Last time I wrote a Seriously Sexy post, I highlighted lady musicians in suits. Sadly, I wrote it before I found and could include this:
Oops, forgot to breathe for a second. (All photos courtesy Marina and the Diamonds Facebook/Twitter)
Her name is Marina Lambrini Diamandis, and her band is Marina and the Diamonds, with the Diamonds representing her fans. And I guess I’m a Diamond, because for the past four months solid, I have had one or the other of her two studio albums, The Family Jewels and Electra Heart, on non-stop repeat in my car stereo, on my iPod, anywhere I can possibly blast music into my ears. Every now and then I tell myself I have to stop being so freakishly, singularly obsessed, and I play some Avett Brothers or Brandi Carlile or something else lesbian, but I inevitably get antsy and return to Marina. And still, I become more and more fascinated with each listen.
Marina Diamandis is full of a brass overconfidence that may be obnoxious to some but is refreshing to me, full of a tongue-in-cheek type of humor. Example One: One of my favorite lines in the first single off of Electra Heart, “Primadonna,” goes like such: “I know I’ve got a big ego. I really don’t know why it’s such a big deal though.” It’s impossible to listen to it without a cheerful smirk. She presents herself with a playful coyness, strutting her feminine sexuality unapologetically, celebrating girly fashion while simultaneously critiquing pop star image. The video for “Primadonna,” for instance, includes her rolling around on a bed in a dimly lit mansion, winking provocatively at the camera, and doing things with her tongue, and stuff, while she sings “I can’t help that I need it all.” She’s oversexing herself on purpose, and I’m OK with it.
Yet behind the glossy act, there is so much more: an indignant anger at times, and utter heartbreak at others. Her unique voice is sometimes compared to Katy Perry, and while I have to admit I’ve never listened to Miss Perry in depth, the difference between the two couldn’t be more glaring to me. Beneath the humor of Marina & the Diamonds, there is also an edge, a pain, a personal realness, that I’ve never heard in Katy. Marina has said herself that she hates being compared to anyone, anyway. In “Hollywood,” a commentary on the “mess that is America,” she talks about the reactions she gets in LA: “He says, ‘Oh my God, you look just like Shakira. No, no, you’re Catherine Zeta.’ Actually, my name’s Marina.” And don’t you forget it.
I think the reason I can’t get enough of her is because I always love things that are funny and sad simultaneously, and she is so good at being both funny and sad! It’s pop music, but really honest pop, in the wonderful tradition of pop often being the most honest, cutting genre of them all. Sorry not sorry, cool people! Example One: In “Oh No!” this line in particular punches me: “I feel like I’m the worst, so I always act like I’m the best.” Example Two: After talking about her big ego in “Primadonna,” five seconds later she talks about being “sad to the core, core, core; every day is a chore, chore chore.” And there are so many more examples. There are all different levels of pop, but the pop that hides pain is the best pop of all. I know I just said pop a million times and I don’t care.
Blonde or brunette, I’m OK with it.
Electra Heart, her newest release, is particularly full of ache and bitterness underneath all the pomp, a sadness I feel deeper each time I listen to it. She’s full of defiant independence on “Homewrecker” when she sings out so gloriously, “And I don’t belong to anyone.” Yet you don’t completely believe her on the next track, the gut-wrenching “Starring Role,” when she states, “You don’t love me? Big fucking deal.” No line is more satisfying to shout along to, and no line has ever been more untrue.
Just hangin’ out in the bathtub with my alcohol and candy, like girls do.
Here’s another way to put it: the first track on Electra Heart is a romping number entitled “Bubblegum Bitch” and it’s truly the perfect descriptor for her. Sassy and sweet, pop-obsessed, but with a bite: she is my very favorite bubblegum bitch.
And that heart on her cheek, guh.
Also, reason #4353 why bitches are the best: they’re not afraid to call out their own record labels on Twitter for being misogynistic assholes.
In fact, not only calling them out, but then publicly offering to leak her video to her fans? If clapping by yourself at your computer didn’t seem like a weird thing to do, I would have given her a slow clap forever when I read this.
Standing up for The Ladies is one of the things that Marina in fact consistently does best. In “Sex Yeah,” she says, “If women were religiously recognized sexually, we wouldn’t have to feel the need to show our ass-ets to feel free.” Yeah! And in “Girls” off of The Family Jewels, she laments, “Girls are not meant to act dirty; never look a day past 30. Not gonna bend over and curtsy for you.”
But hey, enough of this perhaps overly-heavy analysis of sadness and tension and feminism and stuff! This is supposed to be about the sexy, right? I mean, that stuff is all sexy to me, but there is a whole lot of superficial sexy to be had, too! Did I mention that she’s half Greek, half Welsh? And when Welsh people talk they sound like this:
When she says “terribly tacky”! I could listen to it all day! I could listen to her talk about pretty much anything all day! Her voice makes me feel funny in my belly.
As an American, I approve.
On top of all this, her Twitter is always full of short, often nonsensical, yet always delightful things that somehow make me love her more. While writing this, I took a break to look through some of her best Tweets and somehow an hour went by yet I don’t feel it was wasted.
She just wrapped up an international tour and is back in London, where she currently resides, getting ready to launch a fashion line with Hasan Hejazi called Wedding Bells, which she describes as “couture divorce.” Have I mentioned that I love her? She apparently has a big following with the gays in the UK, but I think the lesbians need to take up her cause, too, and now. She’ll pop your bubblegum heart.