If there’s one thing Marina isn’t, it’s subtle. Her latest work is the pop album version of Ned’s Declassified School Survival Guide — but instead of middle school, Marina is helping you survive life.
The alt-pop princess of confection and heartache returns for the latter half of her two-part album, Love + Fear, ready to delve fully into the topic of fear.
Marina is often straightforward with her listeners — check out “Too Afraid” — and that’s when her message is felt strongest.
Rather than condemning all eight tracks to be somber ballads, she addresses her fears in a way that immediately draws listeners in. From there, she goes on to provide her own dose of innovative advice to help you effectively deal with your fears.
Fear’s most enjoyable moment is “No More Suckers.” The playful tone and high pitch of her voice bring a smile to your face. Even though Marina has had to put up with some suckers in her life, she’s dealt with them and urges herself — and everyone listening — to move on from whatever is bringing them down. (And by “sucker,” she means a no-good man, not the underrated Charli XCX album.)
Throughout Fear, Marina is honest. In the string-accompanied, slower-paced bop “Life is Strange,” she reassures anyone unsure about their future that life is indeed strange, and you don’t have to figure everything out at the moment. It’s a message that especially resonates with college students in the midst of internship searches, major dilemmas and general angst regarding their future.
On “Karma,” Marina remains steadfast as she tells herself any bad energy someone puts toward her will simply end up getting back to them. “Emotional Machine” is an upbeat track, and definitely the most dance-worthy from the back half of this album. It compares the human psyche to a machine — whenever you feel heartbreak or anything inherently bad, the machine processes it and simply moves on.
While almost every song on Fear stands out for its message, it’s a hit-or-miss endeavor. Songs like “You” or “Too Afraid” fall into the latter category.
After listening to both Love and Fear in their entirety, it’s clear Marina’s innovation as an artist comes not just from being able to update her sound, but her message as well. She knows the best thing for her to do in a highly-polarized, unstable time for many is to provide a body of work that can potentially give them just one piece of uplifting advice. She teaches us how to revel in the good things in life, and bounce back from the bad ones — and there’s not much more we can ask from an artist so concerned with the well-being of humanity.