Since the beginning of her career, MARINA, formerly known as Marina and the Diamonds, has been wowing the pop world with her unique approach to the genre. With her debut album The Family Jewels, Marina displayed a knack for clever and descriptive lyrics, quirky and fun production, and a point of view unlike her pop contemporaries. Mix it all together, and you’re left with a pop album as unique as it is interesting, helping Marina become one of the most exciting pop upstarts of the time. And if The Family Jewels was the spark, Electra Heart was the fire.
A concept album built around the character of Electra Heart, Marina explored the messy insides of the internet generation, in a playful, dark, and bombastic way. The contrast between the swagger filled, dance floor anthems like “Primadonna”, “Bubblegum Bitch”, and “How to be a Heartbreaker”, with the more somber, melodramatic cuts like “Teen Idle”, “Lies”, and “Starring Role”, is exactly this album’s strength. While the charts have since pivoted away from this sort of dance-pop, Electra Heart still sounds as fresh, clean, and concise as it did back in 2012.
For her third album, 2015’s FROOT, Marina chose to step away from the idea of a concept album, and make something far more personal and reflective of the woman behind the music. It’s still undeniably pop, but with alternative and indie elements as well. Tracks like “I’m a Ruin”, “Blue”, and “Happy” show Marina walking the tightrope between embracing more organic production, without sacrificing her signature pop appeal. The record went on to become her most critically acclaimed yet, as fans and critics alike praised the album’s complex, yet subtle nature.
After taking a brief musical hiatus, Marina announced in 2018 that she would be dropping the diamonds from her name, and would be making music as simply MARINA. While the diamonds were no more, she is still just as shiny as ever. Her latest album, a two part project titled LOVE + FEAR, shows MARINA exploring the duality of these two seemingly opposite emotions. The album is essentially a depiction of the human experience, through the lens of a woman who’s been through it all. Introspective and timeless, MARINA has found a way to wrap an existential crisis in a fun and bubbly package.
After nearly 4 years since her last show in Portland, and her first since dropping the diamonds, the city was clearly excited to welcome MARINA for the “Love + Fear Tour”. The timeless beauty of the Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall proved to be the perfect venue for what was to become the biggest Portland show of her career. Touching on each of her eras, MARINA left no stone unturned. Her vocals soared through the hall, as she seamlessly transitioned from electro-pop anthems to heartbreaking piano ballads. One second the hall shook from the crowd’s dancing and jumping, only for the same people to be reaching for the tissues moments later. This sort of dichotomy has made MARINA the compelling songstress she is, and her ability to translate it into a live setting is beyond impressive. We’re thrilled that we got to catch her show, and we’re already looking forward to next time. Check out some photos from the show below, and be sure to see MARINA when she comes to your city!