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Born To Die [LP]

I have to say that this is one of the most unusual and most successful debut albums I have ever heard, from an artist that even a few months ago I did not know existed. Both lyrically and musically, the album takes us into an alternate world, a world populated by young women who are fatally attracted to seriously flawed men, but this doesn’t seem to bother them. They not only accept it, they revel in it. Although most of the songs are built around this theme, redundancy is avoided because the characters are vividly detailed and the musical presentations are diverse. I would like to mention that any comparisons I make to musical genres or other artists must be considered approximations; the music on this album is highly original and frankly, rather difficult to describe. In the opener and title song, “Born To Die”, Lana sings a ballad with a world-weariness and fatalism that calls to mind Marianne Faithfull or even Marlene Dietrich: “Feet don’t fail me now/Take me to the finish line. ..Choose your last words/This is the last time/Cause you and I, we were born to die”. The next track, my favorite, “Off To The Races”, is completely different, an upbeat hip-hop track. In this song a girl with “a Las Vegas past” is kept and well-tended by a gangster type who “. ..loves me with every beat of his cocaine heart”. This relationship would seem dysfunctional to most, but the picture Lana paints makes it sound valid, desirable and a lot of fun. In the somber “Video Games”, she coaxes her young lover, “Tell me all the things you wanna do/I heard that you like the bad girls honey, is that true?” We return to hip-hop and enter the playground of the wealthy in “National Anthem”: “Money is the anthem of success/So before we go out, what’s your address?. ..God you’re so handsome/Take me to the Hamptons”. “Carmen” in the ballad by that name is one character not preoccupied with relationships. Her problems are different: “The boys, the girls/They all like Carmen. ..Doesn’t have a problem/Lyin’ to herself/’Cause her liquor’s top shelf”. “Million Dollar Man” is sung in a style that I would have to call 40’s or 50’s blues (very interesting vocal here), and the reason she is blue is, as she tells her man, “You’re screwed up and brilliant/You look like a million-dollar man/So why is my heart broke?”The total effect of the album would be depressing except that the interesting lyrics and Lana’s varied vocals are such a delight that any sadness is mitigated. Then too, why feel sorry for someone who doesn’t feel sorry for herself? Lana’s characters are content with the lives they are living. I hope Lana gets to make a second album because I certainly want to see where she takes us next. Check it out!

Sometimes stars emerge. Sometimes stars are thrust upon us. And sometimes stars simply slip into the atmosphere as if propelled by something otherworldly. It is into this last category that the astonishing presence, voice, look and feel of Lana Del Rey falls. Musical stardom is not an option with Ms. Del Rey. It is her vocation. She calls herself the -gangsta Nancy Sinatra- and defines her genre as -Hollywood pop/ sadcore-, a dramatic new loop for pop music. Lana Del Rey proudly presents the highly anticipated BORN TO DIE, featuring the hit singles “Video Games” and “Blue Jeans”.


Born To Die [LP] Review

For the past 3 decades buying full albums has often been a disappointing experience. You get a couple of hits and a bunch of fluff not worth listening to, so singles have been the way to go. I am serious when I say, this is the first full album I’ve actually bought since Timbaland’s Shock Value back in 2007. Before that I can’t even remember anything I had bought that was any good since the 90s. This girl is ridiculously underrated and one of my favorite albums ever, I would put it alongside Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon, 2Pac’s Strictly 4 My, Dr. Dre’s Chronic, and U2’s Joshua Tree in terms of just sheer quality of every single track. Lana studied metaphysics in school and it totally comes out in all of her songs. Her voice is so haunting and tracks are so layered with so many sources I don’t even know where to start. The first time in many years I’ve actually felt shivers down my spine from listening to music. Keep up the good work Lana I can see why your fans love you so much. -Read Reviews-

A curious hybrid of hip hop and baroque pop, Del Rey pantomimes the vapid and extravagant lifestyles of the upper echelon. Songs like “National Anthem” and “Off to the Races” are indicative of this. The album is an endless trail of woozy, mid-summery ballads that unabashedly reflect how young people find, fall into, and end romantic relationships. Every song is a masterpiece, even the album’s most boring tracks (“This Is What Makes Us Girls” and “Radio”) are well-produced and well-written. Conceptually, the album starts at the end; “Born To Die” highlights the sad, opened-endedness one feels at the peak of recovering from a bad relationship. But, before the narrator fully reaches that denouement, she drags us through a dreary film reel of the worst and best times she shared with her lover. By “Dark Paradise”, we exit Eden and enter emotional hell. First, we are stunned, then we are sad and weepy, by “Million Dollar Man” we are righteously vengeful, yet somehow realizing we’ll be okay. With the closing track, however, instead of feeling uplifted and ready to try love again, the theme twists around, blaming the fate of the entire romance on a woman’s perceived fickleness and imperfection. It could have ended better. All in all, the album is an excellent social commentary on the perils of love and excess, with enough unique sounds and vocal acrobats to redeem such the tirelessly overdone cliche. Employing an alternative rap technique on “Diet Mountain Dew”, “Off to the Races”, and “National Anthem”, the latter is the album’s biggest embarrassment redeemed only by a tasteful music video that aims to reenact the Assassination of JFK. The first two, however, drape softcore rap over sleepy trip hop beats for a yummy, lachrymose snack. The album’s highlights are: “Born To Die”, “Video Games”, “Million Dollar Man”, and “Diet Mountain Dew”. The weakest songs are: “National Anthem”, “This Is What Makes Us Girls”, and “Radio”.

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