Critics often like a subtle record. Lana Del Ray's 'Born to Die' is the opposite. It is operatically dramatic in a kind of 'Notice me, I'm an inch from your face,' sort of way. It tells the story of the kind of love that will either tragically kill you and immortalise you, or bring you redemptive, everlasting life. The love she writes about will be familiar to any 15-25 year old feeling like their love is simultaneously the most intensely wonderful and painful experience of their life.
Appropriately, my copy of 'Born to Die' cracked only two days after purchase.
In my head, in an interview, Lana Del Ray would come across as some sort of contemporary hybrid of Jane Birkin and Edie Sedgwick: enigmatic, tortured and knowingly sexy. I'm sure Lana Del Ray (or Lizzie Grant) would be pleased with this vision, working hard to craft her own contemporary Lolita. Unfortunately, when I actually heard her in interview, she had little of this fascinating ambiguity. She sounded Taylor Swift-like: having that all too positive, no sense of irony, young female popstar quality: niceness. Fortunately, her music is far more alluring.
'Video Games' is representative of the rest of the album, lyrically and sonically. The album is dominated by her forlorn, stylised voice over top of lush orchestration and darkened electronic production. Half of the songs, like 'Video Games,' are slower numbers, reminiscent of Portishead or Goldrfrapp. The other half are more dance-y club tracks, ready for remixing by Samantha Ronson in an L.A. club.
At times, her 'I would do anything for love' persona is grating, insofar as the man she seems willing to do whatever for, seems largely undeserving. However, ignore the lyrics or just accept that they're pop melodrama that conveniently rhymes ('You were sorta punk rock, I grew up on hip hop/But you fit me better than my/favourite sweater' is a particularly terrible example), and you'll be devoured by her sumptuous sing-along melodies.
Summary: Lana Del Ray has received so much hype, you might wish to ignore her album, assuming it's just another unjustified media explosion. However, you would miss what is an incredibly catchy album that will result in numerous other girls trying to copy her style, and fail miserably.
4/5 Stars. It's memorable and striking.
Have you heard her album or any of her other songs? Do you believe the hype, like I do?