Jennifer Endom Photoshoot 2012
Jennifer Endom Photoshoot 2012
transparent marina and the diamonds autograph
February 14, 2014
Walking down the street in stride with my best friend, it never occurred to me that I might get the chance of a lifetime in meeting the solo-artist we had planned to see perform later that evening; Ms. Marina Lambrini Diamandis of Marina and the Diamonds. As luck would have it, we caught her walking out of the Noodle Company, lingering on the sidewalk behind a gaggle of frantic teenagers. We watched with sympathy as they eagerly awaited a signature, and if given the chance, a photograph. Marina not only embraced her fans, but her eyes smiled into the camera; she was the real deal. The “Diamonds” portion of her stage name is not in recognition of her back-up band, but out of devotion to her loyal fans, and her sincerity on the street more than proved this. As the girls left and Marina began to approach us, I held in my hand a sharpie and a one dollar bill to which she happily signed after posing for a picture. Getting the chance to meet Marina Diamandis changed my life, and not because she is iconic in her own way, but because when I witness her career progress, my heart aches with aspiration. As for this analysis, there is much debate on what her new album Electra Heart is all about, and I am going to dispel this mystery through her various interviews and reveal the message behind her work.
Also known as Marina and the Diamonds, this Welsh singer has only really become popular within the last six years, and the debut of her album, Electra Heart, was barely three years ago. Electra Heart was “born” August 8th 2011, after Marina uploaded a music video entitled, “Part One: Fear and Loathing.” Music video uploads continued to release to the public, all the way up until August 8th 2013 when the last video, “Part Eleven: Electra Heart,” was finalized in which Electra Heart dies with a smear of the heart on her cheek. At this point it’s fair to ask, “Who is Electra Heart anyways?” During a BBC interview of the album, Marina explains, “It’s based around a fictional character called Electra Heart, and it’s her love-life, which is basically my love-life,” she laughs, “but I like the idea of being able to create a character to write songs in a much more frank way than I would in first person…Half of the album is really kind of sassy and snarky, and the other is quite dark. It’s the two sides of love.” (Diamandis, 2013). More often than not, the side of love she exposes most often is rejection, especially in tracks like Lies, Fear and Loathing, Starring Role, and Teen Idle.
Rejection is a fifty-fifty chance we strive to ignore in life and relationships. Out of the four songs emphasizing the void that reduces to her life to cocky bitterness, “Lies” is second to “Fear and Loathing” if one factors the obscurity of rejection. At first,the acoustic version consumes the listener with a strike to the heart first cast by piano keys and then hard devastation through Marina’s heavy tone. “You’re never gonna love me, so what’s the use? What’s the point in playin’ a game you’re gonna lose?” This is only the introductory lyrics to “Lies”, and they already make you want to smack that old lover who last wronged you right in the face. Although, the power of this song is found with her heart and soul in the refrain, “Lies, don’t wanna know, don’t wanna know, oh. /I can’t let you go, can’t let you go, oh. /I just want it to be perfect, to believe it’s all been worth the fight. /Lies, don’t wanna know, don’t wanna know, oh.”
There’s just so much soul in her tone; it’s somber, haunting, and beautiful, just as a wolf howl might be, and getting to witness this performed maybe ten feet from where I stood, transcended me past the heavens and into the spectrum of the Electra Universe. In an interview, she claims this track was personal through and through, “I wrote half of it in the home of Bruce Springsteen. I was on tour and I was about to do a gig at a place called The Stone Pony, in New Jersey. It’s obviously about a boy who was a bit of a coward. I didn’t really have a lot of respect, and I was very angry about what happened between us, so I wrote ‘Lies.’” (Diamandis, 2012). Witnessing her Lonely Hearts Club Tour blew me away with the production alone; the 1960’s props along with the ever-changing pastel neon ether made you feel like you were in a pop version of an old diner housed in a hotel of the same era. However it was her live vocals that made it possible for me to stand for four hours straight without blinking. She’s been described as indie pop, synthpop, and new wave, but her acoustics were just as dazzling, if not my favorite. Nearly all the esthetics she included in her videos could be found in her on-stage performance, which is a rare site.
