[REVIEW | MUSIC] FROOT by Marina & the Diamonds

FROOTAlbum: FROOT
Artist/Band: Marina & the Diamonds
Release Date: 13/16/17 March 2015
Purchase Digital: iTunes | Amazon | MatD Official Site
Purchase Physical: Amazon | MatD Official Site | Walmart | Target

Review:
My friend introduced me to Marina & the Diamonds shortly after Electra Heart came out in the UK. It very quickly became one of my absolute favourite albums I have ever listened to, to the point I bought both the Deluxe US iTunes release and the original Deluxe UK Release in a physical copy (although, that’s partially because the UK version had “Lonely Hearts Club”, which is easily one of my favourite tracks that ended up not being brought over to the USA).

The album had me eagerly waiting for me. I did discover that she had a first album (I originally thought Electra Heart was her first, but nope), which while good, wasn’t really my type of music. Certain songs did stick out to me, such as the fan-favourite “Oh No” and “Mowgli’s Road”.

She finally announced sometime last year that she was releasing a new studio album, entitled FROOT! I was super excited and could not WAIT to hear it! Was it going to be like the electric-pop of Electra Heart or more of the alternative-pop of The Family Jewels?

She released the first single off the album, the title track of “FROOT” a long while after on her birthday. I thought it was going to give a good taste of the album. However, overall, it hasn’t…but that’s not a bad thing!

Quite awesomely, every song has been uploaded to YouTube by Marina herself. I posted at least the audio-only video, if not the music video as well (assuming there is one). That way, you can hear the songs for yourself! Does my opinion match yours or is yours different?

1.) Happy –

This song was first released as one of Marina’s “Froot of the Month” songs (Froot of the Month = her gradual release of songs, using different fruits as “theme” colours). For many of my initial listens, the song rubbed me in the wrong way. I’m not quite sure if it’s the slow pacing of the song or the strangely melancholic sound of a song entitled “Happy”. However, after listening to it more often, it’s not too bad of a song.

The song, production-wise, is rather simple, relying on a piano and percussion mix. It doesn’t make for a particularly interesting track. Luckily, the lyrics are pretty great, and work well with the simple production. The lyrics do a fantastic job at describing a realization of how, at least Marina herself, can be become happy. I found that the song reflected my own, recent realization for my life just a bit.

I think I may be rubbed a bit of the wrong way by the references of the divine, but it’s pretty easy to ignore those after the billionth listen.

Score: 5/10 – Not a bad song and I rather like it as a start to the album (especially since Electra Heart ended with a song called “Fear and Loathing”; it’s a good contrast to it). However, it only stands out as a “FROOT of the Month” and not as one of the best on the album.

2.) Froot

“FROOT” is both the title track and was the first FROOT of the Month. The song stands out to me among the rest of the songs on the album thanks to its rather warm disco medley — seriously, I feel like I’m sitting underneath a tree at dusk during summer.

It’s perhaps the most upbeat song on the entire album. The lyrics are particularly cheesy, but work insanely well with the disco-inspired dance medley present throughout the track. The fusion makes for a tune that easily gets stuck in your head. Even my boyfriend was singing it.

I tend to liken it to a weird fusion between her first (The Family Jewels) and second (Electra Heart) album in terms of the overall sound. It’s got that strong dance sound from her second album, but the lyrics are more reminiscent of her first album. However, it’s also a completely different sound from the first two. It makes it stand out among both the previous albums and FROOT.

Score: 10/10 – catchy medley mixed with cheesy lyrics make for a winning combination for me. It’s such a great track to release first!

3.) I’m a Ruin

Vaguely reminiscent of the homewrecker archtype of Electra Heart, the lyrics talk about wanting to let go of somebody, but having trouble doing so. It was first released as part of the “FROOT of the Month” promotion. It’s easily one of my favourite songs of the album!

I find the production on this particular song to be stronger than many of the other songs on the album. The sound overall is really solid and doesn’t feel weak in any area. The lyrics are really well written, and to me, stand out from much of the album for not being as cheesy. The chorus is particularly catchy — I often find myself singing “I’m a ruin~! I’m a ruin~!” at the most random times.

