Sunday, February 24th, 2019

Marina – Handmade Heaven

Shorten your name, increase your score. Foolproof plan, right?


Alfred Soto: Shedding the Diamonds but gaining in preciousness, Marina waxes poetic about bluebirds and heaven in a pristine inflexible electropop arrangement. With more fulsome bad taste, she could’ve avoided what is the music equivalent of an Oscar prestige picture.

Joshua Minsoo Kim: Nauseating in its prim production and prosaic lyricism, “Handmade Heaven” finds Marina making her own Lana Del Rey track. The images it conjures up are characterized by perfectly-behaved fauna and garish overexposure. It veers toward new age sentimentality but never quite gets there; this heaven’s a fraudulent promise.

Iris Xie: We’re going to die in 30 years, right? Maybe 1000? Whenever we do, the predictions for the state of mankind constantly warps, with all-caps headlines flashing with new deadlines, new timelines, and no concrete solutions. Marina taps into and pares down those anxieties with a song that sounds closer to a lullaby than a pop song. “Handmade Heaven” is a reminder to wrap oneself in a kind of rapture that comes from understanding your own personal agency in looking at the world, and to take in an endless beauty from it. It’s very easy to be jaded, exhausted, and hateful for a bleak future, but it is much harder to turn towards the present moment and see the beauty and to let yourself ‘come alive.’ I initially hated this song and gave it a 2, then I decided to stop hating my anxiety, reexamine my sense of helplessness, and relistened to the song, so I think she might have a point.

Stephen Eisermann: Marina has always had a stunning voice, even if it was previously masked behind pop banger after pop banger, but here the delicate production and harmonies she provides for herself really showcase her vocal ability. Marina interprets the lyric about not feeling like she belongs with such grace that you can’t help but relate and recall times of discomfort;  listening through is a journey that culminates in a magical experience where you feel supported by Marina as she fills your ears with different harmonies, comforting you and reminding you that, yes, you do belong.

Katherine St Asaph: So, like, if your stage name refers to your fans, doesn’t that kind of lock you into not dropping the fans part? Not great optics if you do, right? We ask such questions when we can’t think of a single salient thing about the song. (About a Marina song! Even the bad singles were at least wacky-bad.)

Tobi Tella: Some songs have very lofty goals, and some set out for a very specific thing and do it well, and the latter is where this falls for me. Everything about this song is calming and exemplifies the idea of inner peace, from the soft production to the slight yet not empty lyrics. It’s nice to see a reliable pop artist come back just as strong as they left – – bluebirds and Marina forever!

Alex Clifton: I lived in Marina’s first album when I was eighteen, to the surprise of no-one; glossy pop about depression and anxiety spoke to me deeply. Since that album (nearly a decade ago!) Marina’s sound has evolved into something more ethereal and spacious, with mixed results. “Handmade Heaven” evokes Lana Del Rey without the dark melodrama, but sadly without a clear sense of feeling either. Marina sounds lovely, but I’m underwhelmed.

Pedro João Santos: The now Diamond-less Marina steers away from FROOT mania, trying her hand at fragile, synthetic utopia. It comes nearly perfectly assembled (avoiding another hand-involving pun), but errs on the squeaky-clean side of things, when it really could do with a bit more of a fever dream. It’s like her own “Get Free”, only void of the unfolding catharsis, the pitch-perfect melody and a lawsuit.

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3 Responses to “Marina – Handmade Heaven”

  1. I wish she would’ve gone full Spotify-core with the name change and rebranded as MRNA

  2. here for a drum & bass track produced by MRSA and featuring MRNA and MNDR on vocals

  3. remixes by MNEK and MUNA

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