Alright, so Electra Heart is fictional, but what’s with all the 60’s themed music videos and stuff? “A lot of the imagery in this album is taken from “Valley of the Dolls.” I watched that, I think it was about nine months ago, and I just loved it.” (Diamandis, 2012). Valley of the Dolls, written by Jaqueline Sussan, focuses on three young women as fame, alcohol, pills and men consume their lives. If that doesn’t give some insight to this album, then nothing will. In another conference she explains, “A lot of the visual side of things is based on female archetypes. So you have the suburban housewife, you have the suburban youth; you have the home-wrecker, pinups, stars, and beauty queens. I am a bit of all of them, I suppose that’s why I’ve picked those specific archetypes because they resonate with me.” (Diamandis, 2012). Archetypes are models of people, behaviors or personalities, and those that are emphasized in Electra Heart are Housewife, Beauty Queen, Homewrecker and Idle Teen, all of whom are lyrically featured more than once.
Beginning with the archetype Beauty Queen, the first track of the album is entitled Bubblegum Bitch, proclaimed by Marina as her favorite on Electra Heart as a fun, sassy song. “Got a figure like a pinup, got a figure like a doll. Don’t care if you think I’m dumb, I don’t care at all. Candy bear, sweetie pie, wanna be adored. I’m the girl you’d die for.” Obviously here, we see the persona of the confident, albeit drop-dead gorgeous girl, who might be just a little full-of-herself, but this is just one of the themes that solidify Marina’s fictional character Electra Heart.
Another track similarly portraying this archetype, and her first single on the album, is entitled Primadonna, which was written in regards to being number one. “I know I’ve got a big ego, I really don’t know why it’s such a big deal though.” Most of us can say we’ve met a Primadonna or two, but this song reveals the gravitational pull of the world, that she feels, spins around her. The archetypes are a way for Marina to build a life around a character that is not her own, but in fact personalities we’ve all fiddled with once in our lives, “This [album] is a much more potent, representation of who I am as a person and as an artist, and that’s been drawn out by the people who I collaborated with… I actually quite like being transparent about things, it makes me more comfortable when I am, and in a way I’m playing with the whole pretense of the pop-persona.” (Diamandis, Gigwise Interview: Marina and the Diamonds, 2012). I really liked how BBC critiqued this album as they commented on the tracks, “She’s created a sort of semi-concept album about female identity, focusing on various character types (Bubblegum Bitch, Homewrecker, Teen Idle etc,) and disseminating their traits over throbbing electropop and plaintive piano,” (Cragg, 2012). The songs on this album are blunt descriptions of the people we very well could be, or fantasize ourselves as being before slipping back into reality. Well, most of us, but that’s why this album is so addictive; you love to hate the antagonist, Electra Heart, who is very much the protagonist.
It’s important to remember that Marina is not praising Electra Heart, the Queen of No Identity, or the archetypes as an appropriate form of a healthy behavior. She very clearly states in this interview what the fictional character means to her, “Electra Heart is the antithesis of everything that I stand for. And the point of introducing her and building a whole concept around her is that she stands for the corrupt side of American ideology, and basically that’s the corruption of yourself. My worst fear—that’s anyone’s worst fear—is losing myself and becoming a vacuous person. And that happens a lot when you’re very ambitious (Diamandis, 2012). All the archetypes are in some way or another, corrupted, and confidence in and of itself, is one of those concepts people fake until it’s real. Electra Heart proves that in experimenting with who you could be, it’s possible to get caught in your own lie and lose sight of what’s real.
When asked about how Marina defines success in contrast with her last album, she explains, “I feel so much more satisfied creatively now. I feel like I’ve really contributed something to the music world and I’ve stamped my identity onto it, so it’s not so success driven anymore, but I think I equate success with being accepted, not really about being number one or famous, it’s just, you know, everyone likes to be liked.” (Diamandis, Gigwise Interview: Marina and the Diamonds, 2012). Marina indeed achieved success with Electra Heart. The album is such a parody of Hollywood in that film builds up youth and love as one adventure after another, and Electra Heart exposes the truth in which most of us have more regret about these concepts than we’d like to admit. What makes Electra Heart tick is not simply the rhythm that has the power to get people on the dance floor, but how often her lyrics contain philosophical, cynical, and raw emotional expressions of love, but most importantly, her songs make us question who the hell we are.
Diamandis, M. (2012, April 20). (Warnerbrothers, Interviewer)
Diamandis, M. (2012). Electra Heart Interview. (P. Justice, Interviewer)
Diamandis, M. (2012, March 26). Gigwise Interview: Marina and the Diamonds. (Gigwise, Interviewer)
Diamandis, M. (2012, May 1). MARINA AND THE DIAMONDS “ELECTRA HEART” ALBUM INTERVIEW. (WarnerBrothers, Interviewer)
Diamandis, M. (2013, October 5). (BBC, Interviewer)
Photo of me, taken by me, hartt-on.
Please help promote a poor college artist :3
Hollywood infected your brain
You wanted kissing in the rain