There’s something terribly interesting about an artist like Marina Diamondis. One of pop’s finest gems, she finds herself among the select group of women, like Mitski, Phoebe Bridgers, and Maggie Rodgers, who walk the line between the mainstream and indie scenes, building a small but extremely potent fan base along the way. However, Marina (now without her diamonds) hasn’t quite managed to garner the critical adoration of her peers and one can only assume that this is because of her willingness to stray closer to pop than them. 2012’s Electra Heart and 2019’s Love + Fear both presented huge pop sounds to various degrees of success (the former remains among the finest pop albums ever made in my opinion, the latter comes nowhere close). Her more alternative leaning efforts, 2010’s The Family Jewels and 2015’s Froot both fared better but still failed to fully capture critics. As Marina ramps up to the release of her upcoming fifth studio record with the release of its lead single ‘Man’s World’, it seems she may finally manage it.
On ‘Man’s World’, Marina abandons the hollow, stale electro-pop of last year’s Love + Fear, returning sonically to a more grounded, instrumental sound that made songs like ‘Happy’ and ‘I’m Not A Robot’ so magical. ‘Man’s World’ builds itself around a dreamy piano that opens up into an electrifying crescendo of guitar and drums. Structurally, the track is fascinating, dipping between atmospheric mid-tempo balladry and thundering alt-pop anthemry and back again. It’s up and down gives the song much more texture, much more edge than the common pop song.
After asking for suggestions of female songwriters and producers to help tell a “story can only be told by women” on her upcoming LP, Marina delivers poignant lyrics that delve far below the surface-level feminism pop often delivers: “If you have a mother, daughter or a friend / Maybe it is time, time you comprehend / The world that you live in / Ain’t the same one as them / So don’t punish me for not being a man”. Marina’s vocals soar high, showing off her ever-impressive range, floating from quiet strength to airy falsettos as the drums beat behind her. “Mother Nature’s dying / Nobody’s keepin score”, she croons, “I don’t wanna live in a man’s world anymore”.
Man’s World is one of those rare songs that ticks every single box, where each drum beat, each word, each vocal choice work seamlessly yet deliberately together to convey its message with crystal clarity. However, it’s also one of those rare songs that propel its artist from arguably their lowest creative point to what may very well be their highest. ‘Man’s World’ is damn near to being a perfect song, but it is most certainly Marina’s perfect reset.