Monday, 22 August 2011

Marina & The Diamonds - Radioactive

A week later than planned, today saw the release of the 2nd part of the Marina & The Diamonds / Electra Heart video for the song Radioactive. The world and his wife already knew that this was ‘the banger’ in Marina’s arsenal, where she fully embraced the dance floor with a Stargate and DJ Chuckie production.

A few years ago Marina wrote on her (now deleted) blog “As with every phase/ trend that sweeps music, artists who have something lasting and unique to offer will remain and will inevitably move on to do greater things. The ones who have little to offer, except for the ability to latch onto and simulate a trend, will disappear. Mark my words.” So with Radioactive and its very ‘now’ sound, is Marina just latching onto a trend herself with nothing else to offer?

We suggest the answer to this question is no (and yes) – Marina has far more to offer than just latching onto a trend. Unfortunately she doesn’t offer it here. If this was a battle between art and commerce, then commerce has put its foot down full on the throttle and stormed ahead. Radioactive has potential to get significant Radio 1 play with its Calvin Harris-esque synth stabs that draw heavily from late 80’s rave culture and be a sizeable pop hit. It will probably help pay the bills and keep the record label and public at large happy, but it’s massively derivative. On the other hand Marina’s vocals are vastly superior to your average auto-tuned wannabe pop princess – so there’s still a chance for art to win through on her next album.

Some plus points. The video has plenty of interest. Who is Electra and her mysterious man? Are they criminals? Why the wig? Will there be an explanation? Also we like the way that Marina gets the words ‘neon gold’ into the lyrics. Is that some sort of subliminal advertising for her former boutique label mates who got her started in this whole pop thing in the first place?

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