An Existential Narrative


Heather Gammon, Co-Editor-in-Chief

Released in March 2015, FROOT is the third studio album by Welsh singer Marina and the Diamonds. And from FROOT it’s clear that Marina’s sound has shifted once again. While Marina’s debut album, “The Family Jewels,” could be considered indie-pop, her sophomore album, “Electra Heat,” was a peppy pop explosion that scored her number fourteen on the US alternative charts. And the self-reflective FROOT explores darker themes by using slower, ballad-eque songs with a a more lyrical focus. It seems that Marina is still grappling with who she is and how that plays into the musicality of her albums.

The first track on the album, “Happy,” is not only the most attention-grabbing song, but also the happiest song on the album. Detailing the emergence of a protagonist from her depression, “Happy” examines the concept of finding happiness and peace in oneself and not in the confines of a relationship. The track begins unassuming and demure, then gradually crescendos to a climax of self-celebration.

At first listen, the album as a whole sounds upbeat, but after “Happy,” FROOT descends into self-hatred and anxiety. As the album progresses, it explores Marina’s internal sadness (“I’m a Ruin,” “Blue”), her refusal to be labeled and sold out (“Can’t Pin Me Down,” “Solitaire,” “Gold”), the inevitable disintegration of her relationship (“Forget”), and her bitter jealousy (“Better than That”).

Marina then shifts her focus from personal circumstances to the view of inherently disappointing nature of man(“Savages,” “Immortal”). In what can only be called a tribute to Hobbes’s Leviathan, “Savages” sparkles with an existential edge, indicting humans as the savages they behave to be. Lyrics such as “One man can build a bomb/Another run a race/To save somebody’s life/And have it blow up in his face” illustrate the extreme lengths man can go, be they in noble or abhorrent pursuit. Marina declares “Underneath it all, we’re just savages/Hidden behind shirts, ties, and marriages,” clearly alluding to Hobbes’s idea that humans are savages at heart, but only with the veneer of society is the savagery hidden.

FROOT lacks the unadulterated pop of Marina and the Diamonds’ previous albums. No song on the album quite matches the past power singles like “Primadonna” and “How To Be A Heartbreaker.” In fact, the closest FROOT comes to a pure pop song is “Blue,” but the catchy beat conceals the somber message of the song.

Though it has fewer songs with “hit single” potential, FROOT delivers an overarching story that serves to impress with its lyrics of substance and cohesive musical feel. Worldwide, it is Marina’s best charting album to date. Most assuredly, FROOT marks a new chapter of Marina’s life in almost every way imaginable.