Lana Del Rey – Born to Die Lana Del Rey – Born to Die

Born To Die is a more than satisfactory pop album. The title track opens the album with a fluttering of violins, akin to a black-and-white romance movie from the 1940s. Those strings are heard throughout the album, as they continuously and successfully whisk us into our heroine’s fairy tale world: she’s a girl like every girl, looking for love, finding herself, dealing with relationships, and partying with her friends.

The production on Born To Die is lavish and the technicalities of it flirt with perfection. It’s packed with catchy hooks and elaborate melodies. There are open, hollow sounds and minimal rhythms, which garners certain credibility and provides the record with a lush, ambient feel. The tracks progress naturally and they seem to have a linear connection. The album contains a couple of bona fide “hits,” and there are a handful of other solid, would-be singles. A person could very well wake up with any number of these songs in their head in the morning. The vocals aren’t exactly extraordinary, but Lana’s sultry, lazy voice is distinct and distinguished, not to mention wonderfully polished on each track. Sonically, the album blends genres seamlessly; which is reflective to the age we’re living in. It sounds new and fresh. The bluesy, smoky “Million Dollar Man” would be Amy Winehouse and Fiona Apple’s love child’s #1 song. “Blue Jeans” mixes Lana’s gangster-girl side with her helpless, romantic side – a la “Don’t Speak” Gwen Stefani. “Dark Paradise” is the superhero-masterpiece on Born To Die. It’s the climax in the fairy tale as our heroine struggles to fight off the evil villain. The most personal recording on the album, “Video Games,” is stripped down and straightforward. It’s real and it’s emotional. And to finish the 15-track LP with “Lucky Ones,” a song that sounds like it’s straight from an Andrew Lloyd Webber musical, sends us off with an honest touch. There are elements on Born To Die ranging from 40’s lounge, hip-hop, California Country, soul, trip-hop, and straight up Britney Spears pop. Yet with this hodgepodge of musical influence, the album retains a style of it’s own. These are the things that I like about it.

Save for a few songs that are downright terrible pop-trash I’d prefer to never hear again, all together the songs on Born To Die follow a tried-and-true, hit-making formula. I’m just not sold on the fact that Lana Del Rey has much to say. The lyrics give us glimpses into her world, as seen through a hipstamatic lens, but she isn’t ever saying anything profound. She doesn’t tell us anything that we don’t already know about her or that we actually care to find out. Her words are redundant and juvenile – they don’t make me think. And that’s what I don’t like about it. At times it feels contrived and manufactured, like the executives at Interscope are trying a little too hard to get 16-year-old girls to turn up the volume in the Volkswagens that their daddies bought for them. Who is to blame for the lack-luster lyrics on this album? Lana Del Rey is credited as a co-writer on every song. Take that how you would like to.

Oh, and yeah I know that there is actually a whole mountain of back-story, hype, controversy and overall media masturbation about our girl all over the Internet. You can find that here if that’s what you’re into.

I just really can’t hate. I mean, if you like your music to have depth and emotion and really say something worthwhile, you are not going to like this album. But hey, some people can relate to 1st world white girl problems, and some people don’t care whether or not their music is necessarily saying something. Is that so wrong? I mean, it’s easy to listen to, it’s tight and well constructed, and best of all, it’s catchy. Born To Die is far from groundbreaking. But if you’re able to just casually listen to the music, then what you’ll hear is a more than satisfactory pop album. I did that for this review, and I am more than satisfied with that.


1. Born To Die
2. Off To The Races
3. Blue Jeans
4. Video Games
5. Diet Mountain Dew
6. National Anthem
7. Dark Paradise
8. Radio
9. Carmen
10. Million Dollar Man
11. Summertime Sadness
12. This Is What Makes Us Girls

Lana Del Rey - Born to Die, reviewed by Bryce on 2012-02-14T04:05:22-08:00 rating 3.4 out of 5

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