Track Review: Marina and the Diamonds – ‘Radioactive’
Don’t call it a comeback, and definitely don’t call it an alter-ego! Marina and the Diamonds is returning to the pop scene along with a new er… persona, Elektra Heart and the storming Stargate-produced single, ‘Radioactive’. Marina has described Elektra Heart as ‘the antithesis of everything I stand for’. She plans to use Elektra as a visual portrayal of the American dream and assures us that it’ll all be quite clear when we see it. Essentially it’s Marina ‘selling out’, but with a very pretentious artsy reasoning behind it. Lady Gaga is kicking herself for not having done this!
‘Radioactive’ is like nothing else we’ve heard from Marina, yet still manages to sound distinctly her. The opening line, ‘lying on a fake beach you’ll never get a tan / baby I’m gonna leave you drowning until you reach for my hand,’ could have been lifted straight from her debut album The Family Jewels, and is bolstered by pulsating euro-dance beats. The production on its own is hardly revolutionary, however; it’s most likely just a left-over from Stargate’s studio sessions with Rihanna. Though the duo are obviously running on auto-pilot, Marina’s unique vocals save ‘Radioactive’ from Ibiza club hell and really help the track stand out from the rest of the pop charts. The song’s pulsating middle eight in particular is undeniably brilliant as Marina’s voice soars, ‘tonight I feel like Neon Gold, I take one look at you and I grow cold.’
It would have been easy for Marina to quickly phone in some dancefloor tunes for Elektra Heart, but ‘Radioactive’ shows us that she’s certainly still at the core of the new direction. She isn’t quite re-inventing herself as she is simply adopting a new facade. The stage-school vocal affectations are still there, but amongst the barrage of beats feel less grating. Marina Diamandis is from a breed of ruthless popstar who will stop at nothing to achieve the success they desire. She’s blatantly vying for a hit, but in being open about it manages to still remain true to the girl we heard on The Family Jewels. Who really cares about ‘selling out’ when it sounds this good?
‘Radioactive’ is released in the UK October 8.