Yesterday marked the 10th anniversary of The Family Jewels, the artist formerly known as Marina & the Diamonds' debut album. An eccentric examination of "the seduction of commercialism, modern social values, family and female sexuality," the album announced 24-year-old Marina Diamandis as an alt-pop act to watch, in the tradition of Kate Bush and Regina Spektor.
Released one full year before The Family Jewels, Diamandis' debut single first appeared in demo form on her MySpace in June 2008. Described by the artist as a "very bare and exposed” song “about seeing someone for what they are," it perfectly encapsulated her unique perspective on love and neuroses.
The album's Jungle Book referencing second single was described by one critic as "Gary Glitter, but if he kept pictures of The Wicker Man and some nice cutlery on his hard drive instead of that other stuff." It received considerable attention after being shared on the blogs of Kanye West (remember kanyeuniversecity.com?) and Perez Hilton.
Diamandis took shots at American pop culture on The Family Jewels' third single, and delivered what would go down as some of her most iconic lyrics: He said, "Oh my god, you look just like Shakira / No, no, you're Catherine Zeta!" / "Actually, my name's Marina." For the accompanying music video, she cavorted with cheerleaders, Elvis Presley impersonators and pageant queens.
"I Am Not a Robot"
On the album’s fourth single, Diamandis directed her incisive lyrics inward. The song would land on several year-end best of lists (Clash Magazine called it "infectious") and, nearly a decade later, become her third single to be certified gold by the RIAA.
Produced by Greg Kurstin during a trip to Los Angeles, "Oh No!" was written after The Family Jewels had already been mastered. Diamandis described it as a companion piece to "Mowgli's Road" and credited it with "[making her] feel confident again after a shaky six months."
Described as the lightest track on the album, its final single was the first for which Diamandis shared writing credit (with producers Liam Howe and Pascal Gabriel). She would later claim she was forced to release it, believing it would have been better suited for someone like Kylie Minogue.
"I Am Not a Robot"
Source 1, 2, 3
What's your favorite song off The Family Jewels?