by: leigha stuiso

A good album doesn’t always have to be a grand release that tries to pull out all the stops. Sticking to what works for an artist and being cohesive can lead to their best work. Anya Marina’s new album Queen of the Night is exactly that. It is a cohesive piece of work where Marina’s voice floats over the lyrics like she is tracing them with her voice. 15 years after the release of her first album, this might be her best album yet. Queen Of The Night was written and recorded in part in Nashville with several producers (K.S. Rhoads / “Love the Most”, Katie Herzig / “Lucky Star”) and San Diego (with Brian Karscig of Louis XIV and Nervous Wreckords on “Just Calling”) but mostly in NYC with producer/artist Miles Francis (Last Word, Creeps, Can’t Nobody Love You, Nothing, The Man, 16 Letters, Ain’t Misbehavin’) and Christopher Kuffner (“Broken Bottles”) from A Great Big World. 

Opening with the title-track, “Queen of the Night”, was a strong choice by Marina. Listening to the song, you can picture it becoming an anthem. “Last Word” is a hazy dream where her voice drags through the pain of pretending. Things pick up with “Broken Bottles” as Marina sings, “hard to be wrong, worse to be right / stuck in the middle of a losing fight,” over a mid-tempo beat. Similar to the sound of artists such as Ingrid Michaelson and Regina Spektor, Marina has a certain characteristic to her music that is present in every song. There is an unmistakable quality that you have to admire in Marina’s work. 

“Me and My Phone”, one of the singles off the record, jazzes things up. The chorus has a deep bass that feels nostalgic. “Can’t Nobody Love You” is a testament to the love Marina gives, no one can compare. It is the perfect slow dance song for a wedding. “Lucky Star” combines all the elements used in the album, but with layered vocals for an echo effect. It is the most ambitious song on the album, and might be a fan favorite. Similarly, “Just Calling” has echoed vocals but takes on the story of a breakup. Marina is known for pulling off great covers of songs, like T.I.’s “Whatever You Like”, and she does it again. This time she slows down Taylor Swift’s “The Man”, but does it gracefully. If you weren’t a fan of the song, you will be now. Overall, there wasn’t a single song that made you want to skip over or made you think it was a throwaway that snuck onto the tracklist. Everything makes sense and is in its place. 

The prolific singer-songwriter is no stranger to success as she was a part of the platinum-selling soundtrack to Twilight: New Moon, her music appeared in TV shows like 13 Reasons Why and Grey’s Anatomy and she opened for Nikki Glaser in theaters across the U.S.. Marina has been independently releasing her music and will continue to do so with Queen of the Night. With great style and sound, Marina didn’t need to do anything except be her authentic self for this album.

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