Single Review: Marina & The Diamonds – ‘Oh No!’

There are a bunch of popstars, are who many consider to have a very marmite voice. Right at the top of this list and leading the parade is Mika, closely followed by La Roux, Diana Vickers, Sophie Ellis-Bextor, and fourth prize goes to Niel Tennant; Pixie Lott’s live voice isn’t universally likeable either. Now, call me old-fashioned, but aside from the music, a popstars voice is something that needs to be as likeable as the music, in order to appeal to the ultimate market; it needs to work and mesh with the music, but more importantly it needs to be definable, so that you don’t just sound like a rip-off of someone else. Please take note OLLY MURS.

Mind you, one could argue Niel Tennant’s voice fits with the music he and Chris Lowe make rather well… the icy androgyny annunciating every vowel adds a layer of intrigue to his voice, which is quite a difference when compared to most popstars of today, who just turn up to work to sing. I mean come ON, you need to do more than just SINGING. You need to feel the lyrics and sing them like you mean the message they convey, y’know?

Oh, and add Justin Bieber’s voice somewhere between Pixie and Diana.

But even so, all these people have had phenomenal success – they’ve all achieved at least one #1 single, for starts – whether you like their voice or not, they all have something far more obviously likeable about them, whether it be song-writing talent and charm; a striking visage; the popularity of a nation thanks to reality TV; or just because you make great music; they have ways of winning the public’s love, and we can all forget about their vocals.

But, if you were to consider the vocals, it’s important to note how some people are gifted with the voice they use on their records – like La Roux, Mika, Sophie, and Niel Tennant, all have voices they were born with which they utilise on their records, with maybe a little bit of editing invovled. People like Diana Vickers, Olly Murs or Pixie Lott seem to alter their voice deliberately: Pixie pretends to do melisma and ends up sounding like a drunk dinosaur, Diana pretends she’s never drunk a glass on water in her life and cleary eats ash for lunch, and Olly pretends to be Will Young, so it’s okay to find these people’s voices annoying.

Marina Diamandis also has an ‘annoying’ voice, in the sense she put on some kind of faux operatic style for most of her songs, then occasionally exercising an excruciating falsetto that would turn La Roux and Mika green with envy. But one thing Marina does do very well is capture the mood of the music, she even manages to do it in the title, as only Marina would actually be quite that camp she’d put an exclamation mark in the title.

The song is one whole camp-fest, with Marina joining the ever-growing group of people lampooning the ridiculous fake celebrity culture, only this time, Marina fancies herself as one. She blurts on about how she “just wants to make a change”, and how she “walks and talks like a machine”, taking the mickey out of how fake celebrities are going to do as much change as putting a spotted cardigan on a Dalmatian; she shows she can pen a near-perfect chorus with plenty of hooks and a hilariously arrogant “Oh!, oh no!, oh no!/Oh no! Oh!” hook-line to end.

And just when you thought her camp-ish hilarity couldn’t be exercised any further than the music and the vocals, you should see it’s video.

Her voice may be annoying; it may be put on, but in this song her vocals appear very tongue ‘n’ cheek, and rightly so. Whilst this song comes of as the kind of song that would please a group of eight year olds, it’s also very mature in it’s foundations.

Hats off to Marina for this song, which is a far better song than ‘I Am Not A Robot’. But I warn you: have this song on replay, and it’s sugary-coated bubble-gum pop make you actually want to listen to Jedward.

Rating: 4.0 STARS

Download: August 2, 2010 (OUT NOW)

Featured Album: ‘The Family Jewels’

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