Lana Del Rey – “Born to Die”

Courtesy of Universal Music Group and Interscope Records

There is a hype surrounding an artist when they are coming out with a debut album. “Born to Die,” is the first album released by Lana Del Rey (Elizabeth Grant) and has the same mass wave of hype by critics either praising or slashing down the album. There are a multitude of different aspects to incorporate a review of an album like this which in the end cannot be given a rating or score due to the diversity in the track. There is too much nostalgia and hype over new artists causing an unjust stemming of them causing a flurry of ups and downs before the album’s release. (Keep checking next week for a story over the assumptions of new artists and how it affects their sales)

In order to truly perform a review of this album the American audience needs to forget about her performance on SNL (Saturday Night Live). There are those who can attack and defend her first time on live American television but with this being an album review there has to be a remorse towards what an artist can do live in comparison to a studio.

“Video Games,” is a track that is calm and subtly a masterpiece of vocal collaboration with the melodic and soothing orchestral instruments. It takes some artists more than their debut album to find a sound as sharp and defined as this track. Though it is not a break-through in music it is still something which can be admired. The track was released in October 2011 and was not going to be the single of the album, but due to the response of the crowd it was led as the single for the album. This track is one of a kind and has no similarities to the other trip-hop, noir, and alternative themed songs.

In the album titled track “Born to Die,” there is that sense of the trip-hop themed beats as well as some alternative styled interludes which are incorporated within seconds of the start of the track. Del Rey’s vocals match the beats in which she gives of the enchantress vibe and confidence that some artists lack.

Though most of these tracks are something new, there is still a sense of déjà vu when listening to each song carefully. A simple example would be in the song, “Blue Jeans,” when after a few seconds in there is a familiar screaming which sounds similar to that of Awolnation’s single, “Sail.” Also in “Off to the Races,” there is a bit of the band Garbage incorporated in the beats and lyrical compilation of the song. It sounds fairly similar to the alternative tracks in the 90s from lead female vocals like Garbage’s “#1 Crush,” or a softer version of Sleigh Bells.

“Off to the Races,” is one of the few tracks which she does not use her “traditional” voice, and instead uses a more feminine and higher pitched voice which makes the song flow better. This is one of the few tracks in which her vocals do this while exploit her femininity to this extent. Unlike the artists which these songs are based on, this song lyrically makes little sense portraying a “hood” persona saying,

“And I’m off to the races, cases

of Bacardi chasers,

Chasin’ me all over town

Cause he knows I’m wasted, facin’

Time again on Rikers

Island and I won’t get out”

The remainders of the songs also lyrically are an obscenity and have few exceptions to actually be considered worth knowing due to the lack any actual interpretation. This does not mean the songs are horrid or easily dismissed but only that the beats and vocals make the songs a success in comparison to “Florence and the Machine,” or “The Cranberries.”

The only exception to this is the track, “National Anthem” which demonizes and re-writes the American dream by saying in one of the verses, “Money is the anthem of success. So put on mascara, and your party dress.” It also gives off that déjà vu vibe which I mentioned earlier in the beginning sounding similar to the intro of “Bitter Sweet Symphony,” by The Verve.

“Diet Mountain Dew,” is a catchy pop track which should have been a single of the track that has a 50’s feel to it with the trip-hop which embeds the album. This track fairly summarizes the album and gives the audience a true glimpse into the image I believe that she wants to be portrayed as. A noir soft voiced track has a chorus which actually can be repeated without is sounding like a rant of words.

Diet mountian dew, baby, new york city

can we get it down low down and gritty

do you think well be in love forever?

do think well be in love?”

“Lolyta,” is the final respectable track on this album with the rest being only fillers that can be played as background music. They lack and originality nearly in every musical perspective from the beats and lyrics while still maintaining the high and unnecessary production value. “Carmen,” has a part towards the end in which there is a whispering in French, which has no purpose or additional value to the song but instead gives a feeling of a cheap trick to show that this is a high cost album and the faith Interscope Records has on this artist.

“Born to Die,” spans many genres and does not solely focus on a specific demographic of an audience either. That makes this album have more of a mass appeal to broad audiences since there as at least one track which will be repeated over and over again. There is the “Adele” track to get those listeners as well as the trip-hop tracks and finally the stereotypical pop songs. This album is receiving mixed reviews across the web and has much nostalgia that is not properly credited. Overall the album has respectable tracks but is not worth getting the album. Lana Del Rey is still jumping around genres in this album looking for  the one which emphasizes and exploits her talents. She is a talented signer and there is much to look forward to from this artist and, “Born to Die,” is the album needed as a stem to see in which musical direction she will chose to follow.

Make sure you tune into tonight from 5 – 7 Central to listen to a few tracks and more in depth talk about Lana Del Rey. Also make sure to follow me!

The album cover “courtesy of universal music group”

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