“Ancient Dreams in a Modern Land” was released in June 2021 courtesy Atlantic Records

“Ancient Dreams in a Modern Land”: album of duality

The album of my summer, “Ancient Dreams in a Modern Land,” takes you on a journey from elation to reflection.

“Ancient Dreams in a Modern Land” defined my summer. Clocking in at 36 minutes and 10 songs, this is Marina’s fifth studio album. It is unapologetically Marina in all the best ways. This album feels like a perfect blend of her earlier work, like “Electra Heart,” and more recent albums such as “Love + Fear.” It has Marina’s usual thoughtful lyrics, which are feminist and self-reflective in nature, and vocals that are breathtakingly powerful.

The first four songs on the album have elements of disco-pop, which had me dancing all summer long. “Ancient Dreams in a Modern Land,” the title track, sets the tone for the album. Marina sends a strong message with the line “you don’t have to fit into the norm / you are not here to conform.” This is something that Marina has adhered to her entire career and it shows throughout the entirety of the album.

“Venus Flytrap” is one of my favorite songs off of the album. This is a confidenceboosting song and one that I blared many times in the car this summer. It follows a similar theme as the first song, urging people to not be afraid to stand out and be themselves. “Purge the Poison” has a similar vibe to “Venus Flytrap.”

“Man’s World” is the third song off of the album; it was the first single that Marina released. This song is ethereal. The lyrics and imagery within the first verse are absolutely gorgeous. After this track, the album takes
a bit of a tonal shift; the rest of the songs are more of an exploration into disappointment and loss, all while still falling under Marina’s theme of self-confidence.

“I Love You But I Love Me More” encapsulates this tonal shift as the track is about choosing yourself because you know that you’re worthy of love. “Flowers” also follows a similar theme but focuses more on the pain that losing a relationship can bring both parties, even if they know they need to let go.

This is one of those albums that will have you dancing one moment and wistfully staring out the window the next. Personally, that’s the place that I like to reside in. This can make the album difficult to listen to consecutively because of the sonic shift in the songs.

I don’t doubt that that was Marina’s intention to show that duality, as she has done in previous albums, but I have found myself sticking to the first four tracks and only occasionally venturing to the last half of the
album. But when I do, I still appreciate the songs as they showcase Marina’s talent as a songwriter.

I have been a fan of Marina for such a long time. I was thrilled that she decided to come back with this album and that it has so many wonderful tracks on it. I’ve no doubt that the rest of her fans feel the same way. “Ancient Dreams in a Modern Land” is available everywhere on streaming platforms.

Post Author: Hana Saad