Album Review: Marina – Love (track by track)

marina love cover

Marina releases first part of upcoming double album Love + Fear
Marina (formerly known as Marina and the Diamonds) announced her comeback at the start of the year and launched her single ‘Handmade Heaven’ with the promise of a double album dropping later this year. We now know that the album is titled Love + Fear and will be released on the 26th of April. On the 4th of April however, the Welsh-Greek pop artist surprised everyone by sharing the first half, simply titled Love, already. On social media she explained how she created the two parts as seperate albums and wants to give her fans the chance to experience them as such. It is her first work since 2015’s LP Froot. A Bit of Pop Music reviews the new album track by track!

01. Handmade Heaven
‘Handmade Heaven’ was chosen as the first single of the project. The uplifting light electronic midtempo pop track is quintessentially Marina with her signature vocals moving from deep tones to soaring high notes. The chorus has a beautiful melody that sonically represents the ‘handmade heaven’ she is singing about. In my humble opinion it was not the strongest track to lead the project with, but a worthy addition to her discography either way.

02. Superstar
On second single ‘Superstar’ Marina moved to more basic, radiofriendly pop with a predictable instrumental drop as a post-chorus. Having said that, she makes the genre of the ‘tropical bop’ her own with her unique vocals and strong melodies. The production is on point and lyrically it is a proper love song. Not one of Marina’s strongest or unique tracks, but it has its place on this record!

03. Orange Trees
If you want to fault Marina for releasing more basic pop tunes this time around, ‘Orange Trees’ is the one to complain about, but I simply can’t because it is so damn infectious! This breezy, guitar-driven tune brings summer straight through your speakers and I can’t help but smile every time I hear the chorus kick in with the ‘flowers in my hair’ lyric. This will be such a good soundtrack to summer and the fact that she wrote it about the Greek island where her family is from, gives it some extra nostalgic quality.

04. Baby (feat. Clean Bandit & Luis Fonsi)
Marina’s Clean Bandit collaboration ‘Baby’ arrived at the end of last year and lead into the release of the band’s album What Is Love?. Clean Bandit weren’t able to lift Marina’s chart curse as the summer bop did not make it past the 15th position in the UK charts. At first I thought this tune would be more of a Clean Bandit track which happened to have Marina’s vocals, but the track does actually make sense in the context of Love.

05. Enjoy Your Life
‘Enjoy Your Life’ was teased on Marina’s Instagram last year. This bouncy synth pop anthem is one of the most uplifting and carefree tracks she has ever put her name to. There are some clear 80s influences in the flawless production by OZGO and Oscar Holter. Lyrically Marina urges her listeners to not worry about everything in life and to sometimes just embrace the problems you are facing and to enjoy your life either way. What a bop!

06. True
‘True’ was produced by OZGO and co-written by Marina, Noonie Bao, OZGO and Oscar Holter. The upbeat electronic pop banger starts out promising, with suspenseful verses, but the chorus could have used a bit more bite. From the middle-eight on, the production picks up slightly and the last chorus therefore hits a little harder, but in terms of melodies, this is certainly not Marina’s strongest moment.

07. To Be Human
In comparison to most of the tracks on Love, ‘To Be Human’ is definitely more classic Marina (and the Diamonds). The midtempo pop track, produced by frequent Lorde collaborator Joel Little, is guided by a piano melody while drums kick in during the first chorus. Marina describes a whole lot of places in the verses in her signature, sometimes quite literal, writing style, stating that she has travelled all over the world but still wonders what the meaning is of being human. The delicate ad libs she does over the last chorus form one of her finest vocal moments ever!

08. End of the Earth
‘End of the Earth’, co-written with Jospeh Janiak and James Flannigan and produced by Flannigan, is the most ominous sounding track of Love, but at the same time has a loving message. “I’ll give my love, I don’t care if it hurts, ’cause I’ll love you ’till the end of the earth”, she sings over thunderous drums and deep synths. The climax in the last minute is a spectacular way to end this side of the double album, as it is the most adventurous moment production wise. If this is the direction the Fear part will follow, we have a lot to be excited about!

On Love, Marina shows herself to be more happy and carefree then ever, which causes her tunes to be generally slightly more basic. Although this might not be the best work of her career, the melodies are still very much on point on most of the songs and the productions are lush! Especially on the last two tracks, Marina delivers and I cannot wait to hear what Fear has to offer!

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