Thursday, April 29th, 2021

MARINA – Purge the Poison

Rumors that Marina’s new album comes with a branded bottle of syrup of ipecac are unconfirmed.


Leah Isobel: A classic Marina banger: overripe vocals, questionable lyrics, undeniable hooks.

Ian Mathers: I cannot wait until someone figures out how to seamlessly merge this and “We Didn’t Start the Fire” and uses it to soundtrack a montage of all the Twitter Main Characters from the last couple of years and my head finally explodes.

Dede Akolo: Political music, ~ in these trying times ~, really misses the mark for me. Using direct references to capitalism, #metoo, Britney Spears, quarantine, and American imperialism all feel… trite. This may be my deep pessimism about humanity at the moment but what separates MARINA from say Lorde’s “Perfect Places” is this assertion that we can save the world. While both musicians are making “songs for this generation”, Lorde doesn’t predicate the song thinking we are “witches” or Captain Planet and the Planeteers. This song feels reminiscent of that Tumblr quote, “we are the [descendants] of the witches you weren’t able to burn”. It’s good in theory and must feel good for Diamandis while she was writing and performing it. What falls flat for me is how external it all feels. It is still magical thinking. “[A]ll my friends are witches” “mystical bitches”  borders on Girlboss behavior. The way that Diamandis positions us, feminists, as the solution as if we have control of the situation. Studies show that many people just suck and just are racist and misogynistic. Now that we have the terminology to identify and heal from that bigotry it doesn’t mean we have the means to control it. Never should we give up the fight to protect and serve those persecuted by oppression in public health decisions and policies. However, I can never ‘bop’ to pop songs that treat us like superheroes when in reality… we just aren’t.

Mark Sinker: Billy Joel feminist? Curl your rage into a KISS! Lene Lovich thinks-balloon? Tiktok witches HEX THE MOON! Honestly hard to dislike something this goofily upfront and scatterbrained and absurd, with its wide-eyed grin and its world-changing intentions and its grand daft hook.

Dorian Sinclair: Back in 2012, I pitched an article to a prominent feminist magazine about the gender politics of MARINA (and, at the time, her Diamonds)’s album Electra Heart. While they said yes, the piece never ended up getting finished, because the deeper you drill into the politics of that album, the less coherent they get. Which is fine! I love that album, and not everyone needs to be a Political Artist. The problem is, she clearly wants to be — and while we’ve moved from the realm of subtext firmly into the textual, the analysis is as muddy as ever. “Purge the Poison” is a madlib of topical issues, namechecking basically every political ill you can think of, but in the end it says very little about any of them. That said, at least it’s musically more fun than LOVE + FEAR, even if the slowed-down chorus reprises are badly overwrought.

Samson Savill de Jong: Ah political songs which consist of just listing political things that’ve happened are returning, truly nature is healing. 

Edward Okulicz: If it’s a load of cliches and pop cultural references and hashtags thrown together in an artless way that sounds like it’s supposed to be artful, then that’s as close to a diagnostic as you can get for “is this a MARINA single?” This might be the catchiest Gish Gallop of a song I’ve ever heard.

Oliver Maier: Lots of pushback on the lyrics here, which is to be expected, but there’s precedent for them being the way they are. Marina is rarely not heavy-handed, though this hasn’t really been a problem historically; The Family Jewels was kitschy and precocious enough that it worked in her favour, Electra Heart found its rightful cult audience and Froot mostly reined it in (Love + Fear didn’t have any lyrics, or music). “Purge the Poison,” like preceding single “Man’s World,” rails against a loose series of societal ills in a way that feels earnest and well-intentioned, but also more than a little out of touch. The moments where she speaks metaphorically are generally stronger and more coherent than when she gets clumsily specific. Still, if Matty Healy can howl his way into general critical approval with a bit of manic doomsaying-via-doomscrolling then I’m willing to give Marina a pass for the same thing, not least because it’s as flamboyant and un-selfconscious and catchy as a song by her should be. I’ll take cringe in technicolour over tasteful monochrome most days of the week.

Reader average: [5.33] (3 votes)

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2 Responses to “MARINA – Purge the Poison”

  1. Sadly missed this, but “Love & Fear didn’t have any lyrics, or music” has done me

  2. I couldn’t figure out what I wanted to say about this one, but I found many of these blurbs totally hilarious.

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