- Audio CD (30 Jan. 2012)
- Number of Discs: 1
- Format: CD
- Label: Polydor
- ASIN: B005QJZ5FA
- Other Editions: Audio CD | Vinyl | MP3 Download
- Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars See all reviews (514 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,103 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
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Born to Die CD
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Debut album from 'Video Games' singer Lana Del Rey.
If you want an explanation for the unlikely rise of Lana Del Rey, it isn’t that hard to find. Ignore accusations of cynical marketing and inauthenticity, or speculation about surgery and Daddy’s money – that’s not important. And don’t get distracted by the YouTube statistics or the online hyperbole, this isn’t about new media. It’s about something older and more mysterious than that; the extraordinary, resilient power of the pop song. For all of her trashy Americana and startling beauty, if Del Rey hadn’t arrived last summer with a song as luminously beautiful as Video Games, none of this would be happening.
So the only truly important question about Born to Die is whether there’s more where that came from. Cynics look away: the answer is an emphatic yes. Nothing else quite matches Video Games’ eerie perfection of form and melody – after all, 99% of singers go an entire career without finding one song that good – but several run it perilously close, while revealing there’s more to her than the love-stunned torch singer of Video Games.
What makes Born to Die so richly fascinating – and what marks Del Rey out from the standard issue "I’m hot, you’re hot" pop starlet – is her preoccupation with Hollywood archetypes of American femininity, and her ability to shape-shift between them. So, on the stately, bloodstained title-track, Del Rey plays femme fatale, deliciously stoned and doomed, with an imperious vocal to match. On the addictive, sugar-rushing Off to the Races she’s trailer trash living the high life, her vocal veering deftly between husky cynicism and hiccupping glee; while on the tender This Is What Makes Us Girls she’s the poor little rich girl looking melancholically back on youthful hedonism.
It all reaches its apotheosis on National Anthem where Del Rey, dissatisfied with merely being an all-American girl, becomes America itself, offering up deadpan slogans like "money is the reason we exist" before demanding utter patriotic devotion on the swaggering chorus. If that sounds knowing that’s because it is, not to mention intelligent, ambitious, and more interesting than anything Adele is likely to write even by the time her inevitable 72 collection hits the shelves of the future. It’s also brilliantly realised, thanks to Del Rey’s extraordinary delivery, her ability to slip from deep-toned haughtiness to breathless ecstasy to velvety vamping – often in the same gorgeous melody.
Born to Die isn’t perfect: it slumps slightly towards the end, and the glossy trip-hop production grows wearying on lesser gothic melodramas like Dark Paradise. But it’s the most distinctive and assured debut since Glasvegas’ eponymous disc in 2008, and makes you desperate to see where she goes from here. Del Rey’s defenders can take a break: Born to Die does their job better than they could hope to.
--Lana Del Rey
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Top Customer Reviews
All that matters to me is the music - and the music is sublime.
A big part of the appeal is that incredible, shiver-inducing voice; one moment it's a world-weary drawl encompassing all the despair of broken dreams and unfulfilled hopes... the next it's girly and playful with an uncomfortable undercurrent of knowing sexuality (hence the 'Lolita' comparisons). It's perfectly matched by the 'Lynchian' quality of the music, a combination of dreamy, seductive Hollywood strings and grimy trailer-park beats. It's Nancy Sinatra lost in the world of Twin Peaks.
Bizarrely a few critics have suggested a certain misogyny is present in her lyrics; they seem determined to remain oblivious to the persona Del Rey clearly adopts in virtually all the songs here - a (sadly not uncommon) teenage girl lacking in self-worth, dreaming only of wealth and celebrity and so desperate to find and hold a man that she willingly accepts indifference or even outright cruelty, telling herself she's in love. It's precisely this which makes songs like Video Games so heartbreakingly tragic.Read more ›
I was hoping against hope that she wasn't gonna be another Katy Perry or Lady Gaga, and she's not!
Definitly darker, deeper, Lana Del Rey leans more towards artists such as Kate Bush, Tori Amos or the under-rated Maria McKee (later period) with a hint of Amy Winehouse. A brilliant touch of modernity in the arrangements without ever falling into the cheap "dance" or "r'n'b" format, but rather staying in some sort of ambient style.
Overall, the album is very slow and dark (americana comes to mind), the stings arrangements are superb, it is a very atmospheric album, and Lana Del Rey displays a large range in her vocals, from deep "murder ballad"-like singing to bimbo-like whisperings (although not too much thank you!). Only four stars though, because some songs feel more like fillers than anything else and repeat the same scenario.
This is an artist I didn't expect at all, and I'm quite pleased to have heard and bought this cd!
Born To Die is a strong opener and, in similar tones to Video Games, meshes haunting melody and lyrics with a gritty, torch song quality, oddly verging between dirge and pop. Off To The Races continues the haunting theme with an offbeat love song that may at first seem like a celebration of being shallow but very quickly reveals maturity and depth, and once listened to is difficult to forget. Blue Jeans is a beautiful pop song slowed down to a pace where it almost feels like a ballad. Video Games is simply the most beautiful song of the last year. Diet Mountain Dew is a breezy almost nonchalant pop song.
National Anthem is a playful song that on the surface has some lines that might make you think it's a clumsy way of celebrating the money and fame worship you hear in some other singers' songs, but the OTT way it's done and some of the lyrics, once closely listened to, clearly show it's a send up. Dark Paradise, a beautiful ballad about loss, is like an Evanescence song without the operatics. Radio is one of those guilty pleasure songs - a laid back pop song with a chorus that, if played on radio, would require much editing, and yet still manages to remain sounding innocent and beautiful. Carmen is a warning tale of the sad effects of Hollywood.Read more ›
Has a hint of Coco Rosie about it at times.
Could well be the best album I buy this year.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Don't know how the hell I missed this album very good well produced pity she suffers stage fright as would be good livePublished 14 days ago by lrwguitar
I love this album, I got a vinyl player for Christmas. This was an album I was keeping my eye on to purchase. Although in HMV & other independent vinyl shops, it was £22. Read morePublished 16 days ago by Amazon Customer