This Anya Marina article was written by Steven Loftin, a GIGsoup contributor. Edited by Catherine Quinn. Photo by Parker Fitzgerald.
There’s something wonderfully innocent yet completely aware about Anya Marina’s upcoming fourth release ‘Paper Plane’. Presented as a series of love letters throughout numerous stages of a relationship, the lyrical content is easily approachable, because, and this is where the genius lies, we’ve all been there.
The album opener ‘Gimme Resurrection’ is disgustingly catchy. It’s almost sickening how much more positive your mind becomes once the chorus of “Oh, oh, oh…” lodges itself firmly in there. “I don’t want a yes man, show me some fear” is Marina’s way of appealing to the side of us that wants to make people happy, but understands that sometimes you’ve got to piss someone off to really get somewhere.
This theme continues into ‘Ordinary Dude’. Once again, the happy-go-lucky attitude towards love worms its way into your head, with backing vocals by Eric Hutchinson that perfectly meld into Marina’s celestial singing.
Thankfully, at this point the twee songwriting style takes a pause, instead it takes an almost prowling approach. ‘My Mama Said It’ begins soulfully, before transitioning into a soft rocker with dark elements, especially in the form of the bridge toward the end of the song. Continuing these modern soul-stylings, ‘Shut Up’ is slow to build but makes sense once it returns to a slower tempo. It represents the stages of a fling that shouldn’t happen, “do you know the value of this, would you even know how to invest it?” The slow, tentative build into the stirring excitement mid-way alludes to the passion igniting, but soon returns to its slower state, the natural progression into sanity away from passion.
‘Is This Love’ is the record’s most seductive moment. You find yourself taken through Marina’s mind in its most lustful form, “tell me all your fantasies, I’ll bring them all to life, I’ll be a freak, between the sheets”. This is where her innocence gives way to awareness. Playing upon her ability to switch from naive songstress to twee temptress, it’s all accentuated by the acoustic guitar and drum machine accompaniment.
Throughout this record you find yourself on the intended journey, luckily though, the minor changes in style every other song keeps you on your toes. That is until an unexpected, but now obvious, cover of ‘Power of Love’. Marina turns the track from an 80’s rocker to a modern, almost smooth jazz/soul rocker, adding a whole new dimension to the song. Twinkling piano lines, crunching reverb-ed guitars and soft percussion drive home this little surprise.
The last quarter of the album starts slow with ‘Candy’ and ‘Snowflake’, but enters mildly experimental territory with ‘We Were Happy Once’, which is more electronic based but in the lighter meaning of the genre – it’s large in sound and signals the end of the record. The finale, ‘Go To Bed’, is a jazzy, adult upbeat lullaby, singing us through the realities of modern relationships, seeing us off with just her piano – the hammers hitting the string, adds a quaint touch – and the softly sung “turn out the lights, you’ll have a wonderful, magical, beautiful, storybook life”.