Lana Del Rey – Born To Die
Stranger Records/Interscope: 2012
Born to Die is a collection of pictures, painted in the tradition of hip-hop beats and jazz technique. The far edges of each song are dripping with horrible conclusions, hidden away behind the frame, but decisively allude to. Lana Del Rey croons about glamour and fame, but the tone of her voices directs the listener toward those moments when this lifestyle turns ugly.
Money, sex, drugs and booze do exist on this album. It’s as if Born to Die is where the crew go to relax after shooting one of Lil Wayne’s music videos. It’s the behind the scenes of a party lifestyle. It’s the hangover the next morning. It’s the bitter side of expressiveness, all wrapped up in a pretty voice. “Carmen” is about a girl wanted by many, walking dark streets, getting high and hating everything about herself. “Off to the Races” is about a glamour girl at the whim of her cokehead boyfriend who probably killed someone over a sour deal. Songs like “Million Dollar Man” are framed like train wrecks, then slowed down to the speed of the burning cigarettes so that every detail is savored.
Her voice is a multipurpose tool with settings for cute, haunting, and sexy. Slow steady beats wrap up Del Rey’s lyrics and accent her style, which switches between big band jazz to tight hip-hop multies (noticed on the track “Blue Jean”). The tone of her voice is equally sporadic as it has multiple personalities; Betty Boop, Cruella de Vil and Marilyn Monroe. Del Rey uses her tones to portray everything from sadness, satire, and venerability. It’s awesome.
“Video Games” is the single that put Del Rey on the map. It opens with an eloquent harp, a simple hook that burns its way into your memory. Forget the love associated with such an instrument. The song is an unpredictable visual into that moment right before two people fuck each other’s brains out, not romantically—and that’s the problem. It’s another sad song. And, maybe there’s truth to it. Does Lana Del Rey blush when she sings it? Or, does she cry? This song is a heartbreaking soliloquy translated for an audience made of critics–wolves and talking heads who would rather replace Del Rey’s experience with puns for their own masturbatory bragging rights. For an artist to take such a risk on their debut single is quite the move. In the game of chess, it would be comparable to parting the pawns and exposing the queen on the first move. Don’t underestimate this album. In the tradition of Del Rey’s personal insight, this king has more than one fighting queen.
4 out of 5
Lana Del Rey – Blue Jeans Lyrics
Lana Del Rey – Born To Die Lyrics
Lana Del Rey – Carmen Lyrics
Lana Del Rey – Dark Paradise Lyrics
Lana Del Rey – Diet Mountain Dew Lyrics
Lana Del Rey – Lolita Lyrics
Lana Del Rey – Lucky Ones Lyrics
Lana Del Rey – Million Dollar Man Lyrics
Lana Del Rey – National Anthem Lyrics
Lana Del Rey – Off To The Races Lyrics
Lana Del Rey – Radio Lyrics
Lana Del Rey – Summertime Sadness Lyrics
Lana Del Rey – This Is What Makes Us Girls Lyrics
Lana Del Rey – Video Games Lyrics
Lana Del Rey – Without You Lyrics