Anya Marina – ‘Paper Plane’ Review

Posted: by Sean Gonzalez

After already establishing herself as a musician willing to blend pop and rock tunes into vibrant anthems full of emotional cadence, Anya Marina is back. Paper Plane has Marina pulsing with catchy hooks full of her past relationships. And much like her artistic appeal, she struts and swings away from the negative aspects; putting them to lively songs instead of sulking. Best represented by the lyrics, “if it’s all going to work out in the wash, then I’m cleaning up this mess, I think I’m starting with you” (“My Mama Said”), it’s easy to see that Marina is full of vulnerability but not afraid to rinse it down the drain. 

Marina is confident and dazzling throughout every track on Paper Plane. Her ambitious vocal delivery is often as bouncy as her songs, piercing through the various synth rock progressions on opening track “Gimme Resurrection.” The songwriting is simple, magnifying her vocals at the forefront of the bubbly music backing her up. “Not Mine” is a sassy runway ballad that highlights how efficiently Marina can work upbeat tempos. She weaves through the bass walks with assertiveness without looking back to even see what is following her in the shadows. Marina knows what works to her advantage and when the song slows down she’s right there to bring her vocals to an appropriate pace. Take for example the back end slow burner “Snowflake,” which ends with a decadent guitar solo. “Shut Up” finds Marina wandering through a synthetic song where she is beckoning to be kissed, loved and knowing her worth. 

The lengths at which Marina goes to showcase her varying styles can be as ambitious as her vocal deliveries. “We Were Happy Once” sheds all of the energy and instead focuses on swooning listeners by delicately wrapping them in her embrace with guest vocalist Bess Rodgers. Throughout all of the pop rock that is being driven home on Paper Plane, Marina knows how to produce indie vibes as well. This is done by the constant layering of synths and bells bringing out key notes of the melody. “Is This Love?” is the best example here, starting with an acoustic guitar before Marina steals the show and the music away to let her take over. 

Paper Plane is a record that plays like individual diary pages of a singer’s heart. It’s an album full of dizzying (in a good way) vocals backed with noncomplex song structures that at times become great background noise but falter in becoming that too much. The slower songs -while highlighting an effective singer giving you her all – are left to drone without much attention. Thankfully, most of these problems get washed away by Marina’s powerful vocal performance. When imagining what a visual representation of this album, I have no issue in seeing Marina taking an audience by storm by crawling on top of a piano and letting her performance steal the audience. She can strut, dance and rock away listeners with her stories of love and moving past ex lovers. 

Score: 7/10