Lana Del Rey‘s Born To Die is undeniably one of the most anticipated debut albums in recent memory. You probably know the history, but in a nutshell after Video Games and Blue Jeans were huge viral hits, she was quickly signed to Interscope, then came a ferocious backlash where many bloggers swiftly did a total 180 based on revelations about her past attempts at success as plain old Lizzy Grant. Since then, there have been countless other snipes at her character and appearance; it seems like everyone has a deep-seated aversion to the size of her lips! Discussions about her music have been limited, because until last week there were only a handful of singles and a few live clips floating around. Now finally we have the album…
Born To Die was officially released in the U.S. today, and I have immersed myself in the album since laying my hands on it. It’s a delightful mix of tracks, all of which boast gorgeous production that perfectly compliments Lana’s deep soulful voice. There are endless beautiful string sections that lend a cinematic feel, creating a wonderful contrast when paired with Lana’s often gloriously trashy lyrics (Coney Island & Pabst Blue Ribbon anyone?) that tackle everything from love, fame, beauty and the overarching theme of the American Dream.
Highlights include, the flawless soulful jam Video Games, the hip-hop tinged Off To The Races which shows that Lana can work quite nicely with a beat, National Anthem, another gem that is screaming to be a summer single “I’m your national anthem, god you’re so handsome” she purrs while singing about her lover, and the powerful Summer Sadness that is my favorite among the non singles.
Born To Die is a marvelous debut album packed with hypnotizing melodies and all encompassing orchestration at every turn. Some might find the lack of variation in style a flaw, but personally I love seeing someone with a concept creating a totally cohesive album centered around a theme. If you’re a regular on Hard Candy you’ll know that I love dance music, but it’s refreshing to have an outstanding pop album that doesn’t rely on a dance beat to generate a hit.
Born To Die is available now.