Pablo Puig, Staff Writer
Marina Diamandis, now known professionally by the mononym MARINA, introduces fans to her new self with a double album, “Love + Fear.” The album is scheduled for a full release April 26, the first portion titled “Love” was released April 4. The collection includes eight tracks, several of which were previously available as singles.
Once known as Marina and the Diamonds, the artist changed her stage name in 2018 to MARINA, explaining that this was a way of rediscovering and redefining herself. This, as well as three years of limited activity, has freed Diamandis to find fresh inspiration, along with a new direction.
Though an icon of 2010s pop, her visual and musical aesthetic did not achieve mass appeal, instead producing a dedicated cult following. Diamandis has welcomed this, disapproving of any comparisons to other female musicians. Her content typically strives to analyze human attitudes and behaviors. From “The Family Jewels,” her debut album, to “Love + Fear,” she focuses on all-encompassing tendencies and truths about people.
Reinvention is a common process for artists, regardless of medium. All artforms can offer examples of creative metamorphosis, but music lays claim to some of the most dramatic. Whether it’s David Bowie crafting a fresh style through one of his many personas or each of the Beatles succeeding as solo artists, a musician’s evolution is often evident in their every aspect.
More than a first look at Diamandis’s new identity, “Love” proves that it couldn’t be more aptly named; its every track is unique as a distinct flavor of that emotion. I, a chronic penny-pincher, can proudly declare that “Love + Fear” is the first album to have earned my preorder, based on only half its content.
For nature lovers, it has “Handmade Heaven,” a hymn to winter, mourning people’s isolation from nature as well as each other, and “Orange Trees,” a song of summer that speaks of returning to nostalgic peace.
For those that love another, “Superstar” encapsulates the beauty and joy of a successful relationship with a subdued ballad, while “Baby” harnesses the yearning for a lost lover into a passionate lullaby.
For those who need self-love, “Enjoy Your Life” is an ode to existence, offering a coping strategy to endure its low points, whereas “True” is an anthem for the insecure, celebrating self-assurance for all.
But, for a fourth and final way of love, Diamandis turns to its most fundamental form that of humanity. Commenting on the official music video for “To Be Human,” Diamandis described the song as “probably the most important song on this record for me, because thematically it sums up the headspace that I’ve come from in the past 3 years.” It tries to consider what humans do to each other, for better or worse, and concludes our divisions are ultimately destructive deceptions. “End of the Earth” goes further to advocate for the human condition. It begins by admitting our incompatibility with love, but goes on to insist it is still worthwhile, appealing to the universality of people’s experiences. The track’s first line, offering such a sobering confession, is perfectly bookended by its eerie final vocals, which appears to signal a transition from “Love” to “Fear.”
In comments on official music videos for several “Love” tracks, the artist described the double album as two separate records to be heard individually. “A lot of us think of love as positive and fear as negative but the truth is there are positives found within fear and negatives found in love,” said Diamandis while discussing the album’s creation.
Seeing as “Love” introduced listeners to this counterintuitive insight through eight variants of affection, it is likely “Fear” will examine the redeeming qualities of being afraid. Whether or not the album’s second half proves as moving as the first, “Love + Fear” is still significant as the latest step in Diamandis’s development both as an artist and a human.