x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Marina and the Diamonds: The Family Jewels

Precocious pop starlets have been all the rage ever since Lily Allen shot to fame. You know the type: destined for stardom ever since they were in nappies and not afraid to admit it - or sing about it.

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Precocious pop starlets have been all the rage ever since Lily Allen shot to fame. You know the type: destined for stardom ever since they were in nappies and not afraid to admit it - or sing about it. Welsh by birth and with Greek roots, Marina Diamandis doesn't sound anything like Allen, but her debut album shares a similar subject matter with the LDN singer's most recent LP: the trappings of fame and celebrity. But here's the strange thing: in Diamandis's case, it's difficult to work out when all this "being famous" was meant to have happened. In her song Hollywood, the singer warns about the pitfalls of stardom, singing "Hollywood infected your brain" and mimicking the cloying enthusiasm of entertainment industry sycophants. But hearing the 24-year-old giving a lecture on stardom just doesn't feel right. It's not just that the message is clichéd, but there's a forced sense of authority she uses to deliver it. Someone should have told her that the best debuts deal not with the bright lights, but the humdrum - just ask Oasis, The Streets or, indeed, Allen herself. Diamandis does have a remarkable vocal range, however. There's also a richness that contemporaries such as Duffy and Adele should be jealous of. The album even has a number of incredibly catchy tunes, like Obsessions and Shampain. The problem is that Diamandis has chosen to create a musical persona with such an unabashed sense of self-confidence that every vocal performance ends up sounding like Sparks' This Town Ain't Big Enough for the Both of Us.