The Family Jewels - Marina and the Diamonds
Metascore
68

Generally favorable reviews - based on 21 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 9 out of 21
  2. Negative: 0 out of 21
  1. The likes of Kate Nash and company have flitted through this piano siren/exuberant dance-diva territory, but never mind, because this gorgeous genre starts now.
  2. An album with a distinct dual personality, Marina’s dazzling ‘The Family Jewels’ pitches the confident, MTV Awards-headlining superstar of our dreams against a more self-deprecating girl-next-door Marina who’s dead set on Supertramping and vamping her way out of her fug.
  3. Marina & The Diamonds convincingly fight off the encroaching talons of expectation by embarking on a rampant, stomping adventure, letting no idea lie when it can be crashed into another loudly and a microphone placed nearby to collect the resulting sparks.
  4. On her debut album, The Family Jewels, Diamandis backs up her bark with a promising bite.
  5. The Family Jewels is a record that is creatively ubiquitous and aggressive, traits that make this album not unlike Amy Winehouse's Back to Black or maybe even Liz Phair's Exile in Guyville.
  6. Her debut skips frrom glam-disco and bubblegum punk, to quavering piano laments and cabaret ditties. All the while, her imaginative reach is complemented by a winning pop savviness. [Mar 2010, p.105]
  7. There is a savvy depth evident throughout ‘The Family Jewels’ which simply cannot be ignored; fun, serious, poppy and unorthodox, it is an album full of contradictions, but one which rarely fails to entertain.
  8. 70
    Ravishing yet famished for attention, this overachiever would be bloody irritating if she didn't demonstrate a savvy command of pop hooks.
  9. The Family Jewels isn't the classic debut album that her early singles suggested was on the way, but there's enough promise here to carry her through the hype.
  10. Marina describes the album as “intricately produced” and that’s where the problem lies. Such attention to detail leaves some of the songs feeling pretty sterile and, as a result, it’s a frustrating listen.
  11. The consistently diverting changes in style across the album are fine--the wonky 80s shoulder-pad pop of The Outsider is nothing like anything else here, for example. But over 13 songs of Sparks-voice and many similar staccato piano riffs listeners may feel bludgeoned by Marina and her slightly overbearing presence.
  12. 60
    A quirky, theatrical record that's full of pomp and self-importance, The Family Jewels is never less than exciting, but it does try a little too hate to be zany. [Mar 2010, p.100]
  13. The closer she gets to herniating herself trying to convince you that you're listening to a crazy avant-garde ­artist making pop music by accident, the more convinced you become that she's a canny operator writing pop songs and then dressing them up in a multicoloured afro wig and glasses with eyeballs on springs.
  14. Averegeness abounds from budding UK starlet.
  15. Although there is definitely musical colour here, Marina’s vocal delivery and attitude has a tendency to overshadow the music, which is often melodically inventive, but we are rarely given the chance to realise this.
  16. The Family Jewels seems to be to be symptomatic of a broader trend at the moment to demand our female artists be both credible and commercial at the expense of achieving anything great in either camp.
  17. ["Hermit the Frog" is] a rare moment of fun, though; mostly Ms. Diamandis doesn’t let herself get comfortable. She’s strongest on the songs that nod, obliquely or otherwise, to fame.
  18. There’s not much variety as a result, despite a wide range of ingredients, and while it’s possible that liking one song could mean liking them all, it’s best to focus on a single track.
  19. Needless to say, that overbearing need to prove herself just ends up being exhausting. But the lady doth protest too much: There are hints of the darker, weirder dance-floor diva she wants to be hiding beneath the avant-garde pretensions of tracks such as “Shampain,” “I Am Not A Robot,” “Guilty,” and “Oh No!”
  20. Unfortunately, her constant insistence on being so ham-fistedly quirky and zany soon becomes wearing, and simultaneously rescues and spoils the whole album.
  21. 40
    All round it makes for a slightly uncomfortable listen. [Apr 2010, p.90]
User Score
9.0

Universal acclaim- based on 58 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 6 out of 6
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 6
  3. Negative: 0 out of 6
  1. Jul 25, 2014
    10
    It’s so refreshing to hear an album by a young, female singer-songwriter that isn’t all about love and boys and heartbreak. Marina Diamandis (AKA Marina & the Diamonds) tackles issues such as ambition, greed, material corruption and celebrity culture. On the rare occasions that she does write about love (in just two songs, as far as I can tell), she approaches it in a much more original, alternative way; “Obsessions” is centred more around her own obsessiveness and insecurity while “Hermit The Frog” cryptically berates a man incapable of showing true love and affection.

    Marina’s lyrics are definitely her strength. At first listen, the bouncy, staccato keyboard riffs, which drive pretty much every track on the album, give the impression that these are all quite upbeat pop songs. When you look deeper into each song, however, you can see that Marina is much darker than this; “it’s my problem if I have no friends and feel I want to die” she sings intentionally overdramatically on “Are You Satisfied?”, yet she still manages to sound utterly sincere. Even on the uplifting “I Am Not A Robot”, Marina sinisterly tells herself “you are so magnetic – you pick up all the pins”. Her vocals help to achieve this edginess as she switches between ominous, delicate highs and deep, menacing lows with ease.

    ‘The Family Jewels’ is as introspective as it is social commentary and it’s this mix that really makes this album something special. Marina looks deep into herself and into society, questioning what it means to be a young woman in “Girls” and analysing our unhealthy obsession with celebrity culture in “Hollywood”, for example. There are just so many layers to this quirky album and I honestly never tire from listening to it. Personal highlights for me are the mischievous “Mowgli’s Road”, the heartbreaking “Obsessions”, the undeniably addictive “Shampain” and the album’s opener, “Are You Satisfied?”, an introduction to Marina’s internal struggles between success and true happiness.
    Full Review »
  2. May 23, 2011
    9
    Marina 'Mad Hatter' Diamandis displays brilliant talent, wicked humour and a sense of complete and utter honesty. Her music is real, it's her and it's very much alive. Full Review »
  3. Aug 28, 2014
    10
    Perfect. Perfect. Perfect. Perfect. Perfect. Perfect. Perfect. Perfect. Perfect. Perfect. Perfect. Perfect. Perfect. Perfect. Perfect. Perfect. Perfect. Perfect. Perfect. Perfect. Perfect. Perfect. Perfect. Perfect. Perfect. Perfect. Perfect. Perfect. Perfect. Perfect. Perfect. Perfect. Perfect. Perfect. Perfect. This is the perfection in form of an album. Full Review »