I've been giving this a lot of thought and I've made a decision: Marina and the Diamonds is my favourite pop star.
:: Beyonce? Too imperious.
:: Justin Timberlake? Too long-winded.
:: Katy Perry? Too slick.
:: Robyn? Too "indie".
:: Lady Gaga? Too pretentious.
Marina blends and balances all those qualities in one perfect pop package. Oh, and she's a total fruitcake. A really scrummy fruitcake with a preternatural gift for melody, but a fruitcake nonetheless.
Before she was signed, she auditioned for an all-male reggae boyband. In one of her first videos, she grew mupppet legs and declared "we are the spoons". Another single, Obsessions, described her crippling indecision in the local supermarket's biscuit aisle. Imagine Beyonce singing that. You can't. She'd just buy all the biscuits, smash them to bits, bake them into a cheesecake and ice an empowering feminist message on top. Which is impressive, obviously, but not very relatable.
Marina's songs are irreverent, playful, occasionally juvenile and always unpredictable. In other words, she's a quintessentially British** star. So I'll take her capricious pop over the rest of them, thanks.
Especially in the light of her newest song (and title track to her third album), Froot. Released today in celebration of her 29th birthday, it's got more hooks than a butchers and the lyrics are reliably bonkers: "Baby, I am plump and ripe. I'm pinker than shepherd's delight," she warbles over a percolating electronic mist.
At five-and-a-half minutes long, it doesn't sound like a single - but it bodes well for the new material.
Welcome back, Marina. Pop was duller without you.
* Two apples, in fact#
** Technically Welsh/Greek but who's checking?
# Or could they be nectarines?