Marina “Love + Fear”: Insightful But Could Be Bolder

Marina in 2016. Photo by Danny Payne/REX/Shutterstock (5587997i)

Marina + The Diamonds are back with a new album, only this time, it’s just Marina and she has dropped her diamonds. But how does a woman fair without her best friends?

The album, titled Love + Fear, dichotomizes two of humankind’s most prominent emotions. When there is love, there can be no fear and when there is fear, there can be no love. In Marina’s new album, however, the emotions exist simultaneously, despite being separated into distinct records. In Love, anxiety, and insecurity plagues the lyrics while in Fear, it is love that is being sought. Perhaps the two emotions aren’t so distinct after all.

The Love side of the record is mostly light and poppy. “Superstar” is one of the stronger tracks and is reminiscent of Marina + The Diamond’s “Hollywood”. The subsequent tracks are pleasant enough but lack any real originality or creative flair. In the “Hollywood” days, Marina was bold and unique only on Love, things feel a little bit too 2000s.

Fear, on the other hand, is more interesting. Her lyrics attack modern life on all fronts, slashing the president, Brexit and the general catastrophe that is climate change. Through all this, she declares on the opening track “I need to believe in love.” She thus suggests that the fear that is an inevitable part of modern life is not so unbearable if one can retain their belief in love.

“Life Is Strange” is a little more dramatic and is closer to the Marina that we were expecting. There are strings for starters and Marina sings with a heavier accent, which is one of the things we loved about her, to begin with. The track is a little weird despite sticking to a pop structure and she punctually declares “all I know is life is strange.”

The rest of the tracks on the Fear side are a little more playful and experimental. “Karma” is a great track and with its stripped back piano and honest lyrics, “Too Afraid” is surprisingly powerful. She sings: “I wanna change, but I don’t know how / I’ve been trying to turn my life around / I’ve been to every party, every bar / Nothing thrills me in this city anymore.” The song sums up the feeling of wanting to move on but being stuck because of something or someone that is holding you back.

Finally, “Soft To Be Strong” is a strong finish to the album and celebrates the strength in being kind. Love and fear successfully intertwine and Marina’s conclusion is genuinely quite insightful.

Still, the album overall is a little too poppy and a little less bold than we would hope from Marina. Nonetheless, it’s a decent enough comeback album and we look forward to the next one.