When examining the whole of pop music through a rear-view mirror, it becomes clear that most musicians have little new to say after their first and second records.
Marina Diamandis, known eponymously as Marina and formerly known as Marina and the Diamonds, doesn’t have that problem. The Welsh chanteuse released Love + Fear, in April via Atlantic Records, drawing from some study she did on psychology and how the two emotions in the title of the record drive all of human behavior. She broke it down for her audience in a very crowded show at The Anthem recently.
“The first half of the show has been dedicated to love, and the second half will address fear,” Marina said, closing the first half out alone onstage with a piano to perform “Teen Idle” from her beloved second album, Electra Heart.
Love + Fear loomed large in that first half, as Marina cooed “Handmade Heaven” to open the show, lamented “To Be Human in the middle of the first set, and celebrated “Orange Trees” toward the end.
Still, Marina’s earlier material resonated most with The Anthem, which was bustling with young women and LGBT admirers who found plenty to like in her first two albums. The four songs presented from Electra Heart from the 20-song show elicited the most excitement from a very excited audience. On her third song, Marina sang “Primadonna,” which caused small dance parties to break out around the room and, as mentioned, closed her first set on “Teen Idle,” which created a powerful stir as the room sang along in unison.
Marina moved throughout the fast-paced show with backup from four dancers, but she was at her most powerful when she was alone at that piano. She returned to it again for “I’m Not Hungry Anymore,” an unreleased song preformed in the middle of the second set. The song was recorded around the time of Froot, which saw only two entries in the concert setlist with the title track in the first set and “Blue” in the second. That second set began with Love + Fear’s “Believe in Love” and ended on “Baby,” which again inspired a massive singalong *and* frenetic dance moves across the concert hall.
Stream Love + Fear by Marina on Spotify:
As much as everyone hung on every word of the dazzling musician, the room lit up particularly for Electra Heart’s “Bubblegum Bitch” near the start of the second set and “How to Be a Heartbreaker” in the encore. For both songs, there was an utter transformation in the energy in the room, which spiked from really high to off the charts during those Electra Heart numbers. Young girls adorned in the “Electra Heart” beauty mark raved lasciviously during “Bubblegum Bitch” and the entire room again joined in song for “Heartbreaker.”
Marina’s pure beauty, humble attitude, and undeniable talent are sure to transfix any audience. But the love for that second album suggested perhaps that she’s moved a bit more toward the mainstream in her most recent efforts. As reviews of her records have noted, Marina has become less “quirky” and more “streamlined” over her career, surely in part to pursue chart ambitions. But somewhere in the transition, she’s misplaced some of the sparks that enflamed a passionate fanbase.
Still, Marina puts on a show, and she’s smart and ambitious. Catch her show near you, and stay tuned to her website for all Marina news.
Here are some pictures of Marina performing at The Anthem on Sept. 18, 2019. All photos copyright and courtesy of Katherine Gaines.