This November, Marina (previously known as Marina and The Diamonds) released her new single “Man’s World,” combining heavenly vocals with lyrics filled with anger and vexation. In these recent times, all around the globe, the tension building up against the patriarchy has been growing and women’s rage is becoming almost impossible to contain. Marina has captured this frustrated restlessness and transformed it into something beautifully tragic and fiercely encouraging. Not only is the song an anthem for all of those who identify as women but the music video that followed the single’s release is bursting with colorful visuals and much-needed inclusivity.
Already in the first verse, Marina references a horrifyingly unjust punishment once given to women for often no reason at all. She sings, “Burn me at the stake, you thought I was a witch / Centuries ago, now you just call me a bitch.” Many things have changed since those dark days for women but Marina calls attention to how these evil practices have only just transformed into new forms instead of being entirely eradicated by modernity, as they should be. Moving onto the chorus, the lyrics read, “Mother Nature’s dying / Nobody’s keeping score / I don’t want to live in a man’s world anymore.” Marina presents us with a sentiment so raw and candid, born out of frustration, pain, and fear as her vocals slowly build, with the rising support from the drums and simple electric guitar riff, all adding to the ever-constant piano.
Perhaps the most powerful lyrics are found in her call to all non-women, as she sings, “If you have a mother, daughter, or a friend / Maybe it’s time, time you comprehend / The world that you live in ain’t the same one as them / So don’t punish me for not being a man.” These lines quite honestly gave me chills. The plea tugs at your heart, reminding listeners of the sad reality that many of these non-women need to personally know and care about a specific woman in their life in order to feel empathy for them.
The music video for “Man’s World” premiered the same day as the single, immediately breathing life into the song itself. Looking like a Greek goddess, Marina appears, wearing a sheer pink dress and bandana paired with a pop of green eyeliner. The scene seems like an old painting, moving on to showcase a diverse range of women adorned in toga-style outfits in a wide collection of bright hues. All except Marina are wearing masks, perhaps a nod to the COVID-19 pandemic that continues to especially worsen in countries that are run by men.
The set then changes to a much broader landscape, as we are brought to see the guitar being played by a woman, which can, unfortunately, be a rare sight in music, even today. Now dressed in neon green and blue, Marina records herself on her phone in front of an ornate golden mirror, which seems to be the latest selfie trend. All in a line, Marina and the others dance gracefully with a glass of a cherry-colored drink in their hands, occasionally cutting to a shot reminiscent of Michelangelo’s painting, “The Creation of Adam.” Combining modernity with classical artwork dating back thousands of years, Marina appears to be symbolically noting the ever-lasting span of time in which women have faced oppression. The fight for equality began at the very beginning of time and continues through history all the way up to today, with no satisfactory end yet in sight.
With their bodies flowing effortlessly and fueled with passion, the characters soon get close-ups of their faces without a mask to cover their faces, their expressions, their light. Flowing back and forth between their solemn faces in the daylight and their carefree dancing in the approaching darkness of the night, we see pain and joy. No longer having to worry about a glass in their hand designed to keep them careful and subdued, they dance and twirl under the moonlight with enchanted delight.
In the lead single for her upcoming record, Marina paints a marvelous picture of spirited passion and resilience. A stunningly poignant debut, “Man’s World” encapsulates rage and fuses it with elegance and empowerment. It sets the stage for her approaching album and feeds listeners with feminine fury held in melodic ethereal daydream pop.