Lana Del Rey – Born To Die | Album Review

What can I say about Lana Del Rey that hasn’t already been said? Having previously released music under her government name, Lizzie Grant, this New York native has made some major waves across the blogosphere ever since her breakthrough track “Video Games.”

Lana has good writing moments throughout the album, with a winning combination of tongue in cheek, cute and provocative in equal parts, and emotional when she needs to be. At times she reminds of a cuter sounding and edgier, more sultry version of Kylie in her voice – although nowhere near as sugary pop – yet still having mass pop appeal. From the ‘edginess’ of “National Anthem” to the interesting observations of the female species on possibly autobiographical, “This Is What Makes Us Girls,” Lana shows she has a big bag of tricks in reserve on the writing front.

On the downside, bonus track “Lucky Ones” bears a hugely predictable and dated melody [despite well-executed production] and “Lolita” sounds confused. But generally the production is of high quality thought the album – and although I don’t agree with the over usage of strings, at times the orchestral elements are nicely incorporated.

Whilst a huge fan of lush string arrangements, leading with strings on most tracks and and throughout didn’t do much for the album’s diversity, leaving all the work down to Lana’s writing. That said, more often than not the strings were pleasantly arranged; whether it was the “Bittersweet Symphony” inspired line on “National Anthem” or the opening strings of the title track.

The standout track is undoubtably “Video Games” – the song where everything ‘works’. Del Rey’s writing is at its best with a constantly evolving chorus full of strong motifs, juxtaposed by her almost bored and nonchalant delivery of the verse. Essentially she has managed to write a song that resonates in a common way with people.

But the strength [and hype] of “Video Games” overwhelms the album, with similarities from one remaining track to the next doing nothing to build on the good of the lead single. As a whole the album feels a bit same-y and underwhelming, in all honesty; it almost feels like they were building a sound for Lana Del Rey when she doesn’t need one. I don’t believe that her best stuff on the album were flukes, so it will be interesting to hear where she goes next… but she definitely has some developing to do for a consistent album.

Lana Del Rey – Born To Die
Released: January 27, 2012
Label: Interscope/Stranger
Buy: iTunes UK / iTunes US / Amazon UK / Amazon US

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