Ahoy! I'm Sam Lansky, pop music person, and this is Pop Think, where I wax large about the stuff you should be paying attention to but maybe aren't because, look -- I get it -- we're all busy and stuff. Personally, I'm busy making lists of my 10 favorite Miley Cyrus songs and crying while watching "Downton Abbey," y'know? We all have lives.
But I digress! This week, I'm talking about one of my all-time favorite artists, Marina and the Diamonds, whose fresh, clever indie pop has been dazzling me since 2008: perfect little pop songs packed with razor-sharp hooks and lyrics that are provocative and vulnerable and funny all at once. You feel like you know her after listening to her songs, which is probably why when I met the "Shampain" singer a couple years ago, she reached out her arm to shake my hand, but I thought she was trying to give me a hug, so I went for a totally overly familiar full-body embrace, and it was actually really embarrassing! Sorry, Marina!
But the pop chanteuse is headed in a new direction with her next album, Electra Heart, due out this year, as evidenced by her monster dance-pop single, "Radioactive," and the ridiculously dope roster of producers and songwriters she's hooked up with. In this column, I'm tracing back Marina's trajectory to take a closer look at why she's pretty much the coolest pop star, well, ever. Because hey, guess what? She is.
The internet pretty much exploded a few weeks ago when Marina and the Diamonds tweeted a quote from the production team Captain Cuts, writing, "Britney spears came by to work on a new song but MY F***ING WIRELESS MOUSE RAN OUT OF BATTERIES"- @CaptainCuts." Britney Spears fans went into overdrive wondering, could Marina and Britney be collaborating together? Could the stars really have aligned in such a thrillingly perfect way? Alas, it turned out the whole thing was a joke, but it reminded me that Marina, an artist who is one of the brightest, sharpest, most compelling songbirds on the pop horizon, actually has been working with a lot of the same producers that made Britney a superstar.
To recap, for the uninitiated: Marina and the Diamonds, born Marina Diamandis, is a Welsh singer-songwriter who first appeared on the scene in 2008 with the release of her stunning single, "Obsessions," released via ultrahip boutique vinyl label Neon Gold Records. "Obsessions" starts off like a haunting piano ballad, then turns into a jangly, nervy midtempo, pinned by Marina's powerful, emotive vocals and lyrics that are sometimes startlingly honest and weird. "Someday, wake up/Give me a cigarette/Last's night love affair is looking vulnerable in my bed," she begins, eerily; the second verse of the song is about the panic of standing in a grocery store, not knowing what to buy; from the jump-off, Marina showed a knack for describing the little, nervous regrets that comprise daily life.
+ Read more about Marina & The Diamonds after the jump.