Review : Lana Del Rey - Born To Die
SputnikmusicPerhaps this isn’t the most professional thing to admit, but for me, the most notable thing about the release of Born To Die is that the world will soon stop talking about Lana Del Rey. The parade of think-pieces regarding her authenticity, questionable feminism, questionable patriotism, hype, counter-hype, embarrassingly terrible live performances and “I Like Turtles”-esque interview persona will cease. The bizarre six-month saga over the legitimacy and supposed value of a girl with a nice song and big lips who makes kissy-faces and trembles in public appearances will end. We finally have her music, in all its quasi-controversial, really-not-all-that-special glory, which means she is no longer insulated from criticism by her supposed enigma. We can all, at long last, move on.
Oh, the record? It’s practically an afterthought. Odds are good that those already with opinions on Del Rey will find no reason in Born to Die to change them. It’s pretty cool, I guess--a bit artificial, but if you’re already part of the “pro” camp in the Lana Del Rey war of attrition, that probably won’t matter. It doesn’t take more than a minute of watching her try to figure out what to do with her hands on her SNL performance to understand that intense behind-the-scenes machinations have gone into making this girl famous. Born to Die is the fruit of the machinations’ labor, meaning it’s essentially her essence distilled and repeated over the course of twelve tracks. She’s still alarmingly submissive, still appropriating American celebrity iconography into thick, romantic kitsch; basically, she’s doing with more gusto that which makes the internet go fucking insane.
So Born To Die can be considered a success in the sense it keeps Lana Del Rey relevant via controversy. As troubling gender politics and catchy songs made fellow internet lightning rods Odd Future a big fucking deal, so too have they Lana Del Rey. And like OF benchmark album Goblin, Born To Die’s shtick is processed to cartoonish levels, leaving little substance underneath what is essentially an intricate gimmick. This in itself isn’t all that surprising; Lana’s never given the impression that she’s more than a well-made construction. The issue is that whereas Odd Future can fly by on irony to smooth over their rougher edges, Lana is irony-free, and her guise of sincerity renders her cutesy trailer-park girl persona unintentionally creepy with every story of an abusive relationship she punctuates with a giggle. The majority of the record is focused on her ridiculously unhealthy sex life, which consists mostly of brutish dudes feeding her material goods and impersonal dickings, both of which she revels in with phony naivety and gratitude. The catchiest example, “Off to the Races,” features a cocaine-hearted protagonist taking advantage of doe-eyed Lana, who gleefully proclaims herself a harlot and sings: “light in my life, fire in my loins, gimme them gold coins… I’m not afraid to say I’d die without him.”...full text
BillboardSo: is it any good? Well, at 15 tracks, it's as puffy as the singer's oft-debated lips. Many of the songs tread the same lyrical territory (good girl falls for bad boy, or vice versa; variations on lines like "kiss me on my open mouth" and "take your body downtown" are used throughout), and the noir production from hip-hop vets like Jeff Bhasker (Kanye West, Jay-Z) and Emile Haynie (Lil Wayne, Eminem) starts to sound stale on late-album cuts "Million Dollar Man" and "Lolita."
But perhaps that's only because the highlights (title track "Born To Die" and the viral hits "Video Games" and "Blue Jeans") have already become veritable anthems for the Hype Machine circuit by today's short attention-span standards (it's worth noting that Lana Del Rey was a virtual unknown before "Video Games" created a blog firestorm in late July.) Backlash notwithstanding, the "SNL" exposure helped Del Rey crack the Billboard charts for the first time last week, including a No. 20 bow on the Billboard 200 for a self-titled digital EP. The continued curiosity surrounding Del Rey is only going to keep her atop Twitter's trending topics....full text
MuumuseLana Del Rey has just released her first big-budget music video ever with “Born To Die,” the latest single from her highly anticipated upcoming Interscope debut, due out in January.
Truly, it’s a gorgeous production from start to finish–from the sweeping cathedral interior shots, to the real-life tigers (aww, so pretty!), to that scintillating make-out sesh in the hot rod with her tall, tatted beau, to one majorly dramatic finale. (Make sure you stick it out ’til the very end!)
Without spoiling too much, the video acts as a perfect companion piece to the song: Slow-burning, beautiful, and ultimately…quite tragic....full text
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