“Don’t underestimate the making of life / The planet has a funny way of stopping a fight.”
Marina, the Artist Formerly Known as Marina + The Diamonds, has returned to the mess that’s America (well, and much of the rest of the world) once more.
One year after Love + Fear, the “Bubblegum Bitch” herself arrived right in time with the first taste of her new music in the form of “Man’s World” on Wednesday (November 18), an intentionally all-femme affair.
The song, as well as her upcoming project, began a year ago after she learned that women account for only two percent of producers and three percent of engineers involved in popular music.
“I’m creating my next project, and this story can only be told by women,” she announced at the time. And that is exactly what she’s done.
“Man’s World” was co-produced by Jennifer Decilveo (who also produced Beth Ditto‘s Fake Sugar) and engineered by Emily Lazar (Sia‘s “Chandelier,” among other feats), along with a music video featuring a creative team led by filmmaker/photographers Alexandra Gavillet and Coughs. Remixes by some favorite female acts like MUNA and Empress Of are still to come.
While Love + Fear offered a more universal approach following the smash success of “Baby” with Clean Bandit, “Man’s World” feels more like a lyrically sharp return to the Marina we’ve known and loved ever since the Family Jewels and Electra Heart days. And sonically, it feels like a more guitar-driven, hypnotic flavor of her organic Froot.
There’s a certain phrase we say over and over on Legends Only: “we do not stan men in this house.” Basically, this is the musical equivalent – with a much more eloquent touch.
“Mother nature’s dying / Nobody’s keeping score / I don’t wanna live in a man’s world anymore,” she croons.
As she’s done ever since her 2009 debut, the always outspoken singer-songwriter tackles power imbalance (power and control, if you will), climate change, witch hunts and centuries of injustice against women and the LGBTQ community, supplying some razor-sharp, deeply sarcastic social commentary (“Owned by a sheik who killed thousands of gay men, I guess that’s why he bought the campest hotel in LA then“) while beautifully putting the Straight White Male-led patriarchy on blast, as always.
“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.”
The accompanying video is a gorgeous pairing of past-meets-present, blending the palette of classic paintings with pandemic-chic face masks and mirror selfies as Marina lives her best modern goddess life.
“I’ve been inspired by this artist who made these neoclassical paintings in the late 1800s named John William Godward. They use these very modern color compositions like mint green with chartreuse or magenta. That was the center of the whole video and the main visual inspiration,” she explained to Vogue.
And yes, a full record is on the way – and it’s going to be very different from Love + Fear, at least in terms of how she’s feeling now.
“At that time in my life, I just felt very unsure about everything. I was coming off two years of just feeling very depressed in ways where I started to doubt my decision-making. But I feel very different on this record. I think I’m much more confident and my life’s more balanced,” she went on to tell Vogue.
“It’s a surprising record sonically. It feels rich and warm. Thematically it’s definitely sociopolitical but there’s a real broad message in terms of the themes I’m writing about. It’s all very hodgepodge. The way I write isn’t conceptual anymore, it’s just what’s happening at that moment in time.”
“Man’s World” is certainly dense in subject matter, but Marina has a way of making even the most bitter froot in life taste sweet. And although it was once meant to be released much earlier in 2020 (at Coachella, actually), the timing of this song – as the Toddler-In-Chief throws a daily tantrum for not getting his way – couldn’t be better.
In Marina, we trust. And thankfully, so does she again.
This song is featured on the MuuTunes Spotify playlist.
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Photo credit: Atlantic Records