For the past year there has been one name of the lips of music industry types – Lana Del Rey. You may have heard everything; you may have heard nothing but the release of her album Born to Die has set tongues wagging again.
Surrounded in hype and controversy, Del Rey (real name Elizabeth Grant) is seen by many as a fake, a phony, completely manufactured pop star. Many see her unlikely rise to fame as a push by her millionaire father, and that she was signed to Interscope all along, and the persona Lana Del Rey was created after one failed album under her own name.
In reality though, if it hadn’t of been for the infectious charm of Video Games, which became somewhat of a youtube sensation last summer, would any of this be happening now? Probably not. Video Games was something different, yet not different at all. Its haunting tones and Del Rey’s eerie but beautiful voice is something quite wonderful. Spectacularly retro but extremely ‘now’ and the same time. The bottom line is, critics aside, is Born to Die more of the same, does it live up to the brilliance of that one song? The answer is yes, yes it does.
The thing that sets Born to Die aside from others is that it isn’t just a collection of songs, it is the whole persona presented with it. Del Rey switches between trashy Americana beauty, to Hollywood starlet, to in her own words a ‘gangsta Nancy Sinatra’. And the words, the lyrics, they tell you stories like mini movies, you can see the story as you listen. It’s all a bit femme fatale, standing by her bad boy boyfriend, but it is charming with it.
Songs like the title track Born to Die, with its sense of doom but living for the moment mentality, and Blue Jeans which is one of the best songs I have heard in a long time. National Anthem again presents this whole American Dream, intelligent and patriotic. Del Rey’s ability to switch from sugar pop princess, to velvet breathless melancholy, keeps the album moving and keeps it interesting. Not every track is the same.
Don’t get me wrong, there are some tracks on there that don’t live up to the others, but they do not affect the overall aura of the album at all. It all fits together quite nicely. Born to Die leaves you desperate to know where Lana Del Rey will go next. She doesn’t deserve all the flack at all. Whether it is all made up, a fictitious story, it still comes down to the fact that she has produced a pretty great album. I recommend you give it a spin and see for yourselves.