardly the focus here, a rare occurrence with any record, is interesting enough to warrant the whole album a spin, but the other themes can feel too heavy-handed at times.
Two songs in particular, 'Girls' and 'Hollywood', weigh the album down as Marina emphasizes her point over an entire song. The subject of not being a 'preppy' girl or the dysfunction of hollywood, respectively, could have been restrained to more subtle lyrics amongst an entire song, rather than given three to four minutes of what sometimes feels like ranting. Marina sounds best on 'Oh No!' when she matter-of-factly states 'TV taught me how to feel; now real life has no appeal.'
Otherwise, though, Marina amounts to a tough girl who knows what she wants, unwilling to let her guard down for any prolonged time. When she does in full, as on the opening minute of 'Obsessions', it is all the more rewarding, almost jarring.
The most interesting parts of the album are the ones that dissolve into complete camp. 'Hermit the Frog' is the finest example, with yelping and references to a glass balloon. The best moments, however, are reserved for when the right beat lines up with the most genuine form of Marina. This occurs on 'I Am Not a Robot', which makes fine use a auto-tune for the phrase, the aforementioned 'Obsessions', and paranoid 'The Outsider'.
There isn't a downright bad song on 'The Family Jewels'. That being said, there could have been some fine-turning that would have only improved the record.
The Bottom Line: With a few missteps and lots of personality, 'The Family Jewels' is a worthy listen for those mourning the end of Lily Allen's music career or awaiting a new Florence + The Machine record.
Top reviews from other countries
Had my introduction to Marina been the Family Jewels ,I may well have not gotten into Marina and her band.
That being said, as her first release it shows what Marina and the Diamonds would go on to create. There are a number of classical instruments used, which is intriguing. One that stands out is the harpsichord. What lets this release down is that the classical instruments are so far in the background, that they are not heard.
Marina definitely is talented. She has a descriptive and poetic voice. Then you see synths are used. I have no problem with that as I have been a fan of electronic music going back to the very beginning.
It seems that Marina and her band wish use so many instruments to the detriment of their sound.
Anyway, this is a glorious debut album, full of soaring vocals and very catchy tunes, with "I Am Not A Robot", "Hollywood" and "Mowgli's Road" all shining a bright light in the direction of Marina Diamandis. Boy, can she deliver a note! She delivers some searing, soaring vocals here, not least on "Numb", my favourite of all the tracks. "Robot" is the other favourite and is just so catchy. The vocal is staccato-like and the lyrics sound very doom-laden and cynical, but I just love it.
I wracked my little brain to see what was a better album produced in 2010 and, for me, none bettered this. It is just a wonderful album and, now in 2012, the CD must be knackered and my family fed up with me listening to it and singing along (badly).
Of course, the problem is for Marina to build on the wonderment of this album with the difficult second album but, for now, I'll just celebrate this joy of a record!
With so many new acts hitting the airwaves because of the likes of Youtube promotion and the internet generally, one often feels bombarded and overwhelmed with new tracks and names. So much so that decent music often get's lost in a sea of mediocrity and 'wallpaper music'. Not so with Marina and the Diamonds.
Couple her distinctive voice and addictively different and inventive song writing, with the fact that she happens to be drop-dead gorgeous, and you have someone who hopefully be more than just a flash in the pan.
Family Jewels is the kind of varied and interesting album which can be listened to again and again without becoming tired or boring - it's currently on week two of it's residence as my in-car CD listening. Lasting through a play and a bit in each direction, without the need to listen to the radio, for over a week is a pretty stern test and one that precious few new albums have survived in the last few years.
Well done Marina. I look forward to hearing more of you.
The middle of the album doesn't waver in quality at all. "Girls" is very catchy, "Hollywood" is an instant pop classic, and "The Outsider" is a song many will no doubt find themselves relating to. As the album draws to a close we are treated to another instant pop classic in "Oh No!" before the album takes a melancholic turn and ends on a rather sad note. "Rootless", "Numb", and "Guilty" are mournful and moving. They feel like the most heartfelt, introspective songs on the album.
Marina takes us through a range of moods and emotions as she establishes herself as a future force in the pop world. Treat yourself to an innovative, authentic display of alternative pop and give this a listen.