Having returned from being out of town for a few days, and not really listening to music, two albums that I listened to before leaving ended up causing a few of their songs to be stuck in my head at various points. I’ll start with the most recent release.
Ever since the first, and subsequent listens, the Marina and the Diamonds debut, The Family Jewels, has only kept getting better. I wrote a brief review a few weeks ago.
The lead off track, “Are You Satisfied”, is a fairly standard indie pop track, in that it is not especially unique. That is not to say it is bad at all. However “Shampain”, an intentional misspelling of Champagne, is quite good. It is apparently a forthcoming single. “I Am Not a Robot” is a very good track, it has been stuck in my head numerous times. One that I do not mind going around in my head at all!
“Mowgli’s Road” is another that had been going around in my head. More so just the rhythm, as I have not followed along with the lyrics very much. Alongside with the video, it definitely feels like it is telling a story. Speaking of the rhythm, it is one that is well worth following the beat with the feet!
The next track, actually the first single released as a double a-side with “Mowgli’s Road”, is a slower song, and fits well with “Are You Satisfied”, in that it does not have anything special about it, aside from being a good track. I did not link the video for it in my mini review, so here it is on Youtube, “Obsessions”.
“Hollywood”, is about celebrity culture, not to mention the American Dream as well. The video does a nice job satirising just that. “Hollywood” was the first song I heard from Marina and the Diamonds, and how she states about not wanting to be the ‘typical‘ pop star, I do not think she has to worry about that. Quoting from the song a good line,
“Oh my god, you look just like Shakira
No no, you’re Catherine Zeta”
Actually, my name’s Marina.
As I mentioned in the mini review, “The Outsider” has some new wave aspects in it, even feeling like it goes back to the 80s.
The latter third of the album settles down a fair amount. I like how she can manage songs that do a good job storytelling, and do not necessarily stick with the standard songwriting structure, “Rootless”, for example. And Marina can also do the silly, zany tracks well, as well as more standard songs, while keeping them good.
I have no doubt that she does have a future. I would like to see her have more songwriting to her name.
The next album is one that has been out for a while, but I only really started listening in full relatively recently. It is the self-titled debut from New Zealand’s Ladyhawke.
Ladyhawke’s Ladyhawke, real name, Phillipa “Pip” Brown, would probably be more indie rock, and also has new wave elements, however more in the vein of Goldfrapp, or Ladytron. Therefore leaning toward synthpop or electropop.
I am partially surprised that “Manipulating Woman”, the second track, was not a single, as it is definitely catchy, and has been one that has been stuck in my head as noted in the introduction to this blog entry.
The album does have a throwback to the 80s a tad, however as the CMJ review put it, “nostalgic but modern and (just slightly) more grown-up.”
I kind of find the album hard to describe, but the fact it contains electro and synth elements says plenty. Perhaps Ladytron junior, or a more playful version of Ladytron.
The fact that she writes all her songs, and is a multi-instrumentalist to boot says a lot about Phillipa.
Check out the NME video Track by Track.
Back Of The Van
Paris Is Burning
Dusk Till Dawn