I went to see wonderful singing lady Marina & the Diamonds last week. Marina came second in the BBC's Sound of 2010 preview, so my expectations were high.
Her sound is described as theatrical pop, and she's certainly quirky and dramatic. She performs very much as a performer - sometimes aloof, sometimes with gusto, sometimes wry, sometimes heartfelt - and always engaging.
Her songs are lyrically rather wonderful, as she deftly mixes linguistic styles. For instance, she can be singing about lost love, gender identity, or something else wonderfully universal but then drops in a mention of something delightfully pop cultural. It's all wonderfully endearing.
My highlights of the show were:
- Marina's majestic hairflick in song Hollywood when she sings "Actually, my name's Marina" having been compared to Shakira and Catherine Zeta Jones
- A song that may or may not be about gender equality having a reference to Girls Aloud
- The song Shampain with lyrics: "Drinking sham-pain / Made by the angel / Who goes by the name / Of Glitter and Gabriel". It actually sounded like "... the name of Glittery Navel". Both are amazing.
- I'm sure another song had the lyric Home Sweet Gnome Sweet Home
- Marina has a winning way with a tambourine.
And so, the pop equation..
((Kate Bush + Tori Amos) - (piano + plaintive)) x (2010 + pop culture) x (an actress) = Marina & the Diamonds.