The Family Jewels - Marina and the Diamonds
The Family Jewels Image

Generally favorable reviews - based on 21 Critics What's this?

User Score

Universal acclaim- based on 52 Ratings

Your Score
0 out of 10
Rate this:
  • 10
  • 9
  • 8
  • 7
  • 6
  • 5
  • 4
  • 3
  • 2
  • 1
  • 0
  • 0
  • Summary: The Wales-born Greek singer-songwriter releases her debut full-length album.
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. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 40
    All round it makes for a slightly uncomfortable listen. [Apr 2010, p.90]

See all 21 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 5 out of 5
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 5
  3. Negative: 0 out of 5
  1. Jul 25, 2014
    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.
  2. Oct 2, 2011
    A real pop singer get the charge that Madonna left for someone to catch on. Kylie Minogue got it in "Aphrodite", and now Marina Diamandis deliver this in "The Family Jewels". With powerful vocals, noisy drums, and sticky lyrics, she got the essence for making an intelligent album, popular, but not too popular. "Shampain", "Mowgli's Road", "Hermit The Frog" e "Oh No!" give us one the best pop songs of 2010. Expand
  3. May 23, 2011
    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. Expand
  4. Feb 21, 2011
    A good debut. Not perfect, but good. It has some catchy songs, some nice songs, some meaningful songs and some not so good songs. I personally enjoyed this album, it's feel good music with quirk, but i feel this album does lack in parts, i can't quite put my finger on what is lacking. But all in all - good pop album that's worth a listen. Expand
  5. Mar 24, 2012
    Marina Diamandis is simply brilliant. She has a very unique voice, she is a great musician and a talented songwriter. "The Family Jewels" her first effort, revolves around the much used topic of fame, but Marina approaches it with a lot of personality. "Are You Satisfied?", "Shampain" or "Mowgli's Road" are atipycal songs, but great songs nonetheless. She also tries some more pop friendly sounds with "Hollywood" and "Oh No!" and she does it very well. It's not a perfect album, it has some flaws, but it is very solid, and more importantly, very intelligent. It is a shame that she didn't make it big, but she wasn't so mainstream after all. I'm sure her next efforts will be, at least, as good as this one. She has it.

    Highlights: Are You Satisfied?, Hermit The Frog, Oh No!