A question we have always wondered and pondered about is ‘who would sing a pop song better about being a homewrecker’? Well fear not, because two of our preferred popstrels are here and ready with songs concerning homewrecking. They are ready to commence battle in the ring… but first let’s introduce the competitors…
In the blue corner we have … Sophie Ellis Bextor – ‘Homewrecker’
And in the red corner we have … Marina & The Diamonds – ‘Homewrecker’
Now this is not a straightforward battle as the songs are written and sung from two opposing perspectives. Marina – via one of her Electra Heart personas – prefers to embody the role of a homewrecker. Meanwhile the Bextinator prefers to position her song as a warning warbled to another female.
ROUND ONE: SONIC
Bexto prefers to continue with the very British and very Sophie brand of dancey electropop she first explored in tracks such as ‘Bittersweet‘ and ‘Off & On‘. Indeed, the prooduction sounds instantly very Calvin Harrisy, although it is in fact Greg Kurstin produced. It’s very bouncy and friendly sounding, which is clearly a sneaky trick used by Bexto to lure in the lady she is about to diss. (More of that in the next rounds.) She uses the beats to her advantage, singing ‘oh oh oh oh oh’ on the beats and also extending the word homewrecker so it sounds like ‘ho-ooooo-oooo-ooome-wrecker’. This pronunciation has the advantage of sounding like she is calling everyone a ho. ‘Ho’ – has there ever been a more Sophie Ellis-Bextor sounding insult? (Scallywag and ragamuffin not withstanding.)
Marina also fancies a bit of electropop with her version. However, she decides to go in the opposite direction from Sophie, taking the song to a much darker place. Marina elongates ‘dooooon’t’ and ‘anyonnnnne’ and she warbles homewrecker like this: ‘homewrecke-rrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr’. All this is done in a high pitch further creating tension. Meanwhile, the backing is moody and atmospheric – you can just see the dry ice rising. The song never shakes off this feeling of something not being quite right; it maintains a bit of a chill in the air.
VERDICT: Bextor manages to slap Marina in this category, as the more enjoyable song to listen to.
ROUND 2: LYRICS
The delivery of the lyrics is very stylised in the Marina version, with spoken bits and screeching bits and sung bits, as compared to the straightforward typical pop delivery that Bexto gives us. This, of course, directly impacts the lyrical content. Therefore Sophie’s lyrics appear a little bland. She does however spit such gems as ‘So very cheap, so devoid of any class / There’s no mystique from your assorted parts’, ‘He makes a joke you laugh a bit too hard’, and the rather self-important ‘I’m still the boss, get lost, good luck, goodbye’. Unfortunately, all the delicious ‘oh oh oh oh oh’s do take up a large portion of the lyrics where some more storytelling could and probably should have been done. We’re torn on this one; the ‘oh’s really are quite divine.
Marina, meanwhile, delivers the untopabble cracker ‘The good are never easy, the easy never good’. Think about it. There’s many other lines we think are clever, such as ‘You’ll find me in the lonely hearts / under ‘I’m after a brand new start”, and ‘girls and their curls and their gourmet vomit / boys and their toys and their 6 inch rockets’. We have to mention how much we like the screech of ‘And I dooooon’t belong / To ANYYYYYYOONNNNE’. We imagine that line in particular is quite empowering for a teenage girl to hear, after all the crap they’re fed by our patriarchal society through the media in general, and specifically output of boybands such as One Direction and sex singers like Britney and Rihanna.
VERDICT: Marina beats Bexto to the floor in this category.
ROUND 3: CONCEPT
As already explained, Marina sings her song from the POV of a Homewrecker, whilst Bexto sings from the POV of a potential Homewrecked. The treatment of the subject is therefore understandably contrasting. Bexto is condemning homewrecking. More than that, she’s actually putting down the homewrecker with feisty insults, although we all know that’s probably because deep down she’s a little insecure. We do love the idea of a mental Sophie walking around in public and hissing this song to any woman (or gay) who dares even glance at her Richard. We like the idea of a crazily defensive Sophie. We like her classy,thoughtful putdowns. We also like the message the song sends out: homewrecking is bad, don’t do it kids.
Then we have Marina. Marina sings the song as part of her ‘Electra Heart’ album campaign, where to cut a long story short she penned songs from the POVs of 4 different alter egos. ‘Homewrecker’ clearly comes from a slutty, Barbie like alter ego. We’re not sure if we like exactly how cynical about love Marina sounds on this song. She admits to breaking hearts for fun, but unlike in ‘How To Be A Heartbreaker‘ it doesn’t come across as kooky or fun in this instance. Rather it comes across as really quite cold and manipulative. There are concessions, such as the line ‘but deep down all you want is love / the pure kind we all dream of’, which hints that even Marina (or rather her alter ego) dream of love. However Marina takes far too much pride in yelling from the rooftops that she’s a homewrecker.
VERDICT: Marina’s song is undoubtedly more interesting artistically, and it has a lot more layers to it. We can’t get onboard with the concept though and for that reason BEXTO KNOCKS OUT MARINA. DING DING DING!