Plug and Play ST1: Song Structure and Analysis

Marina and the Diamonds: Obsessions

This song from Marina’s first album, The Family Jewels, is, as far as I can tell, a breakup song. In more depth, it’s a song about a sufferer of obsessive-compulsive disorder ending her relationship with a boyfriend that doesn’t understand how her illness affects her.

The structure is pretty standard. The first verse establishes the theme of this song (the aforementioned breakup), particularly with the line ‘Won’t you quit your crying? I can’t sleep.’ It’s clear that whoever she shares her bed at night with doesn’t get her illness. It’s not unusual for somebody with OCD to become overwhelmed at times when there is nothing to concentrate on but their own thoughts, hence the crying. Yet her boyfriend essentially dismisses her.

The chorus expands on the idea of a breakup by telling the listener that she wants to change the way she thinks when she’s around him. ‘I want to wipe out all the sad ideas that come to me when I am holding you,’ supports this point but, another interpretation could be that she wants to change the way she thinks about her boyfriend because she loves him and knows her thoughts are fuelled by her mental health.

In the bridge, we hear a sort of antiphony between two vocal lines, one repeating ‘we’ve got obsessions,’ and the other ‘made you weak.’ My view on this is that the two voices are complementary, one establishes the problem, weakness, the other establishes the cause, obsessions.

Overall I think this is a fantastic song with lyrical content that is both mature and subtle. Looking at this song knowing how Marina has developed makes it exciting to listen to; it shows that even as a young artist she was capable of writing great songs and adds weight to the notion that she’ll continue to go from strength to strength in her music.



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