Marina (full name Marina Diamandis) has returned with a fifth studio album that is dripping with maturity and raises a middle finger to the old Marina and the Diamonds brand. Ancient Dreams in a Modern Land brings lyrics of maturity, female empowerment, and self-reclamation through electro-pop. The 10-track album storms open with its title track, setting the tone for the rest of the record, that being a not-so-subtle wakeup call to the rest of the world.
The result reads more like a follow-up to the personal Froot (2015) than it does the collaborative Love + Fear, and finds MARINA emboldening her trademark theatrical glam with sharper edges. A whirlwind of an opening, and also setting the tone for the albums first half, the title track is a re-actualization of Muse's "Uprising" - sharing thunderous percussion and a sense of urgency with the former. MARINA 's voice soars across a rambunctious bass line, her angelic soprano launching into orbit as she senses the advent of a revolution.
In 2010, back when she had her Diamonds, Marina established herself as one of our most singular pop artists. Idiosyncratic, full of personality and bursting with a bulging full bag of odd pop tricks, Marina stood out a mile from any number of electro pop revivalists around at the time. Marina thought about things a little deeper than others and was determined to follow her own winding path to pop success.
In every interview that Marina Diamandis gave in 2019 - her most recent to date, except for one that she gave to Vogue in late 2020 and the one that she managed to sneak in the New York Times last week - she talks about feeling like she was ready to quit the music industry. Cue the devastation, the burning buildings, the twitter outrage. As it turns out, Marina didn't altogether quit the music industry: she dropped the Diamonds moniker and spent the past year reclaiming her sense of self.