ALBUM: Lana Del Rey – Born To Die

Release Date: January 27th, 2012
Label: Interscope Records


Was Lana Del Rey exactly what the music industry had been waiting for, or has the ‘Hollywood Sadcore’ singer merely turned up at the right time? After numerous precarious live performances, aired nationally both here and in the US, we were all prepared to perch a front seat to Lana Del Rey‘s premature demise. But, as expected, 2012 happened, bringing with it the 25 year old, headstrong beauty queen’s second album, ‘Born To Die’.

She may initially come across as innocent as Britney Spears did back in 1999, but don’t be fooled my friends, Del Rey is a well designed commodity – think ‘the women in red’ from The Matrix. I can’t help but ponder how much studio magic has been injected into this album, but if we’re to disregard the well publicised aforementioned shaky television performances, then I guess we can agree that this seductive, pouting pop princess is the real deal. The self-proclaimed ‘gangsta’ Nancy Sinatra‘s soprano vocal style and lyricism, is principally that of a lovesick little girl. We should all hate her really, but she whinges in style – the clichés and the burningly obvious pragmatic implications are something we’ve come to know very well; been there, done that, got the album.

But, the rumours that have followed Lana Del Rey around lately, that of daddy’s millions and plastic surgery are seemingly irrelevant when you’re to indulge yourself into ‘Born To Die’. It’s enthralling, and at the same time horrendously passé – it has encompassed modern traits but it’s clear that the singer has musical interest from an array of decades. She professes love for Elvis, Britney Spears and even David Lynch; bang that lot in a blender and this is the smoothie that comes out.

Take for example ‘National Anthem’, Del Rey nibbles around your ear lobes, purring inducement, “he loves to romance ’em, reckless abandon, holdin’ me for ransom…” and at the same time articulates a sordid desire for fame. A beautifully composed track, stockpiled with raw emotion. ‘Summertime Sadness’ and ‘Off To The Races’ are both equally ominously fronted tracks, but as I’ve come to realise, they feature the trademark underlying hopefulness that you should come to be expect in a lot Del Rey‘s music. They evolve, in a way that music hasn’t done in decades, with heavy strings and pounding timpani’s. It’s driving, perhaps I’d go as far to say empowering.

I really can only depict the tip of the iceberg through words, but she’s a one to watch, for sure.

Written by Ross Campbell