MARINA: Activism Through Music
MARINA: Activism Through Music
Ancient Dreams in a Modern Land, the latest album from 35-year-old singer-songwriter MARINA, did not change my life, but it certainly changed my perspective. Released on June 11, 2021, the album is hungry for social justice, and tackles topics like sexism, capitalism, imperialism, toxic romance, pollution, self-love, and much more.
Marina Diamandis began her career with very little experience. Growing up in Wales, the singer couldn’t afford singing lessons outside the school choir, but her inherent love for music carried her from home to Greece and, eventually, to London. For months, Marina obsessed over auditions. She applied to every advertisement that fell in her mailbox, but to no avail. Eventually, inspired by the phenomenon that is social media, Marina developed her original stage name, “Marina and the Diamonds,” and produced her own album on Myspace.
Marina and the Diamonds released four studio albums before changing her name. Electra Heart, her most popular record at one time, was the main cause for this transformation. Marina hated who she had become, a pop artist with little more to talk about than heartbreak and fame. At the time, her producers had pressured her to work with artists and songwriters outside of her comfort zone. Marina sang the songs others wrote for her—words and lessons that were not totally genuine—and years later questioned her choices. “I felt kind of ashamed,” Marina told the New York Times. “Like this isn’t really who I am.”
Eventually, Marina and the Diamonds stepped into the grave and reemerged as simply MARINA. The artist debuted her new identity in 2019 through the album, Love + Fear, which, although powerful, does not hold the same energy as Ancient Dreams in a Modern Land. Her latest collection is unapologetic and eager. From the first chord of the first song, the audience understands that Marina has a message. She is here, not as a character or a facade, but as herself. Through her ten songs, Marina makes comments on government, money, and the social damnation of artists like Britney Spears, but above all, this album is a pledge to women. Marina’s music is “tied to a degrading of the feminine” and why “the way we treat people is linked to our connection to the planet.”
In my opinion, Marina is an advocate for humanity. Beneath her criticism, she reveres human nature and asserts that the future is hopeful, so long as we remember who we are. Whether you are male, female, or non-binary, I urge you to give this album a listen. If you’re still unsure, I have provided a list of the album’s songs, alongside a few powerful quotes that I believe will be quite persuasive.
Reilly, Phoebe. “Marina’s Music Was Caught Between Worlds. Now She’s Making Her Own.” The New York Times, 1 June 2021. NYTimes.com, https://www.nytimes.com/2021/06/01/arts/music/marina-ancient-dreams-in-a-modern-land.html.
“MARINA: Ancient Dreams in a Modern Land.” Pitchfork, https://pitchfork.com/reviews/albums/marina-ancient-dreams-in-a-modern-land/. Accessed 28 July 2021.