Electra Heart is a concept album highlighting the vapidity and loneliness of girls preoccupied with devouring the aforementioned qualities, a discussion that would feel much more relevant five years ago.An album like this feels more at home released in the mid-’00s, when Nicole Richie was a DUI wild child, Paris Hilton was idolized instead of ridiculed, and Lindsay Lohan… well, okay, Lindsay is still a mess, but she’s a recurring punchline instead of a legitimate idol.The subject matter of Electra Heart might feel dated, but the music is as modern as it gets. Lead single “Primadonna”, produced by Katy Perry and Ke$ha‘s right-hand man Dr. Luke, is a catchy ode to snobbery, while “How To Be A Heartbreaker” (also produced by Luke, along with Cirkut and Benny Blanco) is a midtempo club tune that might remind you of about five other club tunes. Stargate, Greg Kurstin and Max Martin all make contributions on this disc, which feels more like her label’s attempt to make Marina the next Pop It Girl rather than something Marina wants herself.
Marina And The Diamonds – “Primadonna”
Maybe this isn’t a true album from Marina Diamandis at all. She doesn’t even look like herself anymore — the 26-year-old brunette chopped off her long, dark hair in favor of blond/gray locks, sometimes arranged in Marilyn/Madonna-like curls. Too often she’s winking at us through the shallowness of her alter ego — “Deception and perfection are wonderful traits”, she tries to convince us in “Homewrecker”; “I want blood, guts, and angel cake / I’m gonna puke it anyway,” she tell us in “Teen Idle”, a song that uses a cheerleader chant to describe feeling “super, super, super suicidal!”
The best parts of the album aren’t Marina’s self-conscious moments, when she’s obviously speaking to us through the Electra character. No, it shines when she’s sharing something real. “You only ever touch me in the dark / Only if we’re drinking can you see my spark,” she sadly reveals on “Lies”. “It almost feels like a joke to play out the part when you are not the starring role in someone else’s heart,” she sings on “Starring Role” about being someone’s girl on the side. Whether the singer was ever really in these situations doesn’t matter because the feeling is true.
So maybe this is the album Electra has made. In that case, we look forward to Marina’s next offering.
The Best Song Wasn’t The Single: And “Starring Role” should be one. It’s a good choice after all these uptempo numbers.
Pops Like: I kept getting flashes of Imogen Heap, both her solo work and with Frou Fou.
Best Listened To: While browsing through an Us Weekly.
Full Disclosure: I still think the best thing Marina’s ever done is her Family Jewels single “I Am Not A Robot”, and I was hoping for more of that this time around.
Idolator Rating: 2.5/5
— Becky Bain