Write-up #15 by @Music Is Death I’m a writer, so I love creating characters. And I love when other people – especially people who aren’t writers in the traditional, book sense – create characters as well. When I read Marina had created a character and fashioned an entire album around her, I was extremely excited to listen to it. Marina created “Electra Heart” to represent American female archetypes in pop culture – particularly the Beauty Queen, the House Wife, the Homewrecker and the Teen Idle, and she fashioned the songs and lyrical themes around that character – though it mostly comes through in the visual narratives she created for the videos of the album. That said, I think it’s safe to say she imbued a part of herself into this character. After all, a lot of great writers do that as well. They write what they know, and what do we know better than ourselves? Stephen King making at least half of his main characters writers is one of many examples of this I can think of. Another one is myself – so far, every main character I’ve created has been bi, like myself, because I know how to write from that perspective and take from my own experiences. So with that, it’s interesting listening to this album, knowing at least some of it was probably taken from her own life. Especially considering the darkness that permeates the album. Yes, there’s a lot of playful fun to be found here – the opener is a firmly tongue-in-cheek banger with a title to match, and the camp of Homewrecker never fails to put a smile on my face while I dance. And the production in general is hugely danceable and fun, most songs being a call get on your feet. But when you consider certain moments – in the lyrics, the production, her vocals – you get a sense of…discomfort almost. Like something’s off. If you just let yourself go and dance, you might not necessarily notice it. But it’s actually right at the forefront. Hell, on Living Dead, Marina spells it out for us: “I’m living dead. Only alive when I pretend that I have died.” Not the most profound statement sure, but it doesn’t need to be. And there are other moments like this spread throughout the whole album. This album – and I want to make it clear this is strictly my perception of it – is about depression. It’s causes: lost hopes, failed dreams, ended relationships. And it’s effects: hopelessness, self-hatred and destruction, suicidal thoughts. All of this can be seen – or rather heard – through the songs across the album. Yes, there are seemingly moments of joy – the euphoric chorus of The State Of Dreaming being a huge example of this. But even there, it doesn’t last. Electra/Marina even tells us: “Living in the state of dreaming. Living in a make-believe land.” It isn’t real, and she understands that. But that doesn’t mean she can’t enjoy it while it lasts. The darkness and depression comes to a head on Fear & Loathing, where she’s finally ready to move past the emotions she’s been dealing with for so long. And when you consider what the album is about on the surface, it explains even more. Electra Heart is representing these female archetypes, because she’s been trying to live them. And it almost ruined her life. She’s been presented with these types of women in popular American media, and feels like that’s all her life can be, so she’s tried every one and it didn’t work. And again, all of this comes to a head on Fear & Loathing, where she tells us, “I lived a lot of different lives. Been different people many times. I lived my life in bitterness. And filled my heart with emptiness,” and “Got different people inside my head. I wonder which one that they like best. I'm done with tryna have it all. And ending up with not much at all.” She’s done trying to live her life striving to be the kind of woman she’s seen in fiction, because it’s never worked for her. She’s realized that there is more for her in life as a woman then American media ever taught her, and she’s ready to embrace being herself over these parts she’s been playing for who knows how long. The character Marina presented here is honestly one of the most fascinating people I’ve ever thought about, and the fact that she created a fictional character who nearly self-destructed completely because she was trying to act like fictional characters is insanely cool. It’s an interesting concept I would love to see her explore more of, and I’d love to know where Electra Heart is now, but I think I may need to accept that all we’ll have is the hopeful ending Fear & Loathing gives us, and most of the time, that’s enough. Sometimes, a hopeful ending is all we need.