I'd never really paid much attention to Lana Del Rey before the album release, having only heard a remix of Video Games that didn't do the original justice. I looked at what the internet was saying and the reviews seemed oddly mixed between those who said every track was great and those who seemed to have some sort of a grudge against her that no-one could properly define. I made my own mind up, and very quickly joined the ranks of those who love every track.
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. Million Dollar Man is an old time dirge ballad with an undercurrent of sadness, and is extremely classy. Now comes one of my favourite new pop songs - Summertime Sadness. At this point you may think there is a theme of depression sinking into the songs, but this song is hard to describe because it somehow manages to be downbeat and uplifting at the same time. Ending the main album is This Is What Makes Us Girls, which is another one of those songs that could appear to be glamorising shallowness, yet at the same time has very knowing lyrics and manages to hook you into the story it's telling.
The three extra tracks don't stray too far from the winning formula of the main album. Without You is a heartfelt ballad that it is hard to believe was left off the main album. Lolita is a playful song that perhaps is a bit too much Avril Lavigne in her unconvincing bratty stage to fit too well with the other songs, yet isn't what you'd call bad. Lucky Ones is definitely the song that should end the album, a gentle ballad that slips comfortably into the silence at the end of the CD.