Ancient Dreams in a Modern Land is the fifth studio album by Welsh singer-songwriter Marina, released on 11 June 2021, through Atlantic Records. She began songwriting for the project in January 2020, around the time she released the soundtrack single “About Love”. The album was preceded by the release of four singles, “Man’s World”, “Purge the Poison”, the title track, and “Venus Fly Trap” with each one having a music video.
Following the release of her fourth studio album Love + Fear in 2019, Marina embarked on a multi-leg tour and released an acoustic companion extended play (EP), Love + Fear (Acoustic). She also began work on a fifth studio album, and confirmed her plans via an Instagram post, in January 2020. The news was followed up by the release of the soundtrack single “About Love” in February, which was featured on the soundtrack to the American romantic comedy film To All the Boys: P.S. I Still Love You (2020).
Ancient Dreams In a Modern Land has been described as an electropop and dance-pop record. During songwriting sessions for the record, Marina was motivated by the mistreatment of women and LGBT individuals throughout history, and gathered further inspiration from the Salem witch trials. The lyrics to the songs are wordy, and present more “vim and attitude” than the songs on Love + Fear.
The album’s title track is a pop rock and disco song with a “cinematic guitar riff”. Danielle Chelosky, a writer for Stereogum, compared it to Britney Spears’ 2008 single “Womanizer”. “Man’s World” was described as a dreamy and melodic alternative pop anthem. Backed by a piano performance from Marina, she criticises the behaviour of men towards women and minorities. “Purge the Poison” was called “an Earth Day anthem of sorts” by Billboard’s Gab Ginsberg, due to its lyrics that speak of climate change.
Several critics made comparisons between the songs on Ancient Dreams in a Modern Land and Marina’s older albums. Entertainment Weekly called “Purge the Poison” a “callback” to The Family Jewels (2010). Furthermore, Vogue’s Keaton Bell said the lyrics to “Man’s World” were similar to those of “Savages” from her third album, Froot (2015). Furthermore, Dimitra Gurduiala from Atwood Magazine said “Savages” is a masterpiece of a song that Love + Fear lacked, but that “Purge the Poison” suggested a return to this type of era for Marina.
All tracks are written by Marina.
1.”Ancient Dreams in a Modern Land”
2.”Venus Fly Trap”
4.”Purge the Poison”
5.”Highly Emotional People”
8.”I Love You but I Love Me More”
OVERALL RATING: 4 stars