Marina and the Diamonds: ‘The Major Label Culture of Co-Writing Albums Is Bullsh*t’

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Marina Diamandis (aka Marina and the Diamonds) is releasing her third album FROOT next week via Atlantic. She has some interesting creative direction this album cycle. The campaign includes monthly fruit themes and merch, and scratch-n-sniff vinyl.

Diamandis may be a pop star, but she’s artistically in control of the project. The following quotes are from an interview with the BBC:

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If I’d never worn any make-up, and turned up in a little white t-shirt and jeans, I think I’d be viewed differently. But when you have a theatrical, distinctive image people get distracted. They think it’s more shine than artistry.

“When you’re seen as a pop star, people think of you as this weird ‘thing’ and you don’t get any adult conversations…”

“Why am I the only artist on a major label that has written a whole album by themselves? I think that’s weird. That’s weird.

“I want to change the culture of all these bullshit co-writes where no-one’s saying anything.

“I want to inspire people.

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28 Responses

  1. Anonymous

    amen…

    pop gets a bad name, and it shouldnt, pop the music can and is great, its the surrounded b.s. of it all that sullies it…

    its the nature of the beast, a pyramid hierarchy where you start as a low level soldier and must pay your dues, by writing for already balling family stars and then by making sure the other tenured producers and writers get their cut, and then once you go work hard and long enough, if youve shipped enough units, then maybe youll get your chance…

    unless of course you are born rich or in the family, then its all gravy and good times, otherwise its like anything else, start low, yes sir no sir how high sir, and then maybe one day youll have made enough money for them that they will relinquish the reins a little bit…

    none of their scheme has anything to do with music or doing it right or making the best art or even the best commerce, its just typical pyramid playing where you tow the line long enough taking orders and being a silent diligent employee in hopes that one day perhaps youll have the corner office…

    i do appreciate what shes done on this album, very rare indeed, in any genre…

    Reply
    • SONIQUARIUMMUZIKA

      POP IS #)*#$

      It’s a dumb’d down industry with clowns running the game. POP of the past may have had a “Soul” but now,it’s pure garbage much like David Guetta’s “Two Note” piano hooks. Pop in general is for the masses, who, well we all know how the saying goes.

      It is good that this POP artist has the control she has over her material. However, this does not take away from the fact that POP music in General is Garbage.

      Reply
      • Anonymous

        It is good that this POP artist has the control she has over her material. However, this does not take away from the fact that POP music in General is Garbage.

        Do you slobber up the acts of yesteryear for being true arteests?

        Because the beatles et all were the same thing, its always the same thing, but there is good and there is bad, and Pop music and Rock Music and R&B Music and basically all popular genres, are all very basic and oftentimes simple three note grooving masterpieces… Not everyone likes some 7 minute prog rock guitar noodling from some ostentatious classically trained snooty type muso who figures putting the most epic chord changes and constant key changes, to me thats often the worst music, music made by all these scholarly trained musos who think basic music is awful for its often simple rhythms and melodies and wonder why their ridiculously complicated chord and note and key structures arent placed on their rightful pedastal, well geez, because its just blah, no emotion no energy no feeling no anything but textbook boringness… classical isnt for everyone either, but then again, classical itself is oftentimes quite simple and usually based on emotion and energy and story telling etc. and not just showing off the classically trained berkley or whatever textbook chops…

        People forget that music is all about emotion and energy, about feeling, and then sometimes its just about partying and having fun and entertaining people

        Reply
    • Sarah

      It seems like maybe she objects to people being named co-writers when they didn’t actually (or meaningfully) contribute?
      Based on “I want to change the culture of all these bullshit co-writes where no-one’s saying anything.”
      But these quotes out of context are a bit vague.

      Reply
        • Anonymous

          …and that’s actually a very good and interesting point.

          Hardly no one ever questions that room-full-of-people culture — and yet it is essential to the current sound.

          Imagine what we would lose if novels were written the same way.

          Reply
          • There is something...

            But it’s also a very “american” trend. In Europe and Japan, most songs are made by 1 or 2 writers. You may have one lyricist and another writer for the music.

        • Versus

          Aren’t co-writing bands exactly that? Again, nothing necessarily wrong with it.

          The issue is the attitude/goal, not the number of people.

          If Marina’s point is to criticize the reverse-engineered trend-following cookie-cutter approach to generic pop “hits”, then I sincerely agree. However, an individual writer can be just as guilty as a group of that vacuous modus operandi.

          Reply
    • JTVDigital

      Not sure what she meant exactly, but aren’t people surprised to see that in most major labels productions, they need an army of “writers” to create sh*t pop songs’ lyrics?
      The reality is, and that is very common, assigning writers shares to people surrounding the projects is a way to compensate them for something they may have done to help, at some point.
      So in that scenario yes co-writing is bs.

      Reply
    • JTVDigital

      Not sure what she meant exactly, but aren’t people surprised to see that in most major labels productions, they need an army of “writers” to create sh*t pop songs’ lyrics?
      The reality is, and that is very common, assigning writers shares to people surrounding the projects is a way to compensate them for something they may have done to help, at some point.
      So in that scenario yes co-writing is bs.