I really love this song as a whole, even though I didn’t expect to love it so much. Although it’s not my favourite song on the album, it’s definitely up there. It’s one of the stronger tracks on FROOT.

Score: 10/10 – strong, catchy track with great lyrics

(Also, this is my favourite music video so far off this album!)

4.) Blue

This song was released on her YouTube channel leading up to the album’s release and quite frankly, was a disappointment for me. It’s not a bad song by any means — it just wasn’t what I was hoping.

I think the lyrics themselves are pretty good. They’re easy to connect to in some way.

The music track works really well with both the lyrics and how they are in the song. HOWEVER, I do feel like parts of the song musically don’t fit in together (listen to the first verse, which has almost no music; then listen to the pre-chorus and notice the upbeat musical difference).

I find myself singing the pre-chorus quite often.

Score: 4/10 – one of my least favourite tracks on the album, although very catchy regardless.

5.) Forget –

Another track that was released as one of the “FROOT of the Month” tracks, this one definitely does stand out among the other FROOTs. Perhaps it’s the combination of an upbeat tune, a great song title, and spectacular lyrics that makes this song a winning track for me.

It would be wrong for me to just say the lyrics make this song shine, but it’s the combination of everything the song has to offer that stands out. Of course, the lyrics stand out so much to me. She talks about having regret and not being able to forget, only to realize that the only way to heal is to FORGET! I love it, love it, LOVE IT! (I suppose that is because I can connect to it well.)

Musically, it definitely falls in more with her pop/rock sound of her first album (but not as…rawish? I don’t know how to describe it; I really want to describe it as “beige”, but I don’t think everybody will see the first album as that). Even though I’m not usually a fan of that type of music, this song still is amazing.

Score: 9/10 – strong lyrics, strong music track

6.) Gold –

I do believe that this song is my least favourite song on the entire album.

The lyrics are alright; at some points, they’re pretty strong (“don’t think I want what I used to want”), but it loses me at other parts (“cause fortune’s running through my veins”). Maybe they have to just grow on me, but as of this review, I don’t care much for it.

The musical track is nothing to speak about either. It’s rather boring in comparison to the many other songs on the album that vaguely brings back memories of an old Luau party CD with hits like “Kokomo” and “Copacabana” except not as good.

Score: 2/10 – it’s far too boring, although the lyrics have potential.

7.) Can’t Pin Me Down – 

The song begins with Marina singing about how you can’t “pin her down” with her vocals run through a telephone-like filter, that works surprisingly well with the song. The lyrics aren’t great in comparison to some of the other songs on the album, but they are most certainly catchy!

The song overall is really solid. It caught my attention for a while when I initially listened to the album and continues to catch it. It’s upbeat and makes me want to dance just a bit. I like that in a music track.

Score: 8/10 – good song, but falls short in the lyrics department

8.) Solitaire – 

The opening opens with echoing synths that are similar to a bell, soon followed by a grating 8-bit ocean (or maybe it’s the wind or a sandstorm) in the far background. It sets up for the rather somber feeling of the entire song. Similar to “Blue” that lost me at certain parts of the song, this one does as well musically. It goes from being rather somber, but has moments of upbeatness that don’t really suit the overall flow.

Lyrically speaking, they are excellent. It gives such a wonderful visual picture of being alone! I feel like it’s a rather autobiographical song by her, but I could be wrong.

Score: 6/10 – pretty good song, especially at the more somber portions of the song

9.) Better Than That –

I really feel like this song channels a lot of her first album, but suits her current style so well. It’s another pop/rockish song that manages to hit all the right areas to have me enjoy the song.

I particularly enjoy the lyrics, which tell a type of story about a woman who broke many men’s hearts and Marina thinks that the man she is talking about can “do better than that”. It’s definitely the kind of song I feel like a lot of people would be able to connect to very easily with the amount of blah people in this world.

Score: 5/10 – not particularly a favourite song of mine, but it’s still a solid track regardless.

10.) Weeds

I think I would describe this song as the one they would play during a romance movie where a couple who had a major fight would start thinking about each other, stealing occasional glances at a party, only to end up back together by the end of the scene. I know, I know — really weird description, but that’s what it feels like!

The overall song is a bit too prom-drama for my taste, especially in terms of the backing track. The lyrics aren’t as much to me and I feel like are the strongest portion of the song. I really like the references to gardens and weeds throughout the entire song in relation to relationships.

I do feel like the music and the lyrics do work super well together, despite I don’t care much for their overall feeling.

Score: 5/10 – it’s an alright song, but doesn’t really fit my personal taste

11.) Savages –

I thought that the final song on this album, “Immortal”, was going to be my favourite song. However, “Savages” blew me into another realm! The opening synths rather quickly caught my attention and it pulled me in with the opening lyrics of “Murder lives forever; and so does war” that started to shift my mind into an almost meditative state.

The song more or less talks about how troubling human nature can be. It’s a song that resonates with me so deeply to the point I was start crying if I let myself fall into it too much. The chorus particularly gets me every time — “underneath it all, we’re just savages; hidden behind shirts, ties, and marriages; how can we expect anything at all; we’re just animals still learning how to crawl” — and I can feel the very core of me shaking with how much truth the song contains.

This song is definitely among the strongest lyrically on the entire album. I do feel like it starts to waver a bit during the part where she talk about reading/seeing the news and whanot. However, with how relevant it is to not only the entire song, but our world’s current culture, it still connects so well.

The song’s overall production is extremely solid, from the semi-airy synths and the strong percussion that adds to the type of meditative state I seem to fall in listening to it if I’m not careful. It aids in the strong visuals and feelings I get from it.

It’s certainly a very upbeat tempo, although the entire feeling of the song isn’t bright and happy. It makes the human-made parts of the world seem so dark and gray, while nature looks on judging us as we push ourselves into more turmoil.

I’m actually crying as I’m writing this and listening to the song, it resonates with me so strongly.

I’m just going to leave you with this last lyric: “I’m not afraid of God; I am afraid of Man”

Score: 12+/10 – a song I hadn’t been expecting that struck me so deeply, it throws me into another state of mind and brings forth some rather strong emotions and visualizations. It’s an amazing track and easily the best out of the entire album. (Awesomely, it’s also Marina’s favourite song too on the album.)

12.) Immortal

Before “Savages”, this was my favourite song on the album. It was released as a “FROOT of the Month” and surprised me. Similar to “Savages”, the entire song resonates with me in a very deep way to the point if I fall too deep into the song, I will start crying. However, it’s not as strong as “Savages”.

This is one of the few songs on the album that I felt had a really strong overall production. The music is solid, the lyrics are wonderfully done. Okay, sure, Marina’s rather blunt “everybody dies” is cheesy, but it works so well with this song about immortality.

I’m particularly fond of the backing track. It’s rather ethereal to me and helps to lift both the lyrical medley and the overall theme of the song.

This one was a surprise to me as being a favourite, since it’s on the slower side. However, as I said, it’s a solid production, ethereal, and resonates with me rather deep.

It’s such a great way to end the album and a contrast to the previous song.

Score: 11/10 – an amazingly solid production with great lyrics and a beautiful backing track

Final Verdict:
After coming off with the extremely solid Electra Heart album, this feels more like an in-between album, rather than the 3rd studio album. It falls short of the extremely passionate and overly dramatic tracks of the previous album. However, that doesn’t stop it from being 100% listenable, which, for a music album, that’s what I want!

Every track is good enough to listen to; I don’t hate any of the tracks and, as long as I don’t want to listen to a specific song (*coughsavagescough*), I can listen to all the tracks over and over. It’s most certainly something I can put on while I’m working on my projects.

If you’re a fan of Marina & the Diamonds, I highly recommend picking it up. If you haven’t heard anything by her before, I would recommend going through her YouTube channel and seeing if you like her music first. I personally think she’s great and I’m looking forward to seeing where she goes.

Overall Score: 7/10 – the entire album is easy to listen to, but a majority of the songs make it feel like it’s an in-between album rather than the 3rd one.

Top 3 Favourite Songs:
1.) Savages
2.) Immortal
3.) Froot/I’m a Ruin

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