      Reply
  2. GGG

    I don’t think that’s what she meant to say…or at least I hope not.

    Nothing wrong with songwriters being songwriters, and co-writing if they want. I do agree there should be a higher percentage of legitimately musically talented pop stars, as opposed to the slew of mediocrity we have, but still, nothing wrong with a co-write.

    Reply
    • Anonymous

      Agree.

      Co-writing is good some of the time — and perhaps even most of the time, given the existing talent pool — but all the time?

      It would be interesting, once again, to take the chance with one person — not for a month, but for years — and see how far s/he could go.

      Reply
    • There is something...

      Collaboration is not always a bad thing but… but when you have 4-6 writers for a 3 minutes song like the trend with have now in Top40 pop music, I really think it’s going too far.

      Reply
      • GGG

        Well right, I think that’s what she meant, and I agree. The same handful of writers being pushed onto every record to make the same generic “hit” song is bad and boring.

        Co-writing, conceptually, isn’t bad, though. The labels just need to put faith in more adventurous writers.

        Reply
        • There is something...

          I like co-write when you have a good lyricist paired with a good musician. Not everyone is good at both, and it’s clearly a different form of art. Well of course, when lyrics are all about “being drunk in the club”, you don’t really need a lyricist…

          Reply
          • Anonymous

            Well of course, when lyrics are all about “being drunk in the club”, you don’t really need a lyricist…

            Funny then how those songs always have credits of producers and writers etc. that make petitions on paper that wrap around buildings multiple times look like a single slice of toilet paper…

            The true professionals, the super star deities of our time, the most awesome most epic the greatest ever, the only ones worthy of major label and music business support, the ones we are supposed to kneel to and sit aorund aspiring to be, the true artists, the real deals, the Gods of our time who are better then all of us, oh me lord how gallant and perfect thou are, what glorious beautiful work they bless us with, so happy thou are here, placed upon thine pederast for us all to worship in their greatness…

            Thank goodness they get hammered in my face and down my throat and in my ears all the time, force fed to me like im some boxed up chained up cattle having growth hormone gmo grain force fed into my esophagus all so i can be fattened up for the slaughtering line and shipped out to the great a peoples for feasting, how superb, pass the butter, salt and pepper would ya, me gots some grizzle to fry..

            🙂

          • Versus

            Surely you meant “being drunk in da club”. These small differences are very important for street credibility.
            Please add me as a co-writer now, since that was my idea, and essential to this song becoming a hit.

        • Anonymous

          They don’t care anymore, they’ve obviously sold out to the highest bidder, its gone corporate and music is just an after thought now, its awful, we need some way to shut it all off on demand, I don’t want a millisecond of their garbage shoved in my face like I’m starpped into their electric chair, contaminating my life and my precious garden of eden with their b.s., my brain is too precious to be manipulatedand sullied with their anything but family friendly show, lyuing thieving people ruining dbags…

          Reply
        • Anonymous

          “The labels just need to put faith in more adventurous writers”

          Agree.

          Then again, you don’t feel compelled to take chances when your main concern is survival.

          Reply
  3. Tcooke

    Shouldn’t it be obvious what she objects to, like Nina said, but expanding, it is a manufacturing plant. Probably more akin to an MBA project at times. I don’t think however informing mass listeners of the “deception” will make any difference.

    Reply
    • Anonymous

      “I don’t think however informing mass listeners of the “deception” will make any difference.”

      I’m not so sure about that.

      I think people miss the sound — and impact — of one really distinct voice.

      Reply
  4. Anonymous

    “Why am I the only artist on a major label that has written a whole album by themselves? I think that’s weird. That’s weird.”

    lol wat

    Reply
  5. Anonymous

    Yes! Keep 100% of your publishing!! If you’re talented enough to write a great song withOUT a co-writer, that is. (Not to mention your publisher and music supervisors clearing your songs will bow before you)

    Reply
  6. Anonymous

    This has been a thing on and off for over 50 years- any time there was a lack of artists that could write their own songs. We’re in a co-write leg of the cycle, so if you don’t like it, just wait a while. Or go write a great song and sing it.

    Reply
  7. FarePlay

    A. Why does this post exist.

    B. And why are the usual suspects, at least those who aren’t anonymous, commenting?

    Reply
  8. FarePlay

    Nina, sometimes your posts read like press releases from the promotions department. I mean scratch and sniff vinyl and she’ll have a monthly “FROOT” themed campaign. I’m surprised Harry & David aren’t a co-sponsor.

    “I don’t want to be perceived as a star, just because I’m a hottie.”. Read between the lines, “I’m drop dead gorgeous, but I’m a musician/songwriter, whatever first.”

    “I’m the ONLY artists that’s written an entire album by myself”. She must not listen to a lot of music by other artists.

    So Nina, you tell me. Why?

    Reply